The Texas legislature only meets every other year. So, with the last day of session rapidly approaching, the past few days – yes, even including the weekend – have been wild. The result: A lot of harmful policies are closer to becoming law. Here’s a roundup of the legislature’s troubling actions over past couple of days:
President Donald J. Trump is continuing his trend of appointing people with troubling records on religious freedom to positions of power and prominence.
More than a dozen “anti-Sharia” bills have been introduced in the states this year. The bills broadly claim that their intent is to prevent “foreign laws” from being enforced in the United States, but critics, including Americans United, say the bills promote anti-Muslim sentiment.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) vetoed one of these bills, but versions remained alive in Arkansas and North Dakota as this issue of Church & State went to press.
By Bruce Gourley
Hate crimes in America against Muslims have risen to levels not seen since 9/11. President Donald J. Trump inflamed and rode Islamophobia to the White House, drawing the overwhelming support of a key anti-Islam voting constituency – right-wing evangelical Christians. Upon taking office, Trump signed an executive order travel ban targeting immigrants from seven Muslim nations, and all refugees. Many of his evangelical Christian supporters cheered, but their joy was short lived as courts quickly blocked the president’s unconstitutional action.
When a pair of Muslim Yemeni parents were granted asylum in the United States, they faced obstacles while attempting to get visas for two of their six children who are stranded overseas and facing the danger of possibly returning to war-torn Yemen.
It’s been more than 800 days since that family has seen their children, and they constantly worry about their safety.
Separated families, children in danger and the continuing threat of war and terrorism continue plaguing many fleeing families worldwide, especially within war-torn Muslim-majority countries like Yemen and Syria.
When Muslims in Bernards Township, N.J., sought to build a mosque, they found themselves subjected to a strange requirement that wasn’t imposed on other houses of worship: They’d have to build a “supersized” parking lot.
Officials in the township insisted that since Muslims gather for prayers on Friday afternoon, everyone who might come to the mosque should have a dedicated parking spot.
Americans United partnered with the Bridge Initiative yesterday to host a Facebook Live discussion, “Standing With Our Muslim Neighbors.”
Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R) sent surveys to mosque leaders and Muslim student associations around the state in an attempt to poll their beliefs ahead of Texas Muslim Capitol Day, which took place on Jan. 31.
The letters, which were dated Jan. 11, asked Muslims to give their opinions about terrorism and reform efforts with Islam. Biedermann’s letters became a source of controversy when critics argued he was targeting and testing Muslims’ patriotism.
While much of the country has been understandably distracted by the antics of President Donald J. Trump’s fledgling administration, state legislators have been busy introducing a host of bills that could negatively impact religious liberty.
Legislation has been proposed in nearly two dozen states that could allow businesses, individuals, organizations, schools or even government entities to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, women and others.