American Muslims visiting the office of Texas state Rep. Molly White (R-Belton) were asked to confirm their loyalty to the United States by staffers, according to The Texas Tribune.
White, who was not present in her office for Texas Muslim Capitol Day, an annual citizen lobbying event, left an Israeli flag on her desk along with instructions for Muslim visitors to publicly renounce terrorism and announce their respect for American law.
House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) condemned White’s actions in a statement. Read more
An Americans United chapter leader recently gave the first-ever secular invocation before a meeting of the El Paso, Texas, City Council.
David Marcus, president of AU’s El Paso Chapter, offered a message of inclusion before the board’s Dec. 2 meeting.
“We come together today in a spirit of cooperation and compromise,” he said, noting that the border city of more than 670,000 people is made up of residents with different beliefs and that each individual’s feelings are deeply important. Read more
Eight states still have provisions in their constitutions that either bar atheists outright from holding public office or require people to believe certain things about God and religion before they can be elected.
These provisions can’t be enforced. They were declared invalid by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1961 ruling in the case of Torcaso v. Watkins. Yet they linger on, a testament to the bigotry of bygone days. Read more
On Friday, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) voted 10-5 to approve 89 new social studies textbooks for use in public classrooms. The vote, which split cleanly on party lines, ends public hearings on the subject. But controversy over the books’ content is likely to linger: Critics allege the books contain multiple errors and exaggerations designed to portray the United States as a fundamentally Christian nation. Read more
Less than two weeks after the midterm elections, victorious social conservatives have already begun to fight for a dangerously expanded definition of religious liberty. Texas State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) may have beaten them all to the punch: She has proposed a bill that would grant business owners the right to discriminate against LGBT customers.
Senate Joint Resolution 10, filed Monday, has been written expressly to allow anti-gay discrimination. Read more
A new VICE documentary reveals that publicly funded, religiously motivated crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) represent a growing national problem. Hosted by Fazeelat Aslam, Misconception tackles the misleading advertising tactics used by many, if not most, CPCs to disguise their true intentions: To dissuade women from accessing legal abortion, and to proselytize anyone who comes through the door. Read more
Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America’s public libraries. The idea was to demonize public libraries in the same way that public schools have been successfully demonized by fundamentalists in some parts of the country.
The effort, dubbed “Family Friendly Libraries,” fell flat. Americans simply weren’t interested in allowing a bunch of far-right Christian fundamentalists to determine what books they or their children could read. Read more
Texas families do not have a religious freedom right to home-school absolutely free of any regulation, a state court of appeals ruled last week. The decision is a setback for Michael and Laura McIntyre, who removed their nine children from a private school in order to educate them at home. Read more