The Religious Right’s creationist campaign continues to threaten Texas public schools.
The controversy began when Texas’ State Board of Education appointed a number of creationists to review panels meant to ensure the quality of new biology textbooks. Despite valid concerns raised by watchdogs like the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), creationists remained on the panels.
Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.
As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense. Read more
Texas legislators appear to have too much time on their hands. Members of the House of Representatives just passed legislation protecting everyone’s right to say “Merry Christmas.”
That’s right. It’s mid-May, and some Lone Star lawmakers are worried about Christmas and how it might be acknowledged in public schools. They’re so worried, in fact, that they’ve passed a bill guaranteeing the right to say “Merry Christmas” and display certain holiday symbols in schools. Read more
Texas legislators had what they thought was a bright idea in 2011: cut $73 million in family planning funds.
Religious Right groups eagerly backed the scheme because some of the money was being funneled to Planned Parenthood, a common target for theocrats’ wrath. The Family Research Council (FRC) trumpeted Texas officials’ decision to “quit its partnership with the abortion tycoons.” Read more
Activists who have defended the separation of church and state for a long time sometimes ask me if there’s a new generation of young people who will carry on this work in the years to come.
The answer is yes. This past weekend, you might have had the opportunity to see one of them on “Moyers & Company” on PBS.
Long-time PBS journalist Bill Moyers interviewed Zack Kopplin, a 19-year-old college student and Louisiana native who causes headaches for creationists everywhere. Read more
If you’re like me, your email inbox often contains items of a questionable nature. Despite spam filters, I still get the occasional message from a Nigerian government official offering me millions or notice that I’ve won a European lottery that I never entered.
But as far as I’m concerned, chain emails of a political nature are the worst: Here’s proof President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fake! Join this plan to bombard the ACLU with Christmas cards! Mitt Romney can still be president if one-third of the states refuse to cast ballots in the Electoral College! Read more
There are times when I think we should just round up every church-state attorney we can find, fly them down to Texas and start suing school districts until they behave.
I realize Texas has a tradition of being stubborn – it used to be an independent republic, after all – but things are getting out of hand. Read more
The situation in Kountze, Texas, home of a band of public school cheerleaders brandishing Bible-verse banners, is rapidly deteriorating. Loud-mouthed politicians who hate church-state separation have just lumbered into the fray. Things can only go downhill from here. Read more
The claim that public schools are “religion-free” zones is a Religious Right myth that has no basis in reality.
Public schools can (and do) teach about religion. Teachers discuss its role in world and U.S. history. They talk about biblical allusions found in great works of literature. They lecture on how religion has influenced art and music.
The approach must be objective and tied to legitimate educational objectives. Proselytism or elevating one faith over others has no place in the classroom. Read more