2002 Issue #89
Religious Right Expert Influence At Textbook Hearing
At the first State
Board of Education hearing on social studies textbooks, speakers wanted
books to say that Americans' rights come from “our Creator,” not the
Constitution, and contain more references to biblical principles and
remove comments about racial discrimination, the women’s rights movement,
and global warming. A representative of the Daughters of the American
Revolution criticized books for stating that many blacks in America could
not vote and had hard times economically in the early 1900’s.
According to the San Antonio Current, one
of the SBOE’s Republican members, Houstonian Chase Untermeyer, said that
the board, which he said is short on staff and funding, "must depend on
outside groups who we trust" to review textbooks. "Right now, the
majority of the Board are Republican and conservative and do trust
[Citizens for a Sound Economy]. Somebody has got to be influential with
the board. That would be just as true if we were a liberal, Democratic
organization. In the end, it's a political process."
You can still join the Texas Freedom Network’s
textbook review effort. Contact Let Freedom Ring at 713-461-3686 or
Houston Conference On
Let Freedom Ring
members should have gotten a brochure about the Texas Faith Network’s
conference, Fundamentalism’s Threat to Democracy: Christians, Jews and
Muslims Respond. The conference will take place August 19 starting at
10:00 a.m. at South Main Baptist Church, 4100 Main. National and local
scholars and religious leaders will participate in workshops and panels
discussing various aspects of fundamentalism. Karen Armstrong,
award-winning author and commentator on fundamentalism, will give the
keynote address at 7:30.
Conference registration is $35 and includes lunch
and dinner. Tickets to Armstrong's lecture are $7.50. To register, call
512-322-0545 or visit
More details are on the events page of our web site.
Religious Right Champion Controversial
groups and their opponents have squared off over Pres. Bush’s nomination of
Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owens to the Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals. Groups such as AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood,
People for the American Way, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and
TARAL oppose Owens, calling her a conservative judicial activist who tries
to make law, rather than interpret it. The Eagle Forum, Christian
Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Liberty Legal Institute and Texas
Justice Foundation, among others, have denounced her opponents. The debate
is reminiscent of debates over Pres. Clinton’s nominees, with religious
right groups opposing his nominees for supposedly being liberal judicial
What Can I Do?
Let Freedom Ring
needs your help with October’s election issue. The issue will
identify local candidates with known ties to the religious right and
provide helpful sources of information. Please contact us if you:
linking a candidate to the religious right (sources are not
candidates’ or other web sites
know of a helpful resource on candidates,
such as Internet sites, voters’ guides, and candidate forums
Religious Right Agenda In
Congress is in recess until early
September. Its target adjournment date is Oct. 4. Congress has many
important bills, including appropriations bills, yet to consider. The
religious right will undoubtedly step up their lobbying on bills important
administration announced that it will, at the religious right’s urging,
withhold $34 million that Congress appropriated for the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA) because, it claims, the fund supports abortions
and forced sterilizations of women in China. The San Antonio
Express-News reported that a U.S. government fact-finding team had
concluded that the family-planning fund neither contributed to nor
supported such programs and that UNFPA, which spent only $3.5 million of
its $274 million budget in China last year, had agreed not to spend U.S.
money there. After the announcement, the Senate Appropriations Committee
voted to change the law on which Bush relied to withhold the funding and
to increase U.S. funding of UNFPA.
Pres. Bush signed
into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act after both houses adopted
it without roll call votes. It amends the legal definition of a person to
include a live birth, even as the result of an induced abortion. The
religious right hailed this as “a significant victory” for the “pro-life
cause” and a bill “that helps to erode abortion rights.”
A month after it
was introduced, the House passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
(H.R.4965) by 274-151. Reps. Brady, Culberson, DeLay, Lampson, and Paul
voted for it. Bentsen, Green, and Jackson-Lee voted against it. The
religious right says the bill was written to meet the objections raised by
the Supreme Court when it invalidated Nebraska’s ban, yet opponents
dispute that. The Senate has not voted.
representatives, including Gene Green, have introduced constitutional
amendments to bar the First Amendment from being construed to prohibit
recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. At least one, H.J.Res. 108, would
also apply to the national motto “In God we Trust.
Marriage Amendment, H.J.Res. 93, would amend the Constitution to declare
that marriage in the U.S. shall consist only of the union of a man and a
woman and no federal or state constitution or law “shall be construed to
require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred
upon unmarried couples or groups.”
amendment, H.J. Res. 106, has been introduced in response to the Supreme
Court’s striking down a federal law that criminalized the
computer-generated images of children in sexual situations. It would hold
that neither the Constitution nor any state constitution shall be
construed to protect child pornography, defined as visual depictions by
any technological means of minor persons, whether actual or virtual,
engaged in explicit sexual activity.
Quote of the
"My request would
be that no book be approved for any grade that does not ... explain
that the foundation for our republic is the biblical principle that
our rights come from our creator."
Raborn, with the Citizens for a Sound Economy, at State Board of
Education hearing; quoted in Star-Telegram, 7-18-02.
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