Last update:






August 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

Religious Fundamentalism

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
Texan Judicial Nominee


Religious right 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 activists.



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:

  • have information linking a candidate to the religious right (sources are not disclosed)

  • can check 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


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 to them.

  • The House leadership has reportedly promised a vote in September on the Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act (H.R.2357).  It would amend the tax code to allow houses of worship to engage in political campaigns.  The bill is still in the House Committee on Ways and Means.


  • Sen. Daschle withdrew the hate crimes bill (S. 625) when the Senate voted after several days of debate to defeat a motion to stop debate (cloture).


  • The Bush 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.


  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) by a 12-7 bipartisan vote.  The treaty needs to pass the Senate by two-thirds to be ratified.  The New York Times reported that treaty supporters are only 3 votes shy.  Religious right groups charge that it severely threatens U.S. sovereignty because a UN panel would oversee nations’ compliance with it.


  • The House voted 234-192 to raise the National Endowment for the Art’s funding in 2003 by $11 million.


  • Several 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.


  • The Federal 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.”


  • A constitutional 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 Month


"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."


Margie Raborn, with the Citizens for a Sound Economy, at State Board of Education hearing; quoted in Star-Telegram, 7-18-02.


Let Freedom Ring news is published monthly. 

Send news items & details of events to:


Let Freedom Ring

P.O. Box 55084,

Houston, TX  77255-5084








5th of every month



$25 / individual or $35 / family membership. 


More information:



Web Site:


Home | Publications | About Us | Newsletters | Join Us | Links | Events | Officials | Get Involved | Updates




Copyright © 2001 - 2003 Let Freedom Ring