October 2002 Issue #91
The election is Tuesday, November 5. Most federal, state, and county positions will be on the ballot, although not all races are contested. Texans will be voting for a U.S. Senator, U.S. Representatives, the governor and other state executives, state legislators, the State Board of Education, Texas Supreme Court, civil and criminal appellate judges and local judges, and county officials.
This election could determine the prospects for issues important to the religious right, such as cloning, reproductive choice, vouchers, and homosexuality. As we saw in Florida, every vote matters.
Early voting in Harris County will be from October 19 through November 1. Early voting in Ft. Bend County and Montgomery County will begin October 21.
For election information, including polling locations for early voting and Election Day and sample ballots:
Your precinct and districts are on your voter registration certificate. You can also find them on the Find Your Incumbent (FYI) system of the Texas Legislature Online at capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm or by contacting your local registrar’s office. Harris County residents can check Harris County Tax Assessor’s Office Voter Registration Records Database Search at tax.co.harris.tx.us or call 713-368-2200
Role of Houses of Worship in Elections
The U.S. House of Representatives defeated the “Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection Act” (H.R. 2357) by 178-239. This bill would have changed federal tax law to allow houses of worship to engage in political campaigns. The religious right wrote and lobbied extensively for the bill. Rep. Walter Jones, the chief sponsor, promised to reintroduce it the first day of the 108th Congress. Representatives Brady, Culberson, DeLay and Paul voted for it. Bentsen, Green, Jackson-Lee, and Lampson voted against it.
IRS Publication 1828 Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations (revised 7-02) is a quick reference guide of federal tax law and procedures to help churches and religious organizations voluntarily comply with tax rules. It is online at irs.gov/charities.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has published Churches And Politics: A Guide For Religious Leaders. “This guide, based on information provided by two tax attorneys who are experts in non-profit law, is designed to answer some of the common questions” about “the appropriate role of religion in politics and what activities houses of worship may undertake in the political process.” It is at au.org/pasguide.htm. AU’s web site has other documents pertaining to distribution of voter guides in houses of worship at au.org/relpol.htm.
How You Can Learn More About Candidates
Religious Right Guides:
Many groups (or their PACs) make endorsements based on interviews of or positions taken by candidates on issues important to that group. Some groups' endorsements are on their web sites. Some will send you a copy of theirs.
Area Candidates With Ties To Religious Right
These are some candidates in contested races who have known or apparent ties to the religious right. They are all Republicans. This list is not necessarily complete or definitive. Due to the religious right's strong influence on the local and state GOP, many Republican candidates have ties to the religious right or support the religious right's legislative agenda, although they may not agree with the religious right's philosophy or methods.
You can take this with you when you vote. Please share it with other concerned voters.
JOHN CORNYN — in appeal of Santa Fe ISD v. Doe, personally argued before U.S. Supreme Court that organized prayer should be allowed at public high school football games. Is one of four candidates endorsed by GING-PAC, a self-described “real religious right Political Action Committee” that “does not support any candidates who do not return a questionnaire that affirms that they are pro-life, pro-family and stand firmly against the unbiblical welfare state that is destroying the spiritual and economic greatness of our nation.”
U.S. House Of Representatives, 7th Congressional District
JOHN CULBERSON — his campaign literature touts his receipt of the 1999 Freedom and Family Award from Texas Eagle Forum and 100% legislative rating from the Christian Coalition.
U.S. House Of Representatives, 9th Congressional District
PAUL WILLIAMS — his web site says he “supports prayer in school and prayer before and after athletic events.”
U.S. House Of Representatives, 22nd Congressional District
TOM DELAY — one of religious right's staunchest allies in Congress. This summer, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly called DeLay "absolutely our best friend in Congress."
U.S. House Of Representatives, 31st Congressional District
JOHN CARTER — one of two Texas congressional candidates endorsed by Eagle Forum PAC. His web site says: “ John Carter firmly believes in and strongly supports the faith-based values of Central Texas. John believes that life starts prior to birth and will defend the rights of unborn children; he's 100% Pro-Life. John, his wife of over 34 years, and his family are all devout Christians. … John is a strong supporter of voluntary prayer in school and will work hard to promote our family values.”
RICK PERRY - participated in organized prayer at public school event last fall, saying he disagrees with U.S. Supreme Court decisions banning such prayer and wants to return legalized organized prayer to public schools. Hosted private briefing of pastors in Governor’s Mansion for Vision America (locally-based religious right group whose leader has said separating church from state is impossible). At a conference hosted by Vision America, he said, "If Christian conservatives make their voices heard at the ballot box, people who share our values will be elected to defend them."
DAVID DEWHURST - gave $84,500 from May 1994 through November 1999 to Free Enterprise PAC (FreePAC) and was the only statewide officeholder to sign a fundraising letter for FreePAC in 1998. (FreePAC is religious right group that sent flyers accusing some incumbent Republican legislators of supporting a “radical homosexual agenda” before the March primary.) Has received more than $200,000 in contributions from Dr. James Leininger, wealthy backer of vouchers and religious right candidates. Sent fundraising letter signed by the Texas Home School Coalition, Free Market Foundation, Texas Eagle Forum, and FreePAC.
GREG ABBOTT - keynote speaker at Tarrant County Christian Coalition’s Faith and Freedom Rally September 2002. James Leininger was his biggest contributor from July through December 2001. Was honored by Vision America in 2001 as the State Hero of Faith for “his commitment to uniting law with morality.” In 1995, his campaign committee sent a fundraising letter signed by Dick Weinhold, chairman of Texas Christian Coalition, and Leininger.
MICHAEL L. WILLIAMS — has served on advisory board of Christian Coalition and board of Texas Public Policy Foundation, a group founded by religious right backer James Leininger.
Texas Supreme Court, Place 2
DALE WAINWRIGHT — member of Eagle Forum, Vision America, Texans for Life. Supports displaying Ten Commandments in courtroom.
State Board Of Education, District 7
DAVID BRADLEY — incumbent religious right member of State Board of Education.
State Senate, District 4
TOMMY WILLIAMS - member of Eagle Forum and Focus on the Family.
State Senate, District 15
MICHAEL P. WOLFE - member of Christian Coalition, Concerned Women for America, and Eagle Forum.
State Houst, District 138
DWAYNE BOHAC - member of Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America.
14th Court Of Appeals, Place 6
KEM THOMPSON FROST - dissented from the majority opinion rejecting a challenge to Texas’ no-fault divorce law brought by a man who felt that the determination of when a Christian marriage is officially over can only be defined in a religious context, not by the Texas legislature or court of law. In his opinion, he concluded that the law violates the Religious Clause of the Texas Constitution by interfering with the "rights of conscience in matters of religion."
County Civil Court At Law #1
R. ("CACTUS") JACK CAGLE — at candidates’ forum during 1996 judicial campaign, he cited his defense of anti-abortion protesters after 1992 GOP convention. Wrote memorandum called "The Art of Properly Mixing Religion and Politics." Advertised law firm as "Attorneys and Counselors under Grace and Law working closely with the churches and Christian community of Houston." Affiliated with Rutherford Institute and the American Center for Law and Justice (Christian Coalition's legal arm).
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