I'm pasting two e-mail I sent out to progressive friends in the
last couple of days. I thought y'all might want to be alerted to the
threats to democracy at the Capitol.
Please make the calls to get your state representative to vote
against HB 1278 and HB 3678. Please call Chisum's office and all
the members of the Public Education Committee also.
=============== first e-mail alert ===============
What is it about "mind your own business" that Rep.
Warren Chisum doesn't understand? Why does he feel it's
necessary to socially engineer Texans' lives? He's wasted the
taxpayers' money this entire session filing and pushing frivolous
bills. With HB 1287, he's attempting to force Protestant
religion onto our high school students thinly disguised as literature
and history. How can anybody take this man seriously?
Chisum's bill is just one of his many timewasters this session.
It would mandate that every public high school in Texas - 1,040
schools - offer a Bible study course if 15 or more students want to
take it. These high schools are supported by Texans who are
devotees of hundreds, maybe thousands, of religious sects. See
the problem here? I knew you would.
If there's such a great market for the Bible to be taught to high
school students, why isn't a local church already providing this
service as an after-school activity? If parents are so keen to
have their children learn the Bible, why aren't they taking them to
Sunday school and church? And prayer meeting on Wednesday
The church is the appropriate venue for Bible study. It would be
highly discriminatory to select the holy book of one religion and
neglect the holy books of all the others. It would be
unconstitutional for a taxpayer-supported public school to devote any
manpower, facility or any other public funds to providing this
course. The Texas Constitution forbids it. Read it at:
There would be peer pressure to fit in. Some students would be
singled out for harassment because their religions don't recognize the
Bible as anything other than a book of fairy tales.
Please call Warren Chisum - [masked] - and tell him to mind
his own business and stay out of Texans' personal and religious
decisions. Tell him to allow parents to make religious choices
for their children without input at public school. And tell him
to stop wasting Texas taxpayers' money on this ill-conceived bill and
his other intrusions into our private lives.
If you'd like to see what else Chisum is up to, click here:
You may want to call or write or e-mail him about some of the other
bills he's authored.
I wonder how Chisum would take it if I arrived at his church on
Sunday morning with a stack of high school textbooks demanding to use
church time and facilities to teach academic subjects. Just a
========end first e-mail - begin second
Here's an update on the bill about which I wrote you yesterday.
It's time to make calls to the numbers listed below. Please also
call your representative and urge her/him to vote against HB 1287.
If you already called, ask a friend, neighbor or relative to step up
and speak up, too. By the way, you don't need to live in the
district of a member of the Public Education Committee (or any other
committee) to call them. We're all constituents of the committee
While you have their legislative aides on the phone, you may want
to mention that you object to HB 3678 on the grounds listed below -
or come up with your own grounds, especially constitutional grounds -
and ask the representative to oppose it as well.
My objection to TFN's stance on HB 1287 is that I'm opposed to
adding safeguards. Instead, we need to keep religion completely
out of non-sectarian, public schools. We'll save ourselves a lot
of discord if we just reject Chisum's bill now. Imagine the
court cases which would clog our courts when parents began filing
lawsuits. Ordinary taxpayers would also qualify to file
lawsuits, since it would be their tax-supported schools which would be
teaching religion in the taxpayer-built and -maintained classrooms.
Public school employees, paid by our taxes, would be pressed into
service to record the students' grades.
This evil must be defeated before it takes hold of our schools.
Once these bills get passed, we'll never get rid of them. It's
extremely rare for a statute to be repealed without court
[address removed] via[masked]; Fri, 13 Apr 2007
from=tfn.org; domainkeys=neutral (no sig)
Date: 13 Apr[masked]:08:09 -0000
From: "Texas Freedom Network" <[address removed]>
To: "Marsha Correira" <[address removed]>
Subject: TFN Legislative Update - April 13, 2007
Reply-to: [address removed]
Religious Freedom and Public Schools
Legislation involving religious freedom in Texas public
schools has been the focus of headlines out of Austin the past two
weeks. Two proposed bills make it clear that far-right lawmakers are
seeking new opportunities to promote their own narrow religious agenda
in our neighborhood schools.
Last week TFN President Kathy Miller urged members of the House Public
Education Committee to add critical safeguards to a proposed bill
mandating Bible classes in the state?s public high schools. Courts
have permitted such courses so long as they are not used to promote or
disparage any particular religious perspective. But H.B. 1287 by state
Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, includes no requirements on academic
qualifications and constitutional training for teachers of such
courses. In addition, the bill designates the Bible as the required
textbook and forbids state education officials from developing any
standards for instructional materials. The lack of those and other
safeguards threatens the religious freedom of students and puts in
legal jeopardy school districts across the state. In fact, Kathy
pointed to a TFN Education Fund report in September 2006 that revealed
how Bible classes already taught in Texas public schools are really
more about the religious beliefs of the teacher than a truly academic
study of the Bible. Committee members have not yet voted on H.B.
Read a news article about Rep. Chisum?s
Read an opinion column about the bill.
Read TFN's press release on the bill.
This week the House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on a bill
that supporters said would protect religious expression by students.
TFN testified, however, that H.B. 3678 by state Rep. Charlie Howard,
R-Sugar Land, may actually create more problems for our public
schools. Courts have already affirmed that the First Amendment
protects religious expression in public schools. Instead of providing
better training for school districts on this important issue, however,
Rep. Howard seeks to sweep a complicated court case history into one
catch-all bill. Kathy pointed out that the bill may give officials a
false sense of security when it comes to decisions about organized
prayer and other forms of religious expression in their schools. She
also warned that the bill may result in students being forced to
participate in school functions at which other students are permitted
to promote their own religious views. Even so, the State Affairs
Committee passed the bill on to the full House.
Read a news article about Rep. Howard?s bill.
State Affairs Committee this week also considered legislation on stem
cell research in Texas. In hearings that lasted until the wee hours of
the morning today, committee members heard testimony from Kathy and
others urging lawmakers to support embryonic and adult stem cell
research. This promising medical research gives hope to families
suffering from serious medical conditions such as spinal cord
injuries, Parkinson?s disease and juvenile diabetes. Kathy told
committee members that TFN strongly opposes the only House
legislation, H.B. 225, that would bar public funding for embryonic
stem cell research. She also delivered the names of 1,700 Texans who
have already signed on to TFN's petition/postcard campaign in support
of stem cell research. The committee took no votes on stem cell
voice to thousands of other mainstream Texans who are working with TFN
for religious freedom and responsible medical research in Texas.
If you have not already done so, click here to sign up
for a TFN Rapid Response Team today.
Sign TFN?s stem cell research petition
and sign up to be a postcard captain!
Your help is especially important on protecting religious freedom in
our public schools. If you live in the district of a member of the
House Public Education Committee, please contact him or her about H.B.
1287, the bill on high school Bible classes. Urge your representative
to support adding critical safeguards to the bill:
- Require appropriate academic qualifications and First Amendment
training for teachers,
- Require standards for instructional materials based on sound
- Require the Texas Education Agency monitor and report on the content
of these classes
- Add stronger language protecting the religious freedom of
- Allow local districts to decide for themselves whether to offer
classes on the Bible
House Public Education Committee
Rep. Rob Eissler, chair,[masked] (voice),[masked] (fax)
Rep. Bill Zedler, vice chair,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Dan Branch,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr.,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Scott Hochberg. [masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Anna Mowery,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Dora Olivo,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Diane Patrick,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Rep. Dianne White Delisi,[masked] (v),[masked] (f)
Click here if you do not know the name of
voucher scheme for students with autism could be heard in the Senate
as early as next week. Keep an eye out for alerts from TFN regarding
any action in the Senate on this bill, S.B. 1000.
Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and
individual liberties to counter the radical right.
a donation to support the work of TFN.
friend! To subscribe to TFN News Clips, Alerts or Action Teams, use
the form here. Subscribers may choose to receive News
Clips on a daily or a weekly basis.
subscribed to this list as [address removed]. To change your
TFN subscription preferences click here.
| Privacy & Security Policy | Contact Us
Copyright[masked] Texas Freedom Network. All Rights