Texas Values believes that when people observe their religious beliefs openly and without reservation as the Founding Fathers intended, the result is a positive impact on communities and society at large. Our religious freedom is our most foundational freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, religious freedom, particularly for Christians, is under attack by radical groups like the ACLU, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Texas Freedom Network and others, both around the world and right here in Texas. Recent examples of attacks on religious liberty in Texas include:
Obamacare’s assault on religion – Our religious freedom has seen few assaults as direct as the HHS Mandate under Obamacare. Under the mandate already in effect, all private health insurance plans, including those of Churches and other religious institutions, are required to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptive drugs, and surgical sterilizations. Government is effectively giving religious organizations a choice: shut down or violate your faith and conscience.
Banning school prayer – A recent U.S. District Court decided that Angela Hildenbrand of Medina Valley High School in Castroville, Texas, would not be allowed to offer a prayer and say the words “Lord,” “in Jesus’ name,” “prayer,” or “amen” during her valedictorian speech. Update: On June 3, 2011, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, allowing Hildenbrand to exercise her constitutional right to freely express her religious beliefs.
Censoring our religious heritage – Radical groups and atheists have attempted to erase the teaching of our religious heritage in Texas public schools, even opposing the teaching of our Founding Fathers and the actual words of the First Amendment. These attacks will continue as the federal government increasingly looks to take over education in the states, including Texas.
Criminalizing public evangelism – The 2010 arrest and overnight imprisonment of Todd Leibovitz, and unlawful harassment and threatened arrest of Jose Muniz, both of whom were evangelizing on a sidewalk in San Antonio, Texas. Update: In July 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was denied a motion by San Antonio police officers to dismiss the federal lawsuit against them.
Punitive action against students – School actions against three elementary students in 2003 resulted in an almost decade long court battle, Morgan v. Swanson (aka the “candy cane” case), after three Plano, Texas children became victims of religious viewpoint discrimination by school and local government officials. Update: In 2011, a 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in favor of the students, but the officials were later granted immunity upon appeal.
Texas Values Religious Liberty
Texas Values is committed to defending religious liberty in the public arena, our schools, and our local churches, including:
- Strengthening religious liberty in our state constitution
- The right to display religious and patriotic content, including “Under God”, “In God We Trust” and the Ten Commandments
- Freedom of religious speech, both in the workplace and on public property
- Freedom from religious censorship in the school environment, for students and teachers alike
- Equal access, benefits and other opportunities for religious clubs and organizations on school property
- The right of churches to exist, meet and expand on land they legally obtain
- Freedom in the pulpit for religious leaders, including the right to express political positions
- The right to church autonomy, free from government interference in decision-making
Standing for Religious Liberty in Texas with Your Support
Religious liberty must be protected in Texas. Now is a critical time to stand for religious liberty for future generations of Texans. Your gift will enable Texas Values to continue to stand for our God-given religious freedom. Please prayerfully consider a generous gift, believing that we can – and will – protect religious liberty in Texas.