After my recent article outlining the slush fund Governor Rick Perry has created in Texas, I hadn’t planned on doing anything else on the governor for a while.
That was until I discovered a new bill he signed into law, House Bill 308—otherwise known as the “Religious Freedoms Bill.”
What this bill does is allow public schools to use traditional holiday greetings, display religious scenes and symbols on school property. With proponents of the bill claiming that this measure in no way promotes a singular religion, but will include all religions so that students might be “educated on the history and roots of other religions.”
I can already see it now. The moment stories emerge of religions other than Christianity being brought into Texas public schools, you’ll quickly see a backlash from many of these same conservative politicians and parents who have children in the schools where non-Christian religions have been introduced.
But the real problem here isn’t just the bill itself (which clearly violates the First Amendment), but the comments made by Perry as it relates to our Constitutional right to freedom of religion:
“Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion, and people of faith often feel like they can’t express that faith publicly.”
According to Mr. Perry, Americans don’t have the freedom to be free from religion—they just have the freedom to publicly express whichever religion they choose.
And just who are these people who aren’t able to express their religious beliefs? Hell, it seems these mega churches are popping up on every corner these days—and they’re getting bigger than ever.
But how exactly are people of faith being denied their right to practice their religion? Simply because it’s largely been kept out of public schools?
If parents want their children to have more religion in their life, then they need to take their children to church more often. It’s not the job of already overworked teachers to teach religion to their kids.
Many American children can barely read, struggle at performing basic math and seem to think science is a foreign language. The last thing we need is time taken away from trying to actually educate these kids so that we can install religion into our already strained curriculum.
Now I’m not opposed to people saying Merry Christmas, or even having Christmas trees in classrooms—but you’re fooling yourself if you believe this bill is about Christmas, and it’s not an attempt to bypass our First Amendment and inject religious teaching into public schools.
Rick Perry clearly tipped his hand about his true intentions with this bill when he said the words, “Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.” And the kicker—in 2011, Perry made a video claiming that kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school that was quickly fact checked by Politifact and rated FALSE. In their ruling, Politifact stated:
“The Supreme Court has not held that students can’t pray; Perry’s home state even has laws protecting that right. The highest court also hasn’t held that kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas at school.”
This is just another example of a “Constitutional Republican” trying to violate our Constitution and force religion into our public schools and curriculum. Are we really surprised?
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