Texas

Kim Hjelmgaard 02-21-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Michael Kooren

“Dutch values are based on Christianity, on Judaism, on humanism. Islam and freedom are not compatible,” populist politician Geert Wilders, 53, said in an interview with USA Today. “You see it in almost every country where it dominates. There is a total lack of freedom, civil society, rule of law, middle class; journalists, gays, apostates — they are all in trouble in those places. And we import it.”

the Web Editors 02-13-2017

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A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute reveals there aren’t any states in the U.S. in which 50 percent or more of its residents support deportation as adequate reform of the immigration system. Even in California, Texas, and Florida, states that respectively have the highest, second-highest, and third-highest number of undocumented immigrants in the country, this holds true.

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President Trump is reportedly considering naming former Baylor University President Ken Starr to head the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

The ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, and develops programs to promote religious freedom, according to the State Department website.

the Web Editors 02-10-2017

Image via Fibonacci Blue/flickr.com

In recent days more than 100 undocumented immigrants have reportedly been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents. Texas Observer reports that as many as five immigrants were detained on Feb. 9. According to the Los Angeles Times, immigration activists claim that about 100 people have been taken into custody by ICE this week, resulting in a protest in downtown Los Angeles. And news of the arrest and deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos — a mother who was previously convicted for using false papers to gain employment and afterward obeyed an order to report to ICE every six months — have circulated through social media and news outlets.

the Web Editors 02-02-2017

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made good this week on his threats to restrict funding from any cities offering protection to immigrants who are undocumented, reports CBS News. On Wednesday, Abbott witheld $1.5 million in grant funds from Travis County, which includes Texas' capital city of Austin. The reason for Abbott's action was apparently Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez' refusal to enforce federal immigration orders. 

John Gehring 01-09-2017

Image via RNS/Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

Sessions has long been, in the words of one prominent immigration advocate, the “most anti-immigrant senator in the chamber.” When George W. Bush, a self-styled “compassionate conservative” and born-again Christian, pushed a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 that was supported by many business and law-enforcement officials, Sessions railed against what he called the “no illegal alien left behind bill” and led the charge against the failed effort. “Good fences make good neighbors,” he said at a press conference the year before.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Mike Segar

Science and education professionals are increasingly alarmed about the impact Donald Trump’s cabinet picks — many of them evangelical Christians — could have on science standards in public schools.

Candidate Trump repeatedly pledged to end the existing Common Core curricula standards for math and English. Critics worry that could open the door to rethinking science standards, and lead to the teaching of creationism and Intelligent Design, pseudo-scientific notions about Earth’s origins with little or no support from scientists.

the Web Editors 12-02-2016

Currently there are an estimated 300 sanctuary states, counties, and cities across the U.S., but no model for sanctuary campuses. Calls for sanctuary campuses began in the wake of Donald Trump’s campaign pledges to repeal DACA and escalate deportations.

the Web Editors 11-29-2016
A man in a cowboy hat holds a sign of support outside of a mosque in Irving, Tx

Normand stood outside the mosque for several hours, his message of support and solidarity offering a striking counter to the more than 800 incidents of harrassment and hate crimes that have reportedly occured since Election Day.

the Web Editors 11-28-2016

Image via Gage Skidmore/flickr.com

On Nov. 26, Art Sisneros, a Texas presidential elector and Republican, announced in a blog post his resignation from the Electoral College and the reason behind his decision. “I do not see how Donald Trump is biblically qualified to serve in the office of the Presidency,” Sisneros wrote.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Darren Ornitz

“The picture is mixed,” said Besheer Mohamed, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center who specializes in religion.

“On the one hand, its seems clear that Muslims are a pretty small part of the population. On the other hand, they are concentrated in some states and metro areas that might increase their voting powers in those specific areas.”

the Web Editors 09-21-2016

Image via /Shutterstock.com

On Sept. 21, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement claiming that refugees “pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested…after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston.”

This announcement comes months after Texas lost a court battle in June, in which the state attempted to keep Syrian refugees out entirely.

the Web Editors 09-15-2016

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A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Sandra Bland’s family was settled for $1.9 million, a family attorney announced on Sept. 15. 

Sandra Bland was pulled over by a state trooper in Waller County, Texas for failing to signal before she changed lanes. 

When Bland made an attempt to record the state trooper’s interaction with her, she was arrested. Three days later she was found dead in her cell by hanging.

Shane Claiborne 09-14-2016

Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, Texas has had 537 executions — that’s over 400 more than any other state. But it has been more than five months since Texas has had an execution — 161 days to be exact. And that’s a record worthy of news. There’s only one other time in the past two decades that the death chamber has been that quiet in Texas.

But what’s happening in Texas reveals something deeper that’s happening all over the country. The death penalty is dying.

Image via Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express/RNS.

Butt was the former head of the H.E. Butt Foundation, which takes as its mission “the renewal of the Church” and runs retreat programs and a Christian camp for children.

He was perhaps best known, though, as the fatherly voice of one-minute radio spots, called “The High Calling of Our Daily Work,” in which he gently preached that people should make Christianity the cornerstone of their life’s work.

A gender-neutral bathroom is seen at the University of California, Irvine in Irvine, California on September 30, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A federal judge in Texas has sided with school districts opposing the Obama administration’s directive on transgender bathrooms, temporarily blocking the directive just before on the first day of school in Texas Monday.

The ruling prevents the U.S. Department of Education from implementing guidance that required school districts to allow transgender students to choose which restroom and locker facilities to use.

Ryan Hammill 06-27-2016

The Supreme Court struck down Texas’ restrictive abortion laws on June 27 in one of the most important abortion-related cases in years.

The Court ruled 5-3 in the case known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which served to clarify the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That case concluded that while the states are free to regulate abortion, they cannot place an “undue burden” on women’s constitutional right to abortion.

Image via Mred32/Flickr

Maines joined the ranks of the great singer-prophets standing and singing against the war in Iraq, but her vocal commitments extend to many important causes including criminal justice reform, domestic violence, and LGBTQ rights. In 2013, she told USA Today, “I'm pro-gay marriage. Pro-gay everything,” and took on the NRA in a series of tweets. She has as many political opinions as #1 country singles, and has shown no signs of slowing down: She recently added Ted Cruz to the list of people she’s ashamed are from Texas.

the Web Editors 05-25-2016

Texas state capitol. Image via  / Shutterstock.com

Eleven states have sued in response to the Obama administration’s May 13 directive to provide transgender students with bathrooms matching their gender identity, reports The Washington Post.

The lawsuit was filed May 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

the Web Editors 04-22-2016

1. Mourning Prince and David Bowie, Who Showed There’s No Right Way to Be a Man

“… We’ve lost two men who had an expansive, almost luxuriant vision of what it meant to be a man and lived out that vision through decades when it was much less safe to do so.”

2. On Earth Day, a Look at How Americans View Environmental Issues

Should the country do whatever it takes to protect the environment? The number of Republicans who say “yes” has decreased in the past 12 years.

3. Wage Gap Alarm Clock Rings After 79% of the Work Day Is Done So Women Can Go Home

Brilliant.

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