“Under God” License Plate Debate Continues

December 15, 2011

Update 2: Here is video of the debate on CNN

Update 1:  Today’s (12-16) CNN interview has been moved up to 12:00 p.m. Be sure to tune in.

This morning on KTRH 740 in Houston, Liberty Institute’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Jonathan Saenz, debated Kathy Miller, President of the extreme liberal group Texas Freedom Network, on the recent “One State under God” license plate that was passed last week by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board.  The Texas Freedom Network and other liberal groups had launched an unsuccessful campaign to defeat the plate.

You can listen to the exchange below:

Be sure to catch Jonathan and Mrs. Miller live on CNN tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. debating this issue again.  It should be an interesting debate so be sure to tune in.

In a related story, an opinion piece in the LA Times actually argues we should ban all specialty license plates and even states that “states might want to consider banning bumper stickers…”  I thought the left was for free speech?  In this debate on the “Under God” license plate, the left really continues to show part of its true agenda is to attack our private choices of free expression and speech, especially when they are expressions of a strongly held religious belief, particularly Christianity.

Catch Liberty Institute at the Texas Tribune Festival on Sunday debating the SBOE

September 23, 2011

Liberty Institute’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Jonathan Saenz will speak this weekend at the Texas Tribune Festival.  The Festival is a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue regarding politics and public policy. It takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25 at the University of Texas at Austin. Find out more or register here.

Jonathan Saenz frequently presents testimony in defense of conservative values before the Texas Legislature and the State Board of Education.  He will be taking part in the panel discussing:  “What Now for the State Board of Education?” The discussion promises to be lively because the panel also includes Kathy Miller of the liberal Texas Freedom Network, a group that targets people and elected officials for their religious beliefs (and usually loses policy votes too).  Former Chairman of the SBOE, Don McLeroy, and current SBOE member, Thomas Ratliff, will also be on the panel.

The panel discussion is Sunday, September 25 at 10:15 AM at the Student Activities Center Auditorium, 2201 Speedway, in Austin.

For a preview of the panel discussion, check out Jonathan sweeping the floor with Kathy Miller when debating the history standards on CNN last year.


Liberty Institute Discusses Texas Social Studies at Jewish Community Center

June 10, 2010


Last night, I, Jonathan Saenz, was honored to be invited to be a panelist at the Dell Jewish Community Center in North West Austin. 

By the way, Michael Dell is included in the Social Standards.  Admit it, you haven’t read that anywhere else but this blog.

I must say, this is a beautiful facility and made up of several buildings with different uses and function.  I am glad to see religious liberty alive and well in Austin.

Also on the panel were Abby Rappaport of the Texas Tribune blog/online new source, and Kathy Miller, of the liberal group, Texas Freedom Network.

Jonathan Saenz of Liberty Institute at Jewish Community Center Texas Social Studies Discussion

It was a very interesting debate and discussion.  We were excited to hand out our Just State The Facts (www.juststatethefacts.com ) document to the 30-40 people who attended.  I think as more people actually see the real facts of the contents of the Texas social studies standards, they will grow in their confidence of the strength of such standards.

In regards to this event being at the Jewish Community Center, it relevant to note that adopted Texas Social Studies standards cover: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur,  Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, and many sections discuss the Holocaust.

Saved from elimination were Jonas Salk, who created the polio vaccine; Albert Einstein, and Rosh Hashanah.  An unelected review committee, made up of a small group of teachers, recommended eliminating  these people and this significant Jewish religious observance.   Thankfully, the elected members of the State Board of Education rejected these recommendations by these certain teachers, and voted to keep these important people and event in the Texas Social Studies standards.

It is worth noting that during the discussion last night, Kathy Miller seemed very excited to make a reference to Neil Armstrong being recommended for removal by one expert reviewer, Peter Marshall, who it seems Miller believes is a conservative. 

That may be true, but Professor Jesus de la Teja, another expert reviewer also recommended eliminating Neil Armstrong from the social studies standards as well.  De la Teja was nominated by Democrats on the State Board of Education.    I am not sure the point that she was trying to make, with mentioning Marshall’s push to remove Armstrong, but not telling the rest of the story, that De la Teja also suggested removing Armstrong.  So two “experts” wanted Armstrong out, and not one.

Our point was, aren’t we glad the State Board of Education didn’t side with some of the “experts” on this issue?

Abby Rappaport, the moderator was fair, I must say.  Kathy Miller didn’t seem to like this fairness as she debated and argued with Abby a few times when Abby’s view of certain issues didn’t quite line up with Kathy’s.

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