religious freedom | Texas Public Radio

religious freedom

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

The Texas Senate bill bans any governmental entity from punishing a private business for its past donations to religious organizations. Critics condemned it as a new version of the 2017 bathroom bill or as a reaffirmation that the state is hostile to LGBTQ people.

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

When the state of Texas tried to execute Patrick Murphy on March 28, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in. The high court ruled that the execution was unconstitutional. But it wasn't because of any concerns about due process or the morality of the state taking a life. The issue was religious freedom.

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

Patrick Murphy was ready to die on March 28, and the State of Texas was ready to kill him. It was the U.S. Supreme Court that stepped in and granted the surprise execution stay. That’s why Murphy is alive today.

From Texas Standard:

On Tuesday, a new Texas Department of Criminal Justice policy went into effect, banning any religious adviser from being in the execution chamber with an inmate. The decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court, last week, postponed the execution of Patrick Murphy, a member of the Texas Seven group.

The court said his execution had to wait until Texas decided on its policy about the presence of spiritual advisers during executions. The state had originally denied Murphy’s request to have a Buddhist priest, which Murphy appealed because Texas had allowed advisers from other faiths to be in the execution chamber. In his opinion, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that Texas needed to find a way to accommodate all faiths so as not to discriminate, or allow no advisers at all. TDCJ decided on the latter.

Kyle Dickson on Flickr http://bit.ly/2UWW5FZ

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the freedom of speech, the press and religion. It also protects the right to peaceful protest and to petition the government. 


Legislation that supporters call “religious freedom bills” continue to be debated in state legislatures across the country. Yesterday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation that allows mental health counselors and therapists to refuse to treat patients based on religious objections or personal beliefs.

Businesses are playing an increasingly vocal role in the debates over these laws, which opponents say allow discrimination against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.