Page 15


Austin’s Largest Selection of international Folk Art, Silver Jewelry and Textiles TESOROS TRADINGFOLK ART & OTHER TREASURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 209 CONGRESS AVE AUSTIN 512/479-8377, 1,1 \\WREN DAILY 10-6 www.tesoros.comZral Sulu Nava International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check our site for :nontaly calendar in Houston, Schermbeck advised that his movie is a “crime story,” not about Democrats and Republicans but “cops and robbers.” Schermbeck actually borrowed that line from Earle who says as much in a section of the film titled The D.A.” Depending on your point of view, perhaps the most appealing or frustrating scenes in this documentary are of Ronnie Earle speaking candidly about his desire to snuff out the corporate stranglehold on democracy and issuing thinly veiled threats to, presumably, DeLay. “It’s important that we forgive those who come to us in a spirit of contrition and forgiveness,” Earle preaches at one point in the film, “But if they don’t, God help ’em.” Earle may regret such candidness, unusual for a prosecutor in the midst of a high-profile case. DeLay and his hotshot attorney, Dick DeGuerin, have seized on the DA’s statements to paint Earle as a partisan zealot. They filed a motion in state court alleging prosecutorial misconduct partially because of Earle’s participation in the film. DeLay, on the other hand, refused to be interviewed by the filmmakers. In any case, Earleand perhaps Schermbeck and Birnbaumand “The Hammer” will be seeing each other again soon in court. RIGHT REVELATIONS Those godless Commies over at the Texas Freedom Network have released a new playbook on the religious right in Texas. The report”The Anatomy of Power: Texas and the Religious Right in 2006″challenges the all-too-common misunderstanding among progressives that the conservative Christian movement is a cartoonishly monolithic beast. Instead, the TFN report delves deep into the intricate web of organizations and individuals that comprise the religious right in Texas. It’s a diverse coalition of interests with varying policy goals: fundamentalist preachers calling for the abolition of the separation of church and state; gazillionaire crusaders who pump millions into school voucher programs; lower-middle-class rural activists fighting abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Texas Freedom Network, a grassroots policy organization established to support public education that calls itself a “mainstream voice to counter the religious right,” draws on years of experience in the trenches to recount in the report how marginalized Rapture enthusiasts and other religious fundamentalists “moved in little more than a decade from the fringes of the political realm to the halls of Texas politics and government.” “We’re trying to make sure that Texans understand how religious extremists have essentially hijacked the political process and the debate over public policy in the state and essentially shifted those far to the right,” said Dan Quinn, an author of the report and TFN’s communications director. Featured in “Anatomy of Power” is a venerable who’s who of Texas religious conservatives, including progressives’ bte noire, James Leininger”Sugar Daddy of the Religious Right.” Leininger, a retired San Antonio physician who built his fortune producing hospital beds, spent millions of dollars of his own money building an empire of thinktanks and pliant candidates promoting his conservative pet projects. Most notable is his quest to pass a publicly funded school voucher program in Texas. The report also scrutinizes lessknown, but no less powerful, figures such as David Barton, vice chair of the Texas Republican Party and president of WallBuilders, a nationally known group that advocates making conservative Christian beliefs the foundation of government. Barton wants to bring down the wall that separates church and state. He has become a sought-after power-player in conservative circles, jetsetting around the country, challenging religious leaders to preach politics from the pulpit. Looking ahead, the report anticipates “social conservatives tighten[ing] their grip on the Republican Party of Texas and the levers of government,” with looming battles about abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, and public education. Quinn highlights, in particular, a coming brouhaha over the state’s science curriculum \(read: evolution vs. of Education, where Leininger-funded candidates likely will hold a majority after the fall election. But there’s also hope for more moderate voices, the report notes. Despite spending $2.3 million to unseat five anti-voucher Republican moderates in the March primary, Leininger and his candidates won only two out of five Texas House races [see “Wrath of the Soccer Moms,” March 24, 2006]. Religious extremists, Quinn argues, are becoming “frustrated” because their agenda has not been as successful as they would like. Now is the time for moderates, progressives, and left-leaning people of faith to get organized, he says. JUNE 2, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19