I Love my Uncle but, Newt Hates Him

Medina Valley Independent School District settles prayer case, Republicans surprise no one by flipping out.


My Uncle, Federal Judge Fred Biery, is a badass. Last June, he waded into a particularly religious area of small town “Real America” Texas and smacked down the overt proselytizing that had pervaded the Medina School District. Yet, as Fred executed his duty to uphold the tenants of the constitution, members of the political right used his completely unsurprising ruling to fan the flames of Christian “repression” ( Help, Help, I’m being repressed).

Newt “Moon Base” Gingrich was especially blood thirsty as he tried to reassert his conservative credentials, trying to keep his election hopes afloat despite the rising tides of Santorum after the results in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.

Newt called Fred an “anti-religious, dictatorial bigot.” Which makes complete sense as Fred continues the proud tradition of the Biery clan. A family that has done nothing but turn out District Attorneys, Federal Judges, civic servants, teachers, and combat veterans since WWII. So clearly my family is a bunch of hippie, communistic shitbags. I am getting a little sick of having my family name, which is not too common, being said with vehement disdain by the likes of Beck, Gingrich, Rush, et all.

The Medina case ended sometime last Thursday.

The result, approved by Biery Thursday, was a 27-page agreement in which school officials agreed to most the above, plus more. They pledged to choose student speakers without regard to their religiosity. They agreed to remove from school spaces all bible quotes, crosses and other religious symbols.

And they agreed that while student speakers may offer a prayer and ask others to join them, no on-duty school employee or official, or the school band, would stand during that prayer, indicating that it was a personal expression, not that of school officials.

Students maintain freedom of speech, but officials must carefully avoid promoting religion in the course of their duties.

The district also agreed to pay $125,000 to the lawyers for the family that sued.

My Uncle, slightly pissed with the politics of it all, got in a few punches too.

In his final orders approving the settlement.

[Biery] noted the issue was not the right to pray, either “in private as Jesus taught or in large public events as Mohammed instructed.” He cited the Quran for the latter and, for the former, Mathew’s account of Jesus instructing his followers not to be “like the hypocrites” who pray “to be seen by others,” but to “go into your room, close the door and pray.”

And, in a “personal statement,” he wrote: “To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously (a word he made up) cursed the Court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.”

And, for great Justice, Fred punched above his weight class like he always does.

And he said those in the legislative and executive branches who demagogued this case for their own political goals should be ashamed.

He didn’t name them, but he buried something more than a hint on page four of an appendix in which he gives some interesting historical treatment on the wisdom of separation of church and state.

“While religious institutions bestow many blessings and try to alleviate suffering, those acts of Grace are newtralized by religious Homo sapiens who exhibit an historical and continuing pernicious and pervasive tendency to kill other humans and confiscate the property of those, sometimes even within the same religion, who do not believe as they do.”

Biery mischievously misspelled the word “newtralized” as beginning with n-e-w-t.

(Source: My SA)


  1. says

    Awesome! I’d already read about this story over on Juanita Jean’s blog and cheered him on. He’s definitely an uncle to be proud of.

  2. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Uncle Fred is one of those people who think the Constitution actually means something. Newt Gingrich is not one of those people.

  3. StevoR says

    Newt “Moon Base” Gingrich

    Hey, the Moon base was his best idea.

    Not that it was original to him, mind you but still.

  4. coragyps says

    I read this in the newspaper when Judge Biery issued his ruling. Thanks for the additional details, and congrats on having such a wise and witty uncle!

    I’ll bet the Texas papers were afraid to print the Mohammedan prayer bit – all those fundy heads exploding would have made a helluva mess and cost them subscribers.

  5. otrame says

    Boy, your uncle knows how to punch below the belt when appropriate. The bit about Jesus telling people to prayer in private and Mohammed telling them to pray in large groups was just vicious and so very well deserved.

    I live in San Antonio, not far from there, and it pleases me irrationally to know that. Please give your uncle a big old hug from me. He sounds like a great guy.

  6. Craig Pennington says

    Your Uncle is one of those who make me proud of my Texas roots (my family all come from Fayette county!)

  7. Paddy says

    Totally awesome.

    I get a little more hopeful that we are heading towards sanity every time I see one of these decisions simply UPHOLDING THE LAW.

    Your uncle is a wise man, and someone to be proud of.

  8. F says


    I’ll bet the Texas papers were afraid to print the Mohammedan prayer bit – all those fundy heads exploding would have made a helluva mess and cost them subscribers.

    No one tell them whence the namesake of their school district comes, then.

  9. Aquaria says

    Not all Texans hate him. I think his commentary is a smack of common sense for a state sorely lacking in it. But then I’m one of those Texans who hasn’t lost her mind. There aren’t many of us here (waves to San Antonio neighbor, otrame).

    No one tell them whence the namesake of their school district comes, then.

    Indirectly, you’re right, the valley and the river it’s named after is technically a tribute to Pedro Medina, a Spanish engineer. Back in the 17th century, the governor of Coahuila used Medina’s navigation tables to find his way through the scrub brush and other wilderness areas of Texas, and to draw up maps of the area.

  10. Ysanne says

    You have an awesome uncle.
    Big thanks to him for including the bit with Jesus being very explicit about praying alone and not for show “like the hypocrites”. About time this was pointed out to the we-take-the-bible-literally-but-only-when-it-suits-us crowd!

  11. ohioobserver says

    Your uncle kicks butt.

    Are there more like him? We need more judges, DA’s legislators, who uphold the law of the land, and not just bow to pious convenience. He sounds like a good man and I wish we had him in Ohio.

  12. snarkmatter says

    Damn. Your family knows how to kick ass physically, verbally, and intellectually. That smackdown he meted out would have been a very hard to watch one way boxing bout.

    Grats to your hardworking family!

  13. Oldfart says

    Protect your uncle. You know those people are not rational human beings. They are the bitter people clinging to their guns and their religion and they will want to use both against your uncle.

  14. Stevarious says

    Hey, the Moon base was his best idea. Not that it was original to him, mind you but still.

    To paraphrae the old saying, Newt’s got some good ideas and some new ideas. Unfortunately, his good ideas aren’t new and his new ideas aren’t good.

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