After the Justice Department sued the state for putting an obstruction in a “navigable river” without its permission, the 22 members of Congress filed an amicus brief invoking Noah’s Ark.

‘Noah’s Ark’ brief nets 22 members of Congress ‘Theocrats of the Week’ moniker


The FFRF Action Fund is labeling no less than 22 members of Congress as “Theocrats of the Week” for signing a cruel and biblically inspired amicus brief supporting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s lethal buoys in the Rio Grande.

After the Justice Department sued the state for putting an obstruction in a “navigable river” without its permission, the 22 members of Congress filed an amicus brief invoking Noah’s Ark.

The theocratic-minded representatives maintain: “The geologic record shows that most of Texas was once covered by seas. … Indeed, if one takes the Book of Genesis literally, then the entire world was once navigable by boats large enough to carry significant amounts of livestock. Genesis 7:17-20 (ESV).”

“Under the federal government’s theory, these anecdotes would render any structure built anywhere in Texas an obstruction to navigation subject to federal regulation,” the brief adds.

Responds Mark Joseph Stern of The Slate: “This resort to young-earth creationism should tip off the reader that Texas has no plausible legal argument in this case.” Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta points out this is the second time in one week in which “a biblical myth has made its way into a courtroom.” Last week, Ken Starr’s nephew, U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr, referred to the Garden of Eden story as “historical” when sentencing Southwest Airlines attorneys to “religious liberty training” at the hands of the infamous Alliance Defending Freedom.

Abbott put a floating barrier made up of large ball-shaped buoys, filled with circular saws, into the Rio Grande separating Texas from Mexico to deter refugees and immigrants. According to Newsweek, two dead victims so far have been recovered, one caught in the barrier. The vicious strategy is part of Abbott’s $4.5 billion “Operation Lone Star.”

Abbott, a Catholic Christian nationalist, has often targeted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this year concurring that he unlawfully censored FFRF’s Bill of Rights “nativity” display at the Texas Capitol. When he was attorney general in December 2011, Abbott warned FFRF on Fox News to stay out of Texas altogether, saying, “Our message to the atheists is: Don’t mess with Texas or our nativity scenes or the Ten Commandments.”

Comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president: “I can only quote Robert Burns, who once asked: ‘Why has a religious turn of mind always a tendency to narrow and harden the heart?’ It’s beyond barbaric to try to slice open refugees and for pious members of Congress to justify such policies.”

The representatives who disreputably placed their names on this brief are:

Jodey C. Arrington, 19th Congressional District of Texas

Brian Babin, 36th Congressional District of Texas

Andy Biggs, 5th Congressional District of Arizona

Vern Buchanan, 16th Congressional District of Florida 

Michael C. Burgess, 26th Congressional District of Texas

Kat Cammack, 3rd Congressional District of Florida

John Carter, 31st Congressional District of Texas

Michael Cloud, 27th Congressional District of Texas

Jeff Duncan, 3rd Congressional District of South Carolina

Jake Ellzey, 6th Congressional District of Texas

Lance Gooden, 5th Congressional District of Texas

Sam Graves, 6th Congressional District of Missouri 

Clay Higgins, 3rd Congressional District of Louisiana

Ronny L. Jackson, 13th Congressional District of Texas

Nathaniel Moran, 1st Congressional District of Texas

August Pfluger, 11th Congressional District of Texas

David Rouzer, 7th Congressional District of North Carolina

Chip Roy, 21st Congressional District of Texas 

Keith Self, 3rd Congressional District of Texas

Pete Sessions, 17th Congressional District of Texas

Beth Van Duyne, 24th Congressional District of Texas

Roger Williams, 25th Congressional District of Texas

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations, and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of non-believers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues. FFRF Action Fund serves as the advocacy arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 40,000 members and works to keep religion out of government and educate the public about nontheism.