June 19, 2019

Houston Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons to See if They’re Criticizing Lesbian Mayor

Houston-Mayor-Annise-ParkerWe already told you earlier today that folks are willing to use the gay rights movement as a pretext to go after those who live by the Word of God. Then we were talking about some lunkhead at a Canadian tourism company. I bet you didn’t think the attorneys for a major American city would ever try to subpoena pastors’ sermons to see if they had dared to speak any criticisms of the city’s lesbian mayor.

Well. They did. Houston, we have . . . yeah, OK, it’s an overused cliche. But if it ever applied, it would be here:

Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists that have sued the city.

Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case’s discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

The subpoenas were issued to several high-profile pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas.

The back story is that in June the Houston City Council passed, and Mayor Parker signed, a “human rights ordinance” that panders in numerous ways to activists pushing for gay and “gender identity” rights, including a requirement that men be allowed to use women’s bathrooms and vice versa. Not surprisingly, many local pastors opposed the ordinance, and more than 17,000 residents filed referendum petitions to get it repealed – which the city blatantly threw out alleging “irregularities”.

But lest you thought Houston politicians were done playing hardball with their critics, not a chance. The subpoenas are supposedly to see if pastors had in any way violated the law by using the pulpit to preach about the law. Aside from the obvious First Amendment problems here, the pastors weren’t even involved with the petition drive, so the city had no basis for issuing them subpoenas.

Houston_Lebian_MayorNot that this would stop them. The secular cultural left smells blood when it comes to gay rights, and they think they are now free to take any action – no matter how unconstitutional or illegal – against those who oppose the gay agenda because the cultural winds are blowing in their direction.

Big picture: If a city can subpoena a pastor’s sermons just because the pastor preaches from the book that includes 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and other passages that call homosexuality sin, then we no longer have freedom of religion. At all. Period. Any pastor at any time could find himself in legal jeopardy if he preaches something not in agreement with the political, social or cultural orthodoxy of the moment.

It’s a mistake to think the left has no god. They do. Their god is government, and specifically their own attainment of government power to use in shaping America’s economic, social, cultural and political institutions to their liking. Those who preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ threaten the left’s god, so no method of taking them down is off the table.

It’s not just Houston that has a problem.

Published by: Dan Calabrese

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