Although much has been reported regarding the ethics and legality behind the city of Houston's subpoena of five Houston-area pastors that had asked them to turn over all of their sermons that address homosexuality, gender identity, and the city's first openly-lesbian mayor, little attention has been given to who those five pastors actually are and the ministries they operate.
Although those five pastors, Steve Riggle, David Welch, Hernan Castaño, Khanh Huynh and Magda Hermida, were not technically parties of the lawsuit against the city's new equal rights ordinance that sparked the need for the subpoenas, they all participated in the coalition of 400 Houston area churches that stood in disapproval of the ordinance, which allows transgendered individuals to use public restrooms of the opposite gender.
Steve Riggle more >>
Conservative groups are organizing an event on the first Sunday in November to support the five Houston pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed by city officials. Known as "I Stand Sunday," the event will feature former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd, Alan and Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame, and local clergy.
In a conference call held Wednesday afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins stressed the importance of spreading awareness of what he describes as "political intimidation" tactics coming from Houston city officials.
"This is not about speeches, not about sermons, not about teachings even on biblical morality as to homosexuality, it is about intimidation," said Perkins. "This is about political intimidation and it is about the mayor using the bully pulpit to try and silence the pulpits of Houston." more >>
A church and state watchdog group has warned that the recent controversy over Houston city officials subpoenaing sermons from pastors may create a major conservative fundraising effort.
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote that Houston's legal move against pastors who oppose their recently passed LGBT ordinance will create a conservative backlash.
Writing for the Washington, D.C.-based group's blog "Wall of Separation," Boston argued that the incident "will launch a thousand right-wing fund-raising letters." more >>
The recently launched #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Twitter campaign and petition that supports the Houston pastors who were subpoenaed to turn over their sermons dealing with topics on homosexuality, gender identity and the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has reached 10,000 signatures.
The initiative launched by Faith Driven Consumer was initially blocked by the social media platform, but once the block was removed, the campaign was able to flourish tremendously.
"Thousands of concerned citizens are signing up in support of this important cause — harnessing the power of social media and keeping the pressure on Houston's governmental leaders. Faith Driven Consumers and people of conscience across the nation — including leaders at the local, state and national levels — are joining the call for the mayor and city officials to unequivocally reverse course and end their harassment of five respected area pastors and ultimately Christians throughout Houston," said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. "We will continue to rally greater levels of grassroots support until tolerance and equality for people of faith are restored in the nation's fourth largest city." more >>
New Life Covenant Church in Chicago and Alliance Defending Freedom severely criticized the subpoena of various pastors' sermons in Houston, Texas, due to their objection to an LGBT discrimination city ordinance that was passed recently.
"It's a sad day in the United States of America, in the land of the free, when the First Amendment rights of religious leaders are being trampled on by a mayor for political gain and/or exposure," Wilfredo De Jesús, senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois, said in a statement.
Houston's mayor, Annise Parker, has denied she knew about the city's attempt to subpoena the sermons and correspondence with their congregations of five pastors. But one of those pastors, Dave Welch, who is the executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, told The Christian Post earlier that the mayor herself initiated the action in response to a legal battle over the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. more >>
Feeling confused about the Houston sermon subpoena scandal? Here are answers to five questions you may have.
Q: What happened?
A: In May, Houston city government passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) to ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. After passage, opponents began collecting signatures to add a ballot measure to repeal the new law. more >>