The story sounds like something you'd read on a crazed e-mail forward — the city of Houston demands to see the contents of pastors' sermons on the topic of homosexuality, gender identity, and . . . restroom access. In fact, when I first heard the story from a parent at my kids' school, I didn't believe it.
But, yes, it's true. In fact, the reality is even worse than the reports. Houston — as part of its litigation strategy opposing a voter lawsuit filed after the city rejected voter petitions to repeal a law that allows members of the opposite sex into bathrooms — has issued subpoenas that don't just demand pastors' sermons on the topics of "equal rights, civil rights, homosexuality, or gender identity," (and, of course, "restroom access"), they also demand all documents including "emails, instant messages, and text messages" on those same topics.
So, if a pastor is engaged in a theological discussion with a fellow pastor on the covered topics, that will have to be produced. If a pastor texts a friend his position on "restroom access," that has to be produced. more >>
A man who bilked congregants of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia out of millions of dollars has plead guilty in federal court.
Ephren Taylor, who reportedly scammed investors via his "Building Wealth Tour," recently made the plea in Atlanta.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement published by the Atlanta Daily World on Tuesday that the plea brings "a measure of justice" to Taylor's victims. more >>
A Shasta County, California, atheist who charged that his civil rights were violated when he was sent back to prison for protesting a religious drug-treatment program while on parole was recently awarded nearly $2 million in a court settlement for his troubles.
According to a Record Searchlight report, the atheist, Barry Hazle Jr., 46, and his attorney, John G. Heller, announced the settlement during a press conference Tuesday morning.
The United States Supreme Court has issued an order allowing 13 abortion clinics in Texas to stay open, superseding a state law that requires the closure of clinics that fail to meet basic health and safety standards.
In a six to three decision, the order was given Tuesday as a lawsuit against the state's abortion clinic regulations continues to go through the legal system.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented from the five-sentence order, reported Adam Liptak of the New York Times. more >>
In an outrageous act of overreach that the Alliance Defending Freedom rightly branded "an inquisition" and "witch-hunt," the city of Houston has demanded that pastors preaching on themes relating to homosexuality and gender identity turn their sermons over to the government for inspection.
So much for the idea that electing a lesbian activist for mayor would have no negative consequences on the religious freedoms of the people of Houston. So much for gay activist "tolerance."
It was bad enough when Mayor Annise Parker undermined the will of the state by campaigning nationally for the redefinition of marriage when the people of Texas had declared in overwhelming fashion that they did not want marriage redefined. more >>
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.
"The city's subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented," Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. "The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions."
ADF, a nationally known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are "overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious." more >>