The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups have expressed concern over Houston officials subpoenaing sermons that may have been critical of an LGBT discrimination city ordinance.
Recently the city subpoenaed various pastors' sermons due to their objection to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a recently passed law that has strong conservative opposition.
When The Episcopal Church recently released its statistics on membership among its dioceses for 2013, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina was listed along with the others.
There is one problem, however: the South Carolina Diocese's leadership voted to leave the denomination back in 2012, taking most of the members and congregations with them.
Since 2012, the diocese and the denomination have been fighting a legal battle for ownership of the numerous properties presently held by the breakaway leadership. more >>
The death sentence of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman and mother of five children, was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi has been convicted of blasphemy for drinking from the same bowl of water as Muslims and making derogatory comments about the prophet Muhammad.
"The case against Asia Bibi is a great example of how Christians and other religious minorities are abused in Pakistan by fundamentalists wielding the controversial blasphemy laws. The blasphemy laws were originally written to protect against religious intolerance in Pakistan, but the law has warped into a tool used by extremists and others to settle personal scores and persecute Pakistan's vulnerable religious minorities," said International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark.
"Sadly, the vast majority of blasphemy accusations brought against Christians and others are false. Unfortunately, pressure from Islamic radical groups and general discrimination against Christians in Pakistan has transformed trial courts and now appeals courts into little more than rubber stamps for blasphemy accusations brought against Christians, regardless of the evidence brought to bear in the case." more >>
GRAND RAPIDS – "God's Not Dead" writers take on the controversial topic of religious liberty again in the upcoming movie "Do You Believe?" because they want Christians to know that they are in the middle of a culture war.
Pure Flix Entertainment writer Cary Solomon said he and fellow writer Chuck Konzelman decided to feature a religious speech lawsuit in "Do You Believe?" because Christians have been in the shadows for far too long.
"When we did 'God's Not Dead' and if you look at that and you look at this and anything else we do, I'm tired, I'm sure Christians are tired. I'm just tired of [how] we are always put in the shadows, we are persecuted down. In other words, we are put in these positions where we're not allowed to speak, we're not allowed to do this, we're not allowed to do that and ... we just felt that it's time to fire the shot heard round the world," said Solomon. more >>
Houston is home to one of NASA's most sophisticated space centers -- but even it would have trouble finding signs of intelligence in the local Mayor's office. The city's highest official is blowing past the First Amendment at warp speed -- and lighting a political powder keg in the process.
After four years of forcing her extreme agenda on the city, Mayor Annise Parker may have finally picked a fight she's bound to regret. Five months after bullying her way into a Houston-wide "bathroom bill," Parker is furious that the city's voters won't roll over and accept it. Instead, America's fourth-largest city fought back, gathering three times the number of signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot. Furious with local pastors for leading the pushback, Parker decided to get her revenge by ordering a Soviet-style crackdown on area churches.
In a story that's spreading like wildfire, the Mayor had the nerve to subpoena pastors for their sermons, text messages, photographs, electronic files, calendars, and emails -- "all communications with members of your congregation" on topics like homosexuality and gender identity. If she thought her religious "inquisition" would scare pastors, she's got another thing coming. Local Christians are more outraged than ever, igniting a firestorm that could awaken a sleeping giant in churches from coast to coast. "We're not intimidated at all," said Rev. Dave Welch. "We're not going to yield our First Amendment rights," he warned -- even if it ends in fines, confinement, or both. more >>
Christians across the nation are mobilizing to defend a group of Houston pastors who were ordered by the city to turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity issues or Houston mayor. Their message is simple – Don't Mess with Texas Preachers.
Dave Welch, the executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, is one of the five ministers who received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by Annise Parker, who is the city's first openly lesbian mayor, nor will he comply with the city's demands.
"My answer to that is – bring it on," he said. more >>