Houston Mayor Annise Parker's original demand that five Houston pastors turn over their sermons and communications under the threat of fines and/or incarceration created a First Amendment firestorm. She's now withdrawn her demand. However, given the history of Parker's tenure as mayor, it's clear this was never about sermons or speeches -- or even about biblical teaching on human sexuality -- it was about political intimidation.
Many Houston area churches were stirred from their slumber as Parker began to push an agenda that she herself admitted was "personal." This personal "to-do" list included a special rights ordinance, which not only made public bathroom selection a matter of multiple choice, it set religious freedom and sexual expression on a collision course.
The citizens responded to the leading voices of Houston's biblically orthodox churches and within a 30-day period over 55,000 citizens, well over the 17,296 needed, signed petitions to place the Mayor's ordnance on the ballot for repeal. The response was overwhelming from a public that had been relatively lethargic toward the openly lesbian mayor who was ushered into the city's top job when only 16 percent of voters turned out to vote. more >>
A Maryland public high school has banned the father of one of its Christian students from the premises, alleging that he threatened to disrupt the school environment after the vice principal did not give into his complaints about the school's history curriculum, which includes teaching components of Islam.
Retired Marine and practicing Catholic, Kevin Wood, was issued a no-trespass order last week that will not allow him to step foot on La Plata High School's campus in Charles County. Wood, who's an Iraq War veteran, issued a complaint in a phone call to the school's vice principal, Shannon Morris, last Thursday saying that he felt it was wrong for the school to force his daughter to complete a three-page paper on the Five Pillars of Islam.
Wood's claim was that if schools aren't allowed to teach or promote Christianity and other religions, they shouldn't be able to assign work focusing on Islam. He further argued that his daughter shouldn't be forced to learn and complete an assignment on Islam, a religion she doesn't believe in. more >>
Conservative groups believe there's still much to be done in Houston after Mayor Annise Parker dropped her controversial subpoenas against five pastors who had spoken against homosexuality and the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
"Mayor Parker claims she withdrew the subpoenas not because she was wrong to issue them in the first place, but because they were not 'serving Houston,'" said the conservative American Family Association, which noted that while Parker's decision was a success, the matter "was far from over."
"In reality, what they were not serving is the foundation of our nation: religious liberty and the right of conscience." more >>
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit voted to review a case that claims police officers in a Michigan town failed to protect the freedom of speech for 12 evangelizing Christian street preachers who were pelted with stones and water bottles by a crowd of Muslims while preaching at an Arab festival in 2012.
Although the same court voted 2-1 in August that police officers in the town of Dearborn did not violate the free speech of the the preaching group that calls itself the Bible Believers, the court voted in favor of a review, which is a rare occurrence and, according to 6th circuit rules, "intended to bring to the attention of the entire court a precedent setting error of exceptional public importance."
Ruben Israel, a Los Angeles based street preacher who organized the Bible Believers' mission to Dearborn and filed the initial lawsuit against Wayne County, said that the fact the appeals court is reviewing the case is a sign that they will help "set the record straight" when it comes to protecting the rights of "unpopular" speech in America. more >>
A Mississippi judge has denied a pro-life group's request for a restraining order against police officers whom they claim have repeatedly harassed them when they protest outside the state's sole abortion clinic.
Judge Carlton Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Jackson Division, denied the Life Legal Defense Foundation's request for an injunction on behalf of Pro-Life Mississippi and other protesters against the Jackson Police Department.
Dana Cody, attorney and executive director of the foundation, told The Christian Post that she believes the rejection of the injunction request was "wrongly decided." more >>
In interviews with The Christian Post, leaders of organizations whose lawsuits against the Internal Revenue Service was dismissed claimed their fundraising and advocacy efforts were harmed by the IRS harassment, and other conservative groups were effectively abolished by the IRS targeting.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District judge Reggie Walton dismissed the cases against the IRS filed by conservative political advocacy groups True The Vote, Inc., Linchpins of Liberty and several other groups. The groups sued claiming the IRS illegally targeted them because of the nature of their political speech and knowingly stalled the approval of the group's essential tax-exempt statuses for a multitude of years.
Although it took over three years for many of the groups to get their statuses, Walton dismissed both cases calling them "moot" because the IRS eventually granted tax exempt status, which was the main controversy of the case. Without an ongoing controversy, Walton wrote, his court does not have authority to decide the case. more >>