Joel Houston, the son of Hillsong Senior Pastor Brian Houston, recently opened up about fanfare as it relates to the success of his megachurch band Hillsong United.
The Sydney-based pastor was in New York City on Thursday to kick off the three-day Hillsong conference at Madison Square Garden theater and he spoke about the band receiving it's first ever American Music Award nomination during a press conference.
The band is nominated for an AMA in the Contemporary Inspirational Artist category. While Houston, 35, expressed delight in the recognition, he explained that Hillsong United has a much greater purpose. more >>
The recent debacle involving the city of Houston attempting to subpoena the sermons of five pastors demanding that they turn over their comments addressing homosexuality, gender identity or the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, hasn't scared off one of the men in the center of the battle.
"The bottom line from our perspective of these subpoenas is that they were an act of intimidation and harassment by the city through the law firms to bury is in this type of a demand in an attempt to shut us down, to try to run us out of time, will, or money to continue this lawsuit to its conclusion," Dave Welch, the executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, one of the five who received a subpoena, told The Christian Post Wednesday night about the issue reaching the courts.
"So, they basically have no legal defense for their action. We will win this in court," he said. 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 >>
Although Houston's mayor, Annise Parker, is now denying she knew about the city's attempt to subpoena the sermons and correspondence with their congregations of five pastors, one of the pastors at the center of the battle says the mayor herself initiated the action in response to a legal battle over a non-discrimination ordinance known as the "Bathroom Bill."
Dave Welch, who is the executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, is one of the five pastors who received a subpoena. Parker, who has participated in both gay and atheist activism, and the city are now back peddling from the subpoenas and blaming it on the law firm they hired, Welch told The Christian Post.
"This was really initiated by Mayor Annise Parker, who is obviously a noted, kind of, poster child for the national gay and lesbian movement, proposing this ordinance back in April that was really a massive overreach to begin with to basically add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city's discrimination ordinance and impose those discrimination protections over the private sector in an unprecedented way," Welch explained. 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 >>
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 >>