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 >>
A New York high school has lifted its ban on a Christian student organization after first rejecting the students' request for renewal.
Ward Melville High School of East Setauket decided late last week to renew the group Students United in Faith after receiving a letter from the Liberty Institute, a conservative law firm.
Last year, administrators at the school denied SUIF recognition under the charge that the student organization lacked sufficient numbers of interested persons to garner recognition. more >>
A Chinese pastor, one of several in recent months to be arrested in a massive government crackdown on Christians, said that he is "grateful" to God for giving him the opportunity to go to jail. Forty-year-old Huang Yizi is facing up to seven years in prison for speaking out against the government's demolitions of churches.
Huang was placed under arrest in August, The Telegraph reported on Monday, and was taken from his home in front of his wife and two children. He was charged with "gathering crowds to disturb social order."
A similar charge has been used to arrest other pastors, including Zhang Shaojie, in the wake of Chinese government officials ordering the demolition of a number of churches. more >>
An Ohio community sent a message to the atheist advocacy group Freedom From Religion Foundation Friday night as community members made it known ahead of time that they would hold a large public prayer following the completion of the local public high school football game.
In response to the Licking Valley School District receiving two separate letters within a week from Freedom From Religion Foundation condemning the school district for not doing enough to enforce the removal of religion in public schools, community members told the Newark Advocate that they are planning a public gathering for prayer following the Licking Valley High School football game tonight.
Licking Valley's game against visiting Watkins Memorial was the high school's first home football game since the school district received letters on Sept. 23 and Sept. 30. The letters addressed "religious messages" displayed on t-shirts worn by the high school's marching band and scolded the school's football coaches for participating in team prayers. more >>
More than 1,800 pastors from across the United States have participated in this year's Pulpit Freedom Sunday since the Alliance Defending Freedom's annual event began last Sunday to protest an Internal Revenue Service rule which is used to silence churches.
"The tax-collecting IRS shouldn't be playing speech cop and threatening a church's tax-exempt status simply because its pastor exercises his constitutionally protected freedom of speech," ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who heads the Pulpit Freedom Sunday event, said in a statement.
The movement of pastors is against the IRS rule Johnson Amendment, which activist groups often use to silence churches by threatening their tax-exempt status. This year's event goes through Election Day, Nov. 4. more >>