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 >>
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 >>