Houston's Mayor Parker Is a Villain, Not a Hero

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Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, "Ringside Politics."

This week the country learned that in the politically red state of Texas is the liberal, blue city of Houston, which is led by Mayor Annise Parker, an avowed lesbian.

In May, Mayor Parker rammed through the city council a controversial transgender rights measure called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), otherwise known as the "bathroom bill." It would allow men who self identify as females to use the women's bathroom and vice versa. Obviously, the ordinance was controversial and five local pastors mounted a successful campaign to gather 50,000 signatures to oppose the measure. This was more than three times the number of signatures necessary to force a voter referendum on the ordinance.

Despite the overwhelming number of signatures gathered, the Houston city attorney dismissed the petitions claiming that there were "irregularities." Thereafter, a lawsuit was filed by four citizens outraged at such disregard for public sentiment. A court date has been set for January 19, 2015 to decide this matter.

In the name of fighting discrimination, Houston is engaged in discrimination against heterosexual citizens who are not confused about their gender. Of special concern should be the women of Houston who should not have to encounter individuals, regardless of their sexual confusion, with male "equipment" in their bathrooms.

In the meantime, an upset Mayor Parker decided to make these pastors pay for their obstinacy. Her attorneys sent them a subpoena demanding that they turn over any sermons or communications that discussed the Mayor, homosexuality, gender identity or related issues.

Such a legal demand is mind boggling, as it clearly disregards the 1st Amendment rights of free speech and places the pulpit in political crosshairs. Politicians have no business intimidating pastors who preach the Word of God. The pastoral message is for the church congregants, not the Mayor of Houston.

After intense nationwide criticism this week, the Mayor reduced the scope of the subpoenas to just communications related to the "bathroom bill." Yet, no subpoena should be recognized as the Mayor has no legal authority to mount such a campaign.

Joe La Rue of the Alliance Defending Freedom called the Mayor's move to limit the subpoena "wholly inadequate." He noted that the Mayor is still demanding pastoral documents and sermons. La Rue's group filed a lawsuit in to invalidate the subpoenas since they constitute political "harassment."

This outrageous episode exposes how liberals love to use the "separation of church and state" excuse to remove religion from public schools, but ignore the "wall" when they are on a political witch-hunt designed to silence religious leaders.

Liberals like Mayor Parker also have a disdain for free speech. Contrary views opposed to issues such as transgender rights are not allowed in this liberal mindset, they should be outlawed. This viewpoint is appropriate for communist Cuba or the old Soviet Union, but not in the United States of America, the "Land of the Free."

Sadly, political correctness is sweeping the nation from the removal of the name "Redskins" from our vocabulary to the desire to institute transgender rights, no matter how many pastors oppose it.

The passage of HERO and the misguided subpoenas indicate the Mayor of Houston has no regard for religious liberty. According to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) the Mayor has "no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons." He called the subpoenas "un-American" and a "grotesque abuse of power,"

One of the targeted pastors, Hernan Castano, complained, "This is not what America, the nation, is about." He said the subpoenas amounted to intimidation and that the city has "gone too far."

Pastor Castano speaks for millions of Americans, who are sick and tired of political correctness run amok.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, "Ringside Politics," which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at jeff@ringsidepolitics.com.