The recently launched #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Twitter campaign and petition that supports the Houston pastors who were subpoenaed to turn over their sermons dealing with topics on homosexuality, gender identity and the city's first lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has reached 10,000 signatures.
The initiative launched by Faith Driven Consumer was initially blocked by the social media platform, but once the block was removed, the campaign was able to flourish tremendously.
"Thousands of concerned citizens are signing up in support of this important cause — harnessing the power of social media and keeping the pressure on Houston's governmental leaders. Faith Driven Consumers and people of conscience across the nation — including leaders at the local, state and national levels — are joining the call for the mayor and city officials to unequivocally reverse course and end their harassment of five respected area pastors and ultimately Christians throughout Houston," said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. "We will continue to rally greater levels of grassroots support until tolerance and equality for people of faith are restored in the nation's fourth largest city."
The #HoustonWeHaveAProblem tag directs people to HoustonProblem.com where they can sign a petition that urges the city of Houston to "cease and desist all bullying and other offensive actions against them."
Dave Welch, the executive pastor of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council was one of the five pastors who was subpoenaed last week.
"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 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 told The Christian Post.
He believes the subpoenas were government retaliation for a lawsuit filed by opponents of this Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that would allow men and women who identify as transgender to use the bathroom of the opposite sex.
A petition was started by those opposed to the ordinance and was able to gain 50,000 signatures. The city attorney claimed half of them were invalid. The opponents of the ordinance then filed a lawsuit against the city.
Since news of the story broke last week, Parker and City Attorney David Feldman have been distancing themselves from the situation. Parker even went as far as calling the subpoena "overly broad" and claims those who were issued are misinterpreting it.
"There's no question the wording was overly broad," Parker said. "But I also think there was some deliberate misinterpretation on the other side."
Feldman agreed on the situation being blown out of proportion.
"It's unfortunate that it has been construed as some effort to infringe upon religious liberty," he told the Houston Chronicle.