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October 15, 2014

City Of Houston Seeks To Intimidate Religious Leaders With Sermon Subpoena

Looks to me like Mayor Annise Parker believes that gay people should have limitless rights but that religious believers should have none.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have filed a motion in a Texas court to stop an attempt by the city of Houston to subpoena sermons and other communications belonging to several area pastors in a lawsuit in which the pastors are not even involved.

City officials are upset over a voter lawsuit filed after the city council rejected valid petitions to repeal a law that allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s restrooms. ADF attorneys say the city is illegitimately demanding that the pastors, who are not party to the lawsuit, turn over their constitutionally protected sermons and other communications simply so the city can see if the pastors have ever opposed or criticized the city.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.”

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions. Political and social commentary is not a crime; it is protected by the First Amendment.”

Now consider this for just a moment. It isn’t just the writings and speeches of those who are parties to the lawsuit that have been subpoenaed. The city is going after the papers and sermons of pastors who are not part of the suit but who may have expressed an opinion on the wisdom and propriety of the proposed city ordinance the mayor and her policies, or even about homosexuality generally. Apparently Mayor Parker wants to silence the Christian opposition – but she would no doubt be outraged if there were an attempt to subpoena all writings and speeches of every prominent gay man or lesbian woman in the city regarding the ordinance without regard to their involvement in the lawsuit. That amounts to liberal fascists using the jackboot of big government to oppress the citizenry.

Of particular note is that the lawsuit in question is in regards to the standard used by the city to determine the validity of signatures on petition pages and the unprecedented intervention of the city attorney to throw out signatures after they had been determined to be valid by the city secretary. What the contents of a sermon or a letter by someone not a party to the suit and uninvolved in the certification decision would have to do with the subject of the lawsuit is mystifying – unless it is merely an effort to intimidate Christians who believe that they have the right to take their place in the public square like other citizens. Apparently Houston’s lesbian mayor considers it an essential right that one be allowed to let one’s freak flag fly, even on private property and against the will of the proprietor of a business – but to the preaching of the Gospel and its relevance to contemporary issues is something that must be suppressed at all costs.





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