Houston City Government Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons Referencing Homosexuality, Mayor

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Houston City Government Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons Referencing Homosexuality, Mayor

By Todd Starnes | christianpost.com

religion-governmentThe 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.”

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.
 The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley. “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered him to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”

David Welch, pastor of Bear Creek Church and director of the Houston Area Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said the mayor would not intimidate him.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”
He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”
Perkins called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”

“This is a shot across the bow of the church,” he said.

This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.” I predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors. I warned that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty.
Sadly, that day arrived sooner than even I expected.

Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Now is the time for pastors and people of faith to take a stand. We must rise up and reject this despicable strong-arm attack on religious liberty. We cannot allow ministers to be intimidated by government thugs.

The pastors I spoke to tell me they will not comply with the subpoena – putting them at risk for a “fine or confinement, or both.”

Heaven forbid that should happen. But if it does, Christians across America should be willing to descend en masse upon Houston and join these brave men of God behind bars.

Pastor Welch compared the culture war skirmish to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Texas. It was a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

“This is the San Jacinto moment for traditional family,” Welch told me. “This is the place where we stop the LGBT assault on the freedom to practice our faith.”

We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together – because one day – the government might come for your pastor.

 

24 Comments on “Houston City Government Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons Referencing Homosexuality, Mayor”

  1. Fred Rochester

    I believe that this is just a test to see what the response would be when this goes nationwide. I could be wrong. But we might as well get used to it. The path of America is heading downhill on a slippery slope.

    1. Rosiland Fletcher

      I agree. We are on a slippery slope and what is the church doing. Having church?? As part of the clergy, I see so much and I am saddened. Everyone is talking about how church used to be. If each and every one of us go back to how we use to be, we would have our church again.

    2. Simply Maria

      So true Mr. Rochester. I do not understand how people who are gay believe they have the right to do and say as they please, but EVERYONE else does not have that right. I pray other churches in other cities will stand with the pastors in Houston. Time will tell who is truly FOR God.

  2. Marcus

    I will stand with all of my brothers and sister of faith. This is a sad day in America!!!!!

    We will be praying that GODs will be done on earth.

    Thank you for standing on the truth of GODs word.

  3. zipporah

    is the mayor saying hand them over so i can read them? and then what? put them in jail? what does she do if the minister doesnt write anything down? what then? i think ex ministries should do a story on the free church status instead of 501c3. how does a church pertain free church status?

  4. Renee Smith

    I will not get used to it. In fact I’m expecting to be raptured out of here any day now.
    In the meantime, as an ordained asst. Pastor I will teach every inch of the bible as God sets my face like a flint. Nd if asked to produce the sermons in writing I will hand them the bible. We speak by our spirit what thus says the Lord.

  5. Wayne A. Lewis

    While reading this intriguing post the scripture in Ephesians that says “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” came into my heart. I pray for wisdom and strength for these Pastors. They must move with wisdom from God and not with a weak water down emotional reaction. Each Pastor must preach the pure Word of God without any fear of what they will lose; and they will lose this battle. However, in order to win the war on the Church our Church leaders must lead from the front. Give your Mayor what she is asking for. In fact preach as much as you can regarding this issue. Name, names like Paul did, confront the issue of sin like Peter did and call for repentance like John did. We are all watching. Stay the course.

  6. BBN Bible Believers Network

    Pastors you voted for President Obama. Pastors you preached how President Obama was God’s Choice and God’s man for this hour with the Hammond B3 playing all the rifts and Rolls…Now You Pastors have to Eat Crow – especially those of you who refused to listen to that regular saint that didn’t hold any position in your organization, they were just saved, living for God, and hearing from God.

    Back in 2008 -2014, they have been getting on your nerves, warning you about what they see Naturally and Spiritually concerning then Candidate / now President Obama’s Homosexual Agenda. Now your compromise is positioned to challenge your very stance in God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, all because we wanted to see a Black Man in the Office of the President so bad that we choose to ignore dozens of red lights!

  7. Jack

    Clearly an assault on free speech, clearly should have been put on the ballot, clearly freedom of religion and clearly a self-esteem issue for someone. They know litigation is costly, just an attempt to further silence those who are against this agenda. ECC 3 : 16 . Thank GOD these pastors won’t be found guilty of iniquity

  8. Keyah

    Psalm 12:8 says the wicked strut about freely when what is vile is honored among men. The church shouldn’t be surprised at this mini type of intimidation and persecution. This is nothing compared to what occurs in China, South America and many other places where just saying Jesus will get your head cut off. The people of God will be challenged in these last days. Jesus said in this life we will suffer persecution. All of these false messages of peace peace is a set up for the church. The world is suppose to hate the church. We must put away foolishness, forsake SIN and surrender totally to Christ and prepare for what’s coming on our nation.

  9. PASTOR TOMMY BURNS

    I am not shocked but never heard anything like this before should have seen it coming. I am a true follower of Exministries and Bro Craig been trying to warn us about this stuff but he has been resisted heavily. I am going to continue to cry loud and spare not. I believe this is an hour where the rubber meets the road you are or you are’t there is no in between. I am going to continue to preach the word of God and say what it says and everybody else can decide on their own. I pray God’s blessings on Exministries and pray that God will continue to use Bro Craig in a mighty way.

    Pastor Tommy Burns

  10. PASTOR TOMMY BURNS

    i am not totally caught off guard by this Exministries has been warning the nation for the last few years but folk don’t wan’t to hear. I know that mayor needs a lot of prayer in her life she thinks she can do whatever she wants but I got a news flash for her she can’t. I am going to continue to cry loud and spare not. I believe it’s time for preachers to get a backbone and stand up for righteousness and not compromise. I am not a scared leader if you don’t stand for Jesus you will fall for anything. I pray Exministries will keep declaring truth because this is what the whole world needs.

  11. Dee Dee

    My mother and I JUST GOT FINISHED having a debate with fellow “church folk” on the issue of homosexuality. They presented the same old, tired arguments:
    (1) No one would CHOOSE to be homosexual, be ridiculed, ostracized, bullied, etc. They were born that way…
    My response: We were ALL born into sin, but as believers we are called to resist temptation, not celebrate it!
    (2) They NEED the protection of the law!
    My response: They’ve got SO MUCH protection, it requires the rest of us sacrifice OUR rights, shut up and put up with all manner of immorality. They seek to criminalize Christian belief and punish the non-conformist.
    (3) Who are we to judge? That (their sexual preference) is between them and God!
    My response: If I were to catch me stealing money out of your purse, there would be no shortage of people who would jump up and JUDGE me, REBUKE me, and CONDEMN me. And I guarantee, NO ONE would sit by, and without so much as confronting me, watch me walk away with your money and conclude that, “It’s between me and God!!”

  12. Joel howard

    This is sick and discusting.how in the round world did a nasty gay person get elected to mayor?I don’t get it.they(gays) should not b allowed to hold public office.she should b removed immediately!

  13. melissa

    This is a sad time in America!!!! I pray that something will be done on behalf of all the pastor’s in this case. This is just crazy. The wicked are really showing their ugly head. It’s time to pray and fast for a serious move of God!!

  14. Tala

    WHAT?!?! As crazy as this sounds, this should be no surprise. It is exactly where our society is going. Long gone are the days where Christians can quietly ride the fence. No it’s time to make a choice and decide are you FOR God or against Him? This takes things to a whole new level. The article said the city “tossed” the over 50k signatures they received concerning the “bathroom bill”. That doesn’t sound like a government that is FOR the people. Many of the freedoms “american” Christians currently have are being preyed upon and will be snatched before anybody realizes it. As believers we’ve got to take this to heart and put on the WHOLE armor just as the word tells us to. Get off of facebook an get in the FAITH book!! The word of God is the ONLY thing that will sustain us under real persecution. This is only the beginning folks.

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