Regarding City of Houston subpoenaing Pastors – Many are missing the point (I know there’s been some backtracking now, but only in light of public pressure).
The question is not “should pastors give their sermons to the government?” but “should the government have the authority to demand sermons in a situation like this?”
Short answer. No way.
Not-too-long answer? For context, here’s a brief summary of the events that many seem to be missing (for a more complete and legal answer click here).
1. It began with the mayor wanting men to be able to use women’s restrooms showers and dressing facilities (and vice versa). Five year old Susie in the woman’s locker room might run into a 50 year old man taking off his clothes. Yes. There really are people who think that would be a fantastic law. The city passed the ordinance.Houston Chronicle July 3, 2014
2. Naturally, people were in an uproar. Did a petition for the right to have a public vote on the issue.
3. City ruled the petition wasn’t done right.
4. A group sued the city over the petition rejection.
5. No pastor was a plaintiff in the suit.
6. The City of Houston, represented by a law firm, subpoenaed 5 pastors in the city of Houston. The City issued a subpoena for the five pastors demanding: “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” Houston Chronicle Oct. 16.
7. Mayor and City attorney said this is just for communication regarding the petition process. That’s patently dishonest. Because that’s not what they asked for. The City took legal action demanding, under the threat of force, ANY communication, speech or sermon on: homosexuality, Annise Parker, gender identity. The Mayor and City Attorney have not apologized for the overreach, but instead have blamed the other side for getting upset at the threat of legal force.
Remember, the pastors aren’t part of the lawsuit. The question isn’t “are the pastors willing to give over their sermons.” I’m guessing they have no problem with that. The question is: does the government have the authority to use its power to demand the sermons? The answer according to our Constitution, is no.
Lastly, it’s remarkable that the very people who demand “Separation of Church and State” have no issue with launching the state against the church if it serves their purposes (Joe Pags said this first).
God is on the throne. But just as Paul took his case brought by his religious opponents in a political forum all the way to Caesar, so Christians and pastors have a right and duty to oppose government that is immoral, unconstitutional and intolerant.
For the record, I stand with the 5 Pastors, and against the City of Houston’s overreach. And I don’t believe a man should ever go into a woman’s restroom or locker room unless he’s a custodian and everyone has vacated it.