The Christian Post reports that
Houston Mayor Annise Parker has announced that she will withdraw the subpoenas against five pastors who have spoken out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, an LGBT city ordinance that some opponents claim would allow men to use women’s public restrooms.
“After much contemplation and discussion, I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors who delivered the petitions, the anti-HERO petitions, to the city of Houston and who indicated that they were responsible for the overall petition effort,” Parker said during Wednesday’s press conference.
“It is extremely important to me to protect our equal rights ordinance from repeal, and it is extremely important to me to make sure that every Houstonian knows that their lives are valid and protected and acknowledged,” added Parker, who’s the city’s first openly-gay mayor.
Earlier this month it was revealed that the city of Houston had subpoenaed five pastors regarding a rejected referendum about a recently passed LGBT city ordinance, known by the acronym, HERO.
HERO amended Houston’s Code of Ordinances, prohibiting discrimination in public facilities and private employment on the basis of “protected characteristics.”
This list of protected characteristics included race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, familial and marital status, military status, disability, religion, genetic information, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Opponents of HERO claim it will have several unintended consequences, such as allowing transgender men to use women’s restrooms.
Critics turned in a petition to get the ordinance repealed or put on the ballot, which Houston’s city attorney rejected. In response, conservatives filed suit.
Five Houston pastors whom city officials believed opposed the ordinance were told they had to turn over all sermons they had preached regarding homosexuality, HERO, and about the mayor, who is a practicing lesbian.
The subpoenas garnered nationwide criticism from liberal and conservative organizations alike, with Parker initially narrowing the scope of the subpoenas to include “speeches” rather than “sermons.”
Parker’s decision to drop the subpoenas came days in advance of the “I Stand Sunday,” event in which multiple conservative groups, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the Benham brothers, and members of the “Duck Dynasty” cast united for a 90-minute simulcast in solidarity with the five pastors.
Hours before the Mayor’s change of heart was announced, Fox News Insider reported that
In a fiery commentary on Mayor Annise Parker’s actions, Mike Huckabee called for American pastors to show their opposition by sending her their sermons and a Bible.
“So, I’ve got an idea – if she wants some sermons, here’s my suggestion. I’d like to ask every pastor in America, not just the ones in Houston, send her your sermons. Obviously, she could use a few. So, if you’re a pastor, send them to her. And here’s another thought, everybody watching the show ought to send her a Bible. That’s right, everybody. I hope she gets thousands and thousands of sermons and Bibles,” said the former governor on Oct. 20.
Well, now the mayor’s office has said that it has gotten between 500-1,000 Bibles and that they will be distributed to churches.
I wonder if this tremendous backlash had anything to do with the Mayor’s stopping the subpoenas.
This attempt by the Houston Mayor to control what the pastors in her city said from the pulpit is a direct attack on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Let’s review the First Amendment, shall we?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
The following are quotes by famous Americans about this American Right:
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. – George Washington
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them. – Mark Twain
I live in America. I have the right to write whatever I want. And it’s equaled by another right just as powerful: the right not to read it. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend people. – Brad Thor
I begin to feel like most Americans don’t understand the First Amendment, don’t understand the idea of freedom of speech, and don’t understand that it’s the responsibility of the citizen to speak out. – Roger Ebert
We don’t have an Official Secrets Act in the United States, as other countries do. Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets. – Alan Dershowitz
Freedom of speech is always under attack by Fascist mentality, which exists in all parts of the world, unfortunately. – Lawrence Ferlinghetti
If Her Honor…err…His Honor…err…umm…whatever…thought that Houston’s Men of God were just going to meekly hand over their Sermon Notes, foregoing their Ordination as Preachers of God’s Word and simultaneously giving up their First Amendment Rights, she overestimated her position of authority greatly.
The Houston Pastors answer to Someone with a higher pay grade.
She was outranked all along.
Until He Comes,