Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) teamed up with Liberty Institute president Kelly Shackelford and the Houston pastors who were targeted by a recent subpoena that asked them to turn over sermons and other communications about homosexuality on Thursday to deliver a tough message to city officials.
During the press conference, which was held at Houston's First Baptist Church, Cruz made it clear that he believes the subpoena is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.
"Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit," he proclaimed. "And when you subpoena one pastor, you subpoena every pastor."
Watch a portion of his address below:
The senator also lambasted the subpoenas in a statement issued on the matter, calling the government act "shocking and shameful" and accusing officials of leading "an assault against religious liberty," according to CBS News.
"The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons. These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people," Cruz said. "The mayor should be ashamed."
As TheBlaze previously reported Thursday morning, officials in Houston, Texas, appear to be backing away from the sweeping subpoena seeking church communications and sermons from five faith leaders who are affiliated with activists opposed to the city’s controversial equal rights ordinance.
After 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,” Parker and city attorney David Feldman began striking a different tone Wednesday.
Parker went as far as to call the subpoena “overly broad,” with both the mayor and Feldman seemingly admitting that they believe the language is problematic, as the Houston Chronicle reported.
“There’s no question the wording was overly broad,” Parker said during a press conference Wednesday. “But I also think there was some deliberate misinterpretation on the other side.”
The subpoena was issued as part of a court battle over the city's equal rights ordinance, which has been decried by many pastors and conservative activists.
Read more about the controversy here.