TheBlaze posted a story earlier this week about Houston's city government subpoenaing church sermons, among other documentation, from five local faith leaders. Officials requested that preachers turn in communications that have focused on homosexuality or the city's contentious equal rights ordinance.
The subpoenas sought “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,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
Parker happens to be the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.
The move came as the city of Houston is defending itself against a lawsuit brought by local activists and pastors who are seeking the suspension of the controversial equal rights ordinance which allows transgendered individuals to file complaints if they are denied restroom usage and bans discrimination in both business and housing.
It should be noted that Parker seemed to back down from her stance shortly after the subpoena uproar began.
Here's what some readers of TheBlaze had to say about the issue:
Or in lieu of handing over the sermons, hand over a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
I’m a preacher and I believe that the only way to pacify this rabble is to agree with them and tell them that homosexuality is not a sin. The only problem is that would be a lie. Homosexuality was a sin in the Patriarchal dispensation (Sodom and Gomorrah), it was a sin in the Mosaic dispensation (called an abomination) and a sin under the Christian dispensation (such will not inherit the Kingdom of God).
What is really happening here is that the City of Houston is putting God on trial for hate speech. God will forgive all sin that is repented of. There is no such guarantee for high-handed sin that is not repented of. Send that to the City of Houston.
With as much contempt as you can muster, tell the city to go to hell. Ignore it and force the city to play out its hand. The church cannot tell the city to whom it can grant a civil marriage contract. The city can’t tell the church what to preach or whose marriage to bless or decline.
The separation of church and state goes BOTH ways or none.
I missed the part where they did the same to the local imams as well.
Oh wait…that’ll never happen.
Time to stand up and be counted, Christians.
Rather than sending copies of these sermons they should send copies of the Class Action Civil Rights Violation Lawsuit to the lesbian mayor…
The special “tax exempt status," among other things, that churches hold in our American jurisprudence is undeniable, even the Magna Carta recognized and protected the absolute, irrevocable freedom and rights of churches:
“In the first place we grant to God and confirm by this our present charter for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity that the English Church is to be FREE and to have all its rights fully and its liberties entirely.” (Art. I)
Churches can NEVER be silenced, restrained or limited in the full exercise of their Rights!
Under the IRS status of Charitable Organization, religion in America is censored. Churches have agreed to not talk politics in fear of losing this tax shelter. This is crazy and churches need to get out from under this federal muzzle and start preaching the way they should. Don’t like abortion? Preach the abortionist supporter’s names from the pulpit. Don’t like dishonesty? Preach about the lies told by the candidate. Time to tell the truth. Churches need to step up to the plate!
Just tell them your hard drive crashed.
Of course they won’t be able to stop preachers from saying what they want. That would be unconstitutional. But there isn’t anything wrong with being gay.
Absolutely ridiculous violation of the First Amendment. This is specifically targeting Christians — if it was fair all religious sermons should be examined. Why aren’t Muslim clerics and mosques having their messages and sermons checked?
Please churches — cut the cord with the government.
Get rid of your 501(c)(3) status so you can’t be labeled as “places of public accommodation.”
This slope is very slippery if you choose to cling to your tax-exempt status.
Anti-Christian hunt of opportunity indeed: This is nothing more than governmental abuse of power.
Why would you have to subpoena something that was said in public at a place everyone is welcome?
While the article is not entirely clear, the way I understand it is that local churches have been preaching politics from the pulpit, which may constitute a violation of their 501(c)(3) status.
I’m not comfortable with that line of thinking personally; there’s a difference between preaching “gays are sinners and the government shouldn’t be protecting them from discrimination” and preaching “Vote for Joe Schmo, because God tells you to.” I always felt the line came to endorsing specific politicians, not railing against policies in general.
If political speech is now not allowed from the pulpit without government scrutiny then I would ask for the sermons of the following:
Jamal H. Bryant
The list goes on and on and on.
If I were the preacher, I would tell the local government, “If you want to know what’s in my sermon, come to church on Sunday.”
As a preacher, I can tell you that I would NEVER turn my sermons OR my correspondence with the people in my church to ANY government official. I think this mayor must have taken a trip to Colorado and spent a little too much time in the “smoke” houses.
The founders of our country, the people who fled Europe, did so to escape this exact persecution. Our founding fathers specifically wrote that the government could not do this. They debated this in the Federalist papers to make it absolutely clear that the U.S. government could never do this.
As noted by the founders, when this happens, there comes a time when the people must stand up to the government. It happened in 1776, it can happen again if our government is not willing to follow their own foundational laws. In fact, it was called for by the founders should this happen again.
People need to kick out the current politicians who are not willing to correct this, either by votes or by other legal means. In the meantime, I would tell the Mayor of Houston to take a hike to a socialist country.
Jesus noted that eventually our faith would bring brother against brother and that a house divided would not stand. Given all that is happening, maybe the time is getting close for a revelation of some type.
Preaching does not always require a written text. A few note cards, knowing your passage thoroughly, and referring to the biblical text is often all a good preacher needs.
A sermon is NOT a peer-reviewed published article w/footnotes, etc.
The pastors ought to stand firm in what they believe. Every single one of them should purchase a small Bible and provide that to the government with a letter stating, “If you wish to know what we preach or believe all my sermons are from this book. If you read it, you will know exactly what is being taught in the church.”