Mayor Annise Parker announced today that the city was withdrawing all the subpoenas served on 5 local Houston pastors.
Two weeks ago the mayor of the city of Houston,Texas started a religious freedom nightmare scenario when she subpoenaed 5 local pastors demanding that they turn over all of their sermons that mentioned homosexuality or the city’s transgender bathroom ordinance. Following a national firestorm, the mayor revised the subpoenas to include only speeches that mentioned the ordinance and the mayor. The criticism justifiably continued unabated.
Today’s action followed several meetings between the mayor and local religious leaders. From the city’s official press release:
With local pastors standing with her, Mayor Annise Parker has told the City Legal Department to withdraw the subpoenas filed against five local pastors who have identified themselves as the leaders of the petition drive to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
“This is an issue that has weighed heavily on my mind for the last two weeks,” said Mayor Parker. “Protecting the HERO from being repealed is important to Houston, but I also understand the concerns of the religious community regarding the subpoenas. After two meetings yesterday, I decided that withdrawing the subpoenas is the right thing to do. It addresses the concerns of ministers across the country who viewed the move as overreaching. It is also the right move for our city.
Response: The transgender bathroom ordinance was a big enough threat to religious liberty to begin with but the subpoenas took it to another level entirely. It is great to see at least the subpoenas against the pastors dropped. This should have never happened in America in the first place. Now we can only hope that the ordinance itself will receive a direct vote of the people and that the fascistic actions of this mayor and city government against religious liberty will cease.
This whole episode has been a wake-up call for many Christians who assume that their freedoms are and will always be protected by the First Amendment. *Top