Although Houston’s mayor Annise Parker backtracked on the city’s subpoenas to pastors after a backlash, she’s set to formally withdraw them.
What prompted the government action was the city’s so-called non-discrimination ordinance. The law is designed to infringe on the rights of Christians who refuse to express support for the homosexual lifestyle. The city ordered five pastors to turn over to the government sermons that mention the sin of homosexuality. Christians organized to fight the government’s demand, citing an obvious violation of the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause. An excerpt:
Parker last week had left the subpoenas in place with narrower wording, removing any mention of “sermons.” However, Parker said two Tuesday meetings, one with local pastors and another with national clergy, persuaded her to pull the subpoenas altogether.
The move is in the best interest of Houston, she said, and is not an admission that the requests were in any way illegal or intended to intrude on religious liberties. The subpoenas were part of a discovery phase in a suit filed by opponents of the equal rights ordinance, who largely take issue with the rights the law extends to gay and transgender residents.
“I didn’t do this to satisfy them,” Parker said of critics. “I did it because it was not serving Houston.”
There you have it. The mayor, a homosexual, doesn’t seem that concerned about the religious people in her city who don’t want to be forced to approve certain sexual behavior or about the obvious abuse of government power. Parker apparently believes the government was well within its authority to demand the content of sermons.
Photo credit: Alliance Defending Freedom