The PJ Tatler

Houston Mayor Subpoenas Pastors' Sermons for Opposing 'Anti-Discrimination' Ordinance

The mayor’s office of the city of Houston, Texas is abusing its power.

Todd Starnes reports that the city of Houston has demanded that area pastors must turn in their sermons to the city or face contempt of court charges. It’s not a strongly worded request, it’s a subpoena. For sermons.

At issue is the city’s “anti-discrimination” ordinance. The city passed it in June.

Many area churches and leaders opposed it, because critics argue that it

…potentially would open women’s restrooms to male sexual predators dressed in women’s clothing and force businesses to serve clients whose sexual practices they oppose on religious grounds.

Having gotten the ordinance passed, the city is now retaliating against those who opposed it. And that is after the city mangled the process to get the result that it desired. The group opposing the ordinance gathered 50,000 petition signatures, when it only needed a little over 17,000 to get the ordinance on the ballot as a referendum. The city claimed that it based its decision to toss the petition on “irregularities.”

That was in August. In October, the city is going after the pastors.

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

Mayor Annise Parker must explain the city’s actions. She refused to, today, when Starnes called the mayor’s office for comment.

This is an abuse of power. It also appears to be weaponizing government to exact revenge on political dissenters. That is un-American and wrong.