Houston Mayor Annise Parker initially defended her decision to subpoena the sermons of several pastors who lead churches in the city. Parker defended that decision publicly, on Twitter.
If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game. Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?-A
— Annise Parker (@AnniseParker) October 15, 2014
Blowback was national, immediate and fierce (though, not from Wendy Davis, Barack Obama or any other of Parker’s fellow Democrats. They stayed quiet as Parker launched lawfare against churches.).
Parker backtracked and lied, claiming that she isn’t interested in the sermons.
Now she is lying again, claiming that the pastors knew that she wasn’t ever interested in their sermons.
“‘We don’t need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners,’ Parker said. ‘We don’t want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That’s always what we wanted and, again, they knew that’s what we wanted because that’s the subject of the lawsuit.'”
That is not what the original subpoenas said, and it is not what Parker defended demanding in the tweet above. In the tweet above, Parker admitted that she is interested in putting anything that the pastors might have said that can be construed as any way political under scrutiny. She wants to use discovery in the lawsuits against her to put the pastors and their tax-exempt status on trial.
As we and others have reported previously, the pastors who find themselves targeted by Parker’s subpoenas are not even party to the lawsuit in question. The lawsuit is over the Parker administration’s decision to throw out a petition that more than met the threshold to get a question on the ballot for Houston voters to decide.
That referendum would have put Parker’s “bathroom ordinance” up to a vote of the people. It needed a little over 17,000 signatures. It got 50,000, but Parker’s administration threw it out, citing “irregularities.”
That’s what the lawsuit is about — getting that petition re-instated, and putting Parker’s controversial “bathroom ordinance” up for a vote of the people.
Mayor Annise Parker is proving herself to be a deeply and fundamentally dishonest person. She subpoenaed sermons, clearly and unambiguously. In public she just as clearly defended her decision to subpoena sermons, despite the fact that those sermons are publicly available on the churches’ web sites. After the original subpoenas earned nationwide outrage, Parker and her city attorney both claimed that they didn’t even bother to read the subpoenas before sending them out.
The same subpoena calls for the pastors to turn over internal church communications. It also demands that they appear in the law offices of a radical, hard-left law firm that is handling the matter on Parker’s behalf. Add it all up, and the subpoenas are designed to intimidate the pastors and to tie up their staffs to comply, and open up their churches to IRS investigation, even though the pastors themselves are not party to the lawsuit.