Houston, Texas is currently the stage for debate over “separation of church and state,” and the first amendment.
The latest back and forth, which involves the city of Houston, LGBT community, and local pastors, is a case that seems to surpass religion or no religion. The city of Houston has managed to obtain a subpoena that would force many local pastors to grant the city access to their sermons to determine if they discriminate against any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender person or the local government.
According to The Independent, this move came after local officials moved on a law that allow opposite genders to use the others restrooms, and forced compliance with loss of jobs or fines. Other disciplinary options are listed in the test of the ordinance.
The Houston “Equal Rights Ordinance”, or E.R.O., was pass quickly under the idea that there was a “public emergency requiring it be passed” immediately. The Houston ordinance suggests every place business, or defined business private or public, must adhere to the ordinance.
Since, churches could be affected by the Houston E.R.O., several pastors and others banded together to sign a petition that would allow E.R.O. to be placed on the election ballot in the fall. According to Breitbart News, the group collected over 50,000 signatures, which was three times more than what they needed to advance the issue to a ballot.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker rejected the petitions citing unspecified irregularities. According to The Independent, Mayor Parker has said the legislation is the centerpiece of administration. Annise Parker is an openly Lesbian woman who has been with her partner since 1990, and they have two adopted children. She regarded her election to Houston mayor as one that would “change the world” for the LGBT community.
According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit legal organization defending the group of pastors, the group filed a lawsuit after the petition was denied.
“After the initiative supporters filed a lawsuit, Woodfill v. Parker, over the matter, the city’s attorneys subpoenaed a number of area pastors, demanding to see what they preach from the pulpit and to examine their communications with their church members and others concerning the city council’s actions.”
This prompted Mayor and the city of Houston to demand, in a discovery request through a subpoena, that the pastors sermons among other communications be handed over. Their are 17 different things listed, with various language requested, that require pastors to turn over sermons and various communication that even include text messages.
ADF considers this subpoena “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.” They have filed a motion to quash the subpoena.
No further information is available at this time.
There is always a fight between the Christians and Catholics versus Atheists. They have met on the battleground regarding Christmas displays, Ten Commandment displays, and religious activities in public schools.
The Inquistir reported on situation not unlike the aforementioned issues. In California, the school seemed to single out Christian books or Christian authors, and removed them from the Charter schools library.
“The Pacific Justice Institute stated that the school ban has not just targeted books on Christian subject matter, but also by authors identifying as Christian, including a book about the Holocaust.”
So, what do you think? Was this legislation overreaching? Should the citizens have been allowed to have ordinance placed on the ballot? Has the response been appropriate and proportional?
Leave your thoughts and comments below.
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