Carl, the challenge to the bathroom bill is based upon the fact that there were more than the required number for a petition. There were many thousands handed in, and those that were not legitimate were discounted. Even at that, that left a few hundred more than the required amount. The rub came in, though, when the city attorney through out ALL of the signatures, and thus the referendum was shot down. Illegally, I might add. The city secretary (I'm not sure of her actual title) who is responsible for counting and approving the signatures did so. The city attorney had no legal right, nor any business, coming in and tossing them, thus effectively saying the people of the city had no right to vote on whether or not to allow transgenders in opposite sex bathrooms.
Of course the mayor isn't claiming she's going after them politically...who in their right mind would claim that? Carl, I realize you don't live in America, but please know this: our freedoms and liberties have been under attack for many years. God-haters are trying to remove Him from every aspect of life. And, sadly, too many Christians are going along with the idea that Christians should stay out of certain areas (completely backward of how this country was founded). I'm sorry, but the subpoenas don't have to center in a lawsuit whereby the politics or not of pastors is involved...all that is necessary is for them to demand them, in the name of the particular lawsuit here (bathroom bill) as a way to control. For what reason, other than scrutiny and attempt at control, did the subpoena state that all sermons that mentioned the mayor must be given? That has nothing to do with the bill. For what reason did the subpoenas state that all sermons that mentioned homosexuality must be given? Again, that has nothing to do with the bill. Etc. You may think that it is relevant, but it isn't. Now, even though I still think it would be wrong, had the subpoenas only requested communication which actually mentioned the petitions, perhaps things would be fine. In fact, here is what a law professor had to say:
University of Houston law professor Peter Linzer says the city reached too far in issuing the subpoenas. One subpoena sent to Pastor Steve Riggle, for example, asks for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the equal rights ordinance], the petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity.” However, Linzer says it wouldn’t impinge on the pastors’ First Amendment rights if the city only asked only for sermons or speeches related to the signature drive. “Let’s assume they gave instructions to cheat,” Linzer says. “That would be relevant speech and I don’t see how they would have any First Amendment protection for that.”
There is a very real effort here in America to de-God everything. Things like this simply are part of it.
Here's Ted Cruz with some good words...
In all actuality, people can rightly sue the mayor and city attorney for violating city charter by negating the petitions for referendum.
This is the same as the point you made earlier, Happy Christian, and I want to ask, where is this woman saying this in that tweet? I read that quote and interpreted it as meaning that if the pastors' sermons are relevant to a court case then they are not immune to being investigated for that purpose. Where did she mention the court case in her tweet? She was defiantly stating that she has the right to demand their sermons if she deems what they say to be political speech. You might argue that I don't know her state of mind when she said it, but, really - her wording is pretty obviously thumbing her nose...
But this journalist is basically saying that the mayor is stating publicly that she's issued the subpoenas because she is trying to prosecute the pastors for bringing politics into their sermons. But that's a ridiculous interpretation because the stated reason for the subpoenas is a lawsuit over the petition. Whatever secret motives we might--perhaps rightly--ascribe to the council's actions, those aren't going to be stated ones are they?
The amended subpoenas are now calling the sermons speeches...and are demanding all sermons related to HERO (the bathroom bill) and 17 other categories of information.
From Todd Starnes:
According to the Houston Chronicle, Mayor Parker said on Friday, "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."
Folks, that's a load of grade A fertilizer.
"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," she said.
There's just one problem, Madam Mayor, the pastors aren't party to the lawsuit. And if you weren't looking for their sermons, why did you put that in the subpoena.
The pastors aren't party to the lawsuit. The subpoenas are an overreach. The relevance is that government servants do not have the constitutional (read: legal) authority to demand sermons just because they might mention something political.
Subpoenas are a way to bring evidence to a trial. But here we get to the sticky widget again. The pastors aren't party to the lawsuit. Neither are their sermons. Whether they mention the mayor or not in a sermon, a text, an email, has nothing to do with the bathroom bill.
Yes, we should pray for them. But you are wrong that politics shouldn't be our business. God gave us the rights that are guaranteed - and that are being trampled. To sit back and do nothing (as in the case of this bathroom bill...which would allow pedophiles who want to claim to be transgendered access to children to whom they are sexually attracted) is to fail in our stewardship of this country God gave us. I realize, Invicta, you are not in America and your politics is a bit different. But once upon a time even Englishmen would have stepped up and protested this.
God does protect. But bad things happen to good people. And when good people sit back and allow heinous rulings and bills to stand, God is not honored.
With their reactions, backpedaling, changing of terms, etc., I don't think it's lazy secretaries or incompetence...I believe it is a direct frontal assault on religious liberty - intentionally so - by someone who hates Christianity.
The sermons (speeches) that are being subpeonad are those that mention the mayor, homosexuality or gender identity. It's an egregious overreach, no matter their explanation.
The 5 were singled out because of petitions that apparently were circulated against the "bathroom" bill (what the churches call it) - the bill that would make public restrooms open to any gender...even though there are laws on the books in TX that would keep certain people away from restrooms of opposite gender because of being pedophiles.
Before she started backpedaling, she tweeted that the 5 pastors got into politics, so they aren't protected...She obviously has no knowledge of American history.
For starters, homosexuality/gender nonsense isn't political at its root, it is spiritual (as is abortion, adultery, etc., etc.). And as such, any "issue" that is out there in public that relates to that is open to be preached about in the pulpit.
Secondly, the founding people of this country did not in any way believe that Christians and/or pastors were to keep their noses out of politics. The erroneous idea of separation of church and state being that no Christians have say in government and no government offices can in any way acknowledge God or Jesus Christ has contributed to government servants becoming lords and masters as Christians bow the knee to them believing they are obeying God...
You cannot rightly divide when you parse and pick what you want to apply to your life. ALL scripture means all of it. Not just the ones you want. Don't like it? Cut Peter, James, Hebrews out of your Bible.
The gospel is the gospel. Only one way of salvation. Jesus. Twist scripture to say otherwise and call it rightly dividing - it's still twisting.
Paul is not the only one God used to pen scripture. And God did not include the epistles of Peter simply for the Jews. I'm getting kind of tired of people who try to intimate that there is scripture that doesn't apply to Christians. God very clearly says "ALL scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
Please note that God used Paul to write those words. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but the words God had him pen are for any - Jew or Gentile - who gets saved. Just as the words God had Peter pen are for any - Jew or Gentile - who gets saved. ALL scripture. Not just Pauline epistles. Shame on those who would limit the efficacy and reach of God's Word.