Annise Parker, Houston, Texas’, first openly lesbian mayor, has demanded via subpoena that a group of pastors turn over any sermons that discuss gender identity, homosexuality issues, the city’s newly implemented non-discrimination law or the mayor herself. Pastors who refuse to comply face contempt of court charges. The subpoenas are one more phase in the uproar following the controversial law in Houston, allowing, among other things, both sexes to use the same restrooms.
The Houston Chronicle said city attorneys issued the subpoenas seeking “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”
Liberty advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to halt the subpoenas. Five pastors filed a motion to stop the subpoenas they see as “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”
“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” ADF 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.”
Several prominent evangelicals have expressed their concern, including Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
“The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will,” Moore wrote. “But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.”
Watch this commentary video by Fox News featuring Kevin Sorbo and panel talking about church’s influence in the nation.