In an unprecedented action on October 14, the city attorneys of Houston, Texas, subpoenaed sermons and other communications from selected pastors who opposed the city’s HERO ordinance (formally called “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance”). This ordinance bans discrimination “on the basis of protected characteristics” in “city employment, city services, city contracting practices, housing, public accommodations, and private employment” (City of Houston, Texas, Ordinance No. 2014-530).
Then on Friday, October 17, the city’s mayoral office revised the subpoenas, removing the word “sermons”; but other communications by these pastors are still targeted by the subpoenas. On Saturday, October 18, the Houston Chronicle reported, “The subpoenas now seek ‘all speeches or presentations related to HERO or the Petition’ the pastors delivered, revised, approved or have on hand.”
Regardless of the nature of communications they want from the pastors and churches, this is a blatant example of governmental overreach and is a clear attempt to silence the voice of the Church in Houston, Texas, America, and the world. Continue reading →