City of Houston Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons

jkcerda

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http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/city-of-houston-demands-pastors-turn-over-sermons.html

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”

The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.

The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said ADF attorney Erik Stanley. “This is designed to intimidate pastors.”

Mayor Parker will not explain why she wants to inspect the sermons. I contacted City Hall for a comment and received a terse reply from the mayor’s director of communications.

“We don’t comment on litigation,” said Janice Evans.
what can they possibly do with the sermons?
 

bradl

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One can not deny that religion is one of the various ways used for indoctrination (lack of a better word). It is through there (among other routes) that values (both good and/or bad) are instilled in a person.

Also keep in mind that this is the South, and how much of a grip organized religion has on the South.

This could get sticky, as this could be grounds for a 1st Amendment fight versus hate speech.

BL.
 

jkcerda

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One can not deny that religion is one of the various ways used for indoctrination (lack of a better word). It is through there (among other routes) that values (both good and/or bad) are instilled in a person.

Also keep in mind that this is the South, and how much of a grip organized religion has on the South.

This could get sticky, as this could be grounds for a 1st Amendment fight versus hate speech.

BL.
what is "hate" speech? the mayor happens to be a lesbian, would any sermon that preaches against homosexuals be considered "hate" speech?
EDIT.
from link
Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered him to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.

The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over “all communications with members of your congregation” regarding the non-discrimination law.

“This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,” Riggle told me. “The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.”
 

bradl

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what is "hate" speech? the mayor happens to be a lesbian, would any sermon that preaches against homosexuals be considered "hate" speech?
EDIT.
from link
Because those that could use such a sermon as rationale for any crime they commit against LGBTQ people could find themselves afoul of the Matthew Shepard Act.

That's why I'm saying that this situation has the potential to get very ugly.

BL.
 

Mousse

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what can they possibly do with the sermons?
The City must be strapped for cash. One of those sermons would rake so much money, they would need six guys just to collect it all.:D:D:D

Anyhow, the real shocker is the law (*IF*, mind blowingly huge IF it passes) allows men to use the ladies room. Whoa, WHUT!? Oh wait, the approved it back in June. Holy sh...
 

Moyank24

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This seems pretty dodgy on the part of the mayor.
It definitely does.

That said, I feel like something is missing here.

Why hasn't this been reported anywhere but extreme right wing sites? All you have to do is read the OP to see the slant ("The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa" - it actually this deals with transgenders, so that statement is extremely misleading).

This HERO ordinance has been a HUGE source of contention in Houston. This would be an interesting, and if truthful, very disturbing development. I'm still looking for a real source, though.
 
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jkcerda

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Because those that could use such a sermon as rationale for any crime they commit against LGBTQ people could find themselves afoul of the Matthew Shepard Act.

That's why I'm saying that this situation has the potential to get very ugly.

BL.
its based on city ordinance
Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance.
seems the Mayor is making it about her
Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered him to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.
 

jkcerda

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The City must be strapped for cash. One of those sermons would rake so much money, they would need six guys just to collect it all.:D:D:D

Anyhow, the real shocker is the law (*IF*, mind blowingly huge IF it passes) allows men to use the ladies room. Whoa, WHUT!? Oh wait, the approved it back in June. Holy sh...
would they collect by passing the collection plate? :eek:
 

citizenzen

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what can they possibly do with the sermons?
This PDF [http://www.adfmedia.org/files/WoodfillSubpoenaRequest.pdf ] seems to provide the most information on the case, albeit from the defenses side.

14. All documents, studies, information, communications, or other data that you believe support or demonstrate the truthfulness and accuracy of the statements made in the Petition, including but not limited to the statements in the Petition (or in any training materials prepared for Petition Circulators or anyone else involved in the collection of any signatures for the Petition) that “Biological males ARE IN FACT allowed to enter women’s restrooms in Houston under Mayor Annise Parker’s “Equal Rights Ordinance”, thereby threatening the physical and emotional safety of our women and childrenl” and that “Her ERO creates UNegual Rights for a tiny group of people by taking away rights of safety and privacy for the vast majority of our women and children!”) (emphasis in original).
So obey the subpoena, submit the material requested and let the court make its decision.

What's the problem here?
 

Moyank24

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Let me Google that for ya. Hopefully, you'll find some "real sources" on the subject.:rolleyes:

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=houston+pastor+sermon&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=ssl
Thanks...

It looks like this subpoena is directly related to the petition that was filed to repeal the ordinance, and was found to be invalid.

So while the City of Houston indeed subpoenaed pastors' sermons, it appears it did so to investigate whether the churches engaged in political organization activities under the guise of preaching.
 

citizenzen

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Thanks...

It looks like this subpoena is directly related to the petition that was filed to repeal the ordinance, and was found to be invalid.
From the Houston Chronicle ...

City subpoenas sermons in equal rights case
By Katherine Driessen

October 14, 2014 | Updated: October 15, 2014 11:11am


...

The city's lawyers will face a high bar for proving the information in the sermons is essential to their case, said Charles Rhodes, a South Texas College of Law professor. The pastors are not named parties in the suit, and the "Church Autonomy Doctrine" offers fairly broad protections for internal church deliberations, he said.

Calling it an "unusual but not unprecedented" subpoena request, Rhodes said the city would stand a better chance of getting the sermons if it were a criminal case in which the message or directive in the sermons prompted a specific criminal action.

Still, he said, the city likely will get a boost because many of the sermons are broadcast or recorded and are intended to be shared with the public.

"This is unusual to see it come up in a pure political controversy," Rhodes said. "The city is going to have to prove there is something very particular in the sermons that does not come up anywhere else."

To that end, Feldman said the pastors made their sermons relevant to the case by using the pulpit to do political organizing. That included encouraging congregation members to sign petitions and help gather signatures for equal rights ordinance foes, who largely take issue with the rights extended to gay and transgender residents.

Training video
Feldman pointed to a training video that surfaced this summer showing Welch, of the Houston Area Pastor Council, explaining the rules signature gatherers needed to follow during a church presentation. With a PowerPoint presentation behind him, Welch tells the audience the city's stringent repeal referendum process "makes it more challenging for us" to qualify for the ballot.

Ordinance supporters said the video proved the signature gatherers were aware of the rules but flouted them anyway.

"If someone is speaking from the pulpit and it's political speech, then it's not going to be protected," Feldman said.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/City-subpoenas-sermons-in-ERO-court-case-5822800.php
I'm all for efforts to keep churches from engaging in political activities.

While some claim that this will have a chilling-effect on the pastor's free speech, I don't believe that this would be an issue at all if their speech stuck to, "Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Amen."
 

Moyank24

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From the Houston Chronicle ...



I'm all for efforts to keep churches from engaging in political activities.

While some claim that this will have a chilling-effect on the pastor's free speech, I don't believe that this would be an issue at all if their speech stuck to, "Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Amen."
As am I. Unless they're willing to give up their tax exempt status...

The fight against this ordinance has been particularly ugly and it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon.
 

jkcerda

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As am I. Unless they're willing to give up their tax exempt status...

The fight against this ordinance has been particularly ugly and it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon.
I recall sitting in church one time before election, right before we left they announced a "workshop" that was going to go over our "beliefs", I found it odd until the deacon said *****we are NOT telling WHO to vote for or HOW to vote, just letting you know the church stand on some issues**********

anyways, doubt they will ever let go of their tax cheat,,,,,er exempt status
 

hulugu

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From the Houston Chronicle ...



I'm all for efforts to keep churches from engaging in political activities.

While some claim that this will have a chilling-effect on the pastor's free speech, I don't believe that this would be an issue at all if their speech stuck to, "Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. Amen."
Thanks for posting this. As usual, the right-wing screed-machine ignores the important details of a case for belligerent fear-mongering.
 

citizenzen

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Thanks for posting this. As usual, the right-wing screed-machine ignores the important details of a case for belligerent fear-mongering.
I had to work my way past a number of wnd ... free republic ... breitbart sites.

It's definitely caught the attention of the right-wing blogosphere.

As usual ... context matters.