More than 25,000 Sign Petitions in 24 Hours Urging Houston Mayor to End Political Intimidation, Drop Subpoenas of Pastors
October 16, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council renewed its call today for Houston Mayor Annise Parker to completely drop her subpoena that demands the communications of five pastors – including emails, and text messages. Despite reports of “backpedaling” yesterday, the subpoenas remain in place.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:
“The mayor made it quite clear throughout the entire ‘bathroom bill’ debate-that she’ll use her bully pulpit to bully pulpits across Houston. Despite reports yesterday, the mayor’s office has not withdrawn the subpoenas. The city may eventually backpedal on a narrow portion of the subpoena dealing with sermons, but are still demanding pastors’ emails and other private communications.
“Pastors not only have the right to speak to the moral issues of the day – but an obligation to do so. The pulpit is to be governed only by the Word of God, and the chilling effect of government scrutiny of our pastors is unconstitutional, and unconscionable. Mayor Parker’s use of her bully pulpit to silence pulpit freedom must be stopped in its tracks.
“Family Research Council, and the more than 25,000 people who have signed our petition in the last 24 hours, stand with the Houston pastors and their churches, and call on Mayor Parker to immediately retract these demands and issue a clear statement in support of the free speech of all people,” concluded Perkins.
The petition can be accessed at www.frc.org/Houston
Houston Mayor Annise Parker has issued an unprecedented legal demand that several key pastors turn over sermons, emails, and text messages, even communications with members of their congregations, under the threat of fines, imprisonment or both. The pastors that have been targeted are pastors who have spoken out against Parker’s LGBT special rights ordinance.
Mayor Parker has breached the wall of separation between the state and the church. This attack on religious freedom and the freedom of speech should be universally repudiated by all Americans who value our constitutional freedoms.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote that “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions.” The pulpit is to be governed only by the Word of God, and the chilling effect of government scrutiny of our pastors is unconstitutional, and unconscionable. Mayor Parker’s use of her bully pulpit to silence pulpit freedom must be stopped in its tracks.
We, the undersigned, stand unapologetically with the Houston pastors and their churches, and call for the City of Houston to retract their demands and issue a clear statement in support of the free speech of all people.