Houston is just a test…a test we had better pass.

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Houston is just a test…a test we must pass.

 

When I first began to speak out against our government many of my fellow ministers thought I was violating my calling.  I warned them that a widespread, complex, long range plan went into effect in 2008 to totally wipe out our liberties.

I have warned American Christians again and again that government wants to control everything from your doctor, the car you drive, the way you buy and sell and now… your pastor.    This moment does not violate my calling it fulfills it.  Not just my calling but the calling of every God-called preacher in America.

Here’s a quick review of what Government has done:

-Obamacare is touted as an achievement when we all know it was rammed down our throats by a single party.  It immediately expands government to control 1/6th of our entire economy.

– When the government purchased General Motors’ it was socialism pure and simple.

-Benghazi is worse than Watergate and we still have no action.  A president literally left Americans die because knowledge of a terrorist attack on 911 would hurt his chances at reelection.

Left there to die

– Here is government intrusion on a state level: 61% of all the citizens of North Carolina voted to protect traditional marriage.  An activist federal judge appointed by Obama overruled them and imposed Gay Marriage on an independent state.

-167,000 convicted felons, here illegally, roam free in our United States.  A part of the government’s program to avoid deportations.

-The only major employer in 6 years has been the government.

-Ebola could have been controlled why wasn’t it and more to the point why isn’t it?

Here’s the playbook: Expand control over an apathetic public.  Promise cradle to grave goodies and bring in millions more who would welcome government assistance and vote for it.

Now we come to Houston.  Already the Mayor is back peddling and denying she had anything to do with a court order to make ministers hand over their sermons and emails.

Wake up!  This was a test.  It was a weather balloon sent up that is being watched by secular progressives all over the nation.  I do not believe they ever hoped to win, they merely wanted to test the level of outrage before doing it on a national level.

That fact is that I know what I know and I will keep speaking out regardless of the personal cost.  The very first Americans wanted liberty or death.  This is the tyranny they fought against.  This is the despotism that the Constitution is designed to stop.  Who could have imagined a mayor, in Texas of all places, would issue a subpoena as if she were an banana republic dictator, to control what pastor can and cannot say in their pulpits.

If we, the Body of Christ do not produce a withering, scorched earth outrage to this criminal act of religious persecution then we are inviting tyranny.  It will be tyranny on a level that makes everything that the government has done so far, look like child’s play.   What do you think?

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Dem

 

P.S. You can email the Mayor to express your disagreement.  Here is her email:  mayor@houstontx.gov    Be frank in your communication but not abusive.   We disavow any violent, obscene, or hateful emails for both sides of the debate.  MM

 

 

Southern Baptists Strike back at City of Houston

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WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 14, 2014—Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says he is “simply stunned by the sheer audacity” of reports that Houston city attorneys have issued subpoenas to pastors who have voiced opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure which deals with gender identity and sexuality in public accommodations.

“The preaching of sermons in the pulpits of churches is of no concern to any government bureaucrat at all. This country settled, a long time ago, with a First Amendment that the government would not supervise, license or bully religious institutions. That right wasn’t handed out by the government, as a kind of temporary restraining order. It was recognition of a self-evident truth.

“The churches, and pastors, of Houston ought to respond to this sort of government order with the same kind of defiance the Apostle Paul showed the magistrates in Philippi. A government has no business using subpoena power to intimidate or bully the preaching and instruction of any church, any synagogue, any mosque or any other place of worship. The pastors of Houston should tell the government that they will not trample over consciences, over the First Amendment and over God-given natural rights.

“The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. 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.”

Moore’s full blog post on the issue can be found online.

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.

City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons

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City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons

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.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom 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.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

 

“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.

However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.

After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.

The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups – from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.

“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.

However, ADF attorney Stanley suspects the mayor wants to publicly shame the ministers. He said he anticipates they will hold up their sermons for public scrutiny. In other words – the city is rummaging for evidence to “out” the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered 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.”

Rev. Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.

“We’re not afraid of this bully,” he said. “We’re not intimidated at all.”

He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.

“We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,” Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.”

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said pastors around the nation should rally around the Houston ministers.

“The state is breaching the wall of separation between church and state,” Perkins told me. ‘Pastors need to step forward and challenge this across the country. I’d like to see literally thousands of pastors after they read this story begin to challenge government authorities – to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons.”

Perkins called the actions by Houston’s mayor “obscene” and said they “should not be tolerated.”

“This is a shot across the bow of the church,” he said.

This is the moment I wrote about in my book, “God Less America.” I predicted that the government would one day try to silence American pastors. I warned that under the guise of “tolerance and diversity” elected officials would attempt to deconstruct religious liberty. 

Sadly, that day arrived sooner than even I expected.

Tony Perkins is absolutely right. Now is the time for pastors and people of faith to take a stand.  We must rise up and reject this despicable strong-arm attack on religious liberty. We cannot allow ministers to be intimidated by government thugs.

The pastors I spoke to tell me they will not comply with the subpoena – putting them at risk for a “fine or confinement, or both.”

Heaven forbid that should happen. But if it does, Christians across America should be willing to descend en masse upon Houston and join these brave men of God behind bars.

Pastor Welch compared the culture war skirmish to the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, fought in present-day Harris County, Texas. It was a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.

“This is the San Jacinto moment for traditional family,” Welch told me. “This is the place where we stop the LGBT assault on the freedom to practice our faith.”

We can no longer remain silent. We must stand together – because one day – the government might come for your pastor.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Comment