This week, in Houston, Texas, attorneys for the avowed lesbian Mayor Annise Parker have 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. This is blatant retaliation against these pastors, who have sought a democratic ballot referendum on Parker’s controversial LGBT special rights ordinance.
Mayor Parker has irresponsibly breached the “wall of separation” between the state and the church. Thomas Jefferson, who first used that term to assure churches of their religious freedoms from government involvement, also 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, and not opinions.”
Such government scrutiny of the personal opinions and public preachments of pastors is unconstitutional and unconscionable. The City of Houston needs to retract their intimidating demands and issue a clear statement in support of religious freedom and the free speech of all people.
Send the Mayor of Houston a copy of the First Amendment to remind her that pastors enjoy the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech and the freedom to petition the government.