Aimee Herd filed this article praising pastors and expressing a concern – one that could easily have far-reaching consequences in other nations:
A petition has been launched on behalf of the pastors targeted recently by Houston mayor Annise Parker and the city government.
According to the Houston Chronicle, attorneys for the city of Houston have subpoenaed sermons given by prominent local pastors opposed to what the paper calls an ‘embattled’ equal rights ordinance.
Their subpoena seeks ‘all speeches, presentations, and sermons’ related to the new ordinance, to the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity ‘prepared by, delivered by, revised by, approved by you or in your possession.’
Faith Driven Consumer – which was previously successful with their StandWithPhil campaign, advocating Phil Robertson‘s return to the Duck Dynasty reality show on TV – has launched the HoustonWeHaveAProblem petition.
The following is excerpted from founder Chris Stone’s Faith Driven Consumer website:
Pastors have been at the very centre of American society since even before our founding as a nation.
• They remain an integral part of the lives of untold of millions today
• Cheer us on when we succeed, lift us up when we fall, pray with us in our darkest times of need
• They were leaders in the fight for American independence
• Made the moral case to abolish slavery, pastors argued for women’s suffrage
• Advocated for much needed child labour laws
• During every national moment of crisis, we turn to them for guidance, strength, and wisdom
• Pastors – including one from Georgia whose life is celebrated by a new monument in Washington, DC – championed the cause of civil rights.
America’s First Amendment protects freedom of speech and religion, which has made these significant accomplishments possible. If pastors had been silenced, if they had not been free to speak out on issues in our society, America would not be what it is today. In fact, America would not be.
We live in a rich, diverse society today. A society with differing viewpoints and beliefs, a society of open discourse in which tolerance makes it possible for us to disagree with respect. We also live in a society that values equality, including the notion that everyone has the right to publicly express deeply held beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal. People of faith – who are a significant part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity – share the same fundamental rights as other groups.
Your legal actions against a group of respected clergy members in the city of Houston constitute aggressive bullying, the very offence from which you seek to protect another community in the city. This is unconstitutional, un-American, and the very height of hypocrisy.
By signing this petition…
I stand with these valued faith leaders and demand that you cease and desist all bullying and other offensive actions against them.
I also call on the City of Houston, in their quest to provide protection for LGBT citizens, to equally and explicitly acknowledge and ensure the equal rights of people of faith to live and express openly their deeply held religious beliefs.
Furthermore, I ask that you apologise to the pastors, the people of Houston, and people of faith across the nation. Nobody should face persecution in America simply for what they believe.
Today it’s Houston pastors that are targeted – but where this might lead to in our great nation and elsewhere in the worldwide kingdom? This important petition seeks to protect free speech of pastors! To sign, click http://www.faithdrivenconsumer.com/houstonwehaveaproblem
Aimee Herd is editor of the highly recommended Breaking Christian News – http://www.breakingchristiannews.com. She is also director for ElijahStreams iRadio and lives in Oregon with her husband David, children Allie and Tim, and their Aussie heeler ‘Tal.’ Link: email@example.com See also this month’s The Buzz. Note: The above article is adapted from Aimee Herd’s Breaking Christian News report.
Chris Stone, Faith Driven Consumer founder
‘Thousands of concerned citizens are signing up in support of this important cause – harnessing the power of social media and keeping the pressure on Houston’s governmental leaders. Faith Driven Consumers and people of conscience across the nation – including leaders at the local, state and national levels – are joining the call for the mayor and city officials to unequivocally reverse course and end their harassment of five respected area pastors and ultimately Christians throughout Houston,’ said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer. ‘We will continue to rally greater levels of grassroots support until tolerance and equality for people of faith are restored in the nation’s fourth largest city.’