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The Annals of Bad Ideas: Houston Responds to Religious Activism with Subpoenas for Sermon Contents

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Should they just tell the city to go to hell?
Credit: Ianbarnard | Dreamstime.com

In May, Houston's City Council passed an ordinance that extended anti-discrimination laws to gay and transgender residents. This did not sit well with several local folks, particularly those of the religious persuasion. They organized and gathered signatures to try to force the ordinance to a public vote, as is their right under Houston law. The city's secretary looked over the signatures and declared them sufficient to qualify for a vote. But then City Attorney David Feldman looked it over and disqualified thousands of signatures. The vote would no longer happen. Opponents of the ordinance are appealing the disqualification and there's all sorts of squabbling and nitpicking, as is common when citizens want to vote on something that a government would prefer they did not.

The fight has taken an unusual turn now, as the City of Houston is attempting to subpoena the contents of sermons and other communications by local Christian conservative leaders who have spoken in opposition to the law. From the Houston Chronicle:

City attorneys issued subpoenas last month as part of the case's discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the Equal Rights Ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession."

The subpoenas were issued to pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance: Dave Welch, Hernan Castano, Magda Hermida, Khanh Huynh and Steve Riggle. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization known for its role in defending same-sex marriage bans, filed a motion Monday on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas, and in a press announcement called it a "witch hunt."

Feldman is defending the subpoenas by pointing out a training video by a member of a local pastor council explaining the rules for collecting signatures for a ballot initiative. This illustrates that these folks were politically involved and therefore the speech was not protected, according to Feldman.

But such a broad demand for communications appears a bit absurd. All sermons related to homosexuality from conservative preachers? Much of that could have nothing to do with any sort of activism against the ordinance. And did nobody think about how it was going to look to demand any communications by a religious leader that mentioned the city's openly gay mayor? One legal expert was skeptical:

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. …

"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."

The Alliance Defending Freedom is trying to quash the subpoenas. What strikes me about this foolishness of this decision is that it reinforces the fears of the religious that they will be targeted and victimized in a society that is more tolerant of gays and the transgender. The big argument the opponents of the ordinance have been using is actual fearmongering that sexual predators will dress up like women to get them in the bathrooms and we'll all be helpless to stop them because of the law. It is a silly, stupid argument that has no basis in anything real (though, having said that: Private businesses should be able to set whatever restroom policies they want).

But now that the city and its mayor are actually, literally targeting them using the law as a weapon, they are getting all sorts of attention. It doesn't actually matter whether Feldman is right and these guys pushed beyond proselytizing to political activism that is inappropriate for religious nonprofits. It makes the city look like a bully that doesn't actually have any faith that the ordinance it passed is supported by its own electorate.  

UPDATE: Here's a pdf of the subpoena request, which also asks for documents that demonstrate the truth of their claims of bathroom attack risks and also their résumés.

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  1. What strikes me about this foolishness of this decision is that it reinforces the fears of the religious that they will be targeted and victimized in a society that is more tolerant of gays and the transgender.

    Hey Scott did it ever occur to you that those fears are true? Maybe this doesn’t reinforce those fears so much as further prove they are legitimate? I know it is a shock to think that anyone who is gay could maybe not be such a nice person or subscribe to a really horrible political ideology but maybe it is true. I mean it was really hard for Homer Simpson to believe anyone who spoke German could do anything wrong but sometimes life is like that.

    1. Scratch a prog, find a fascist.

      1. Sure. But gays are nice. They are like Mexicans. They always hold benevolent liberty loving views. Didn’t you know that?

        1. But gays are nice. They are like Mexicans.

          And gay Mexicans are the nicest.

            1. Really? Or is that just the grass talking?

            2. It always comes down to Mexicans and ass sex.

              1. And weed.

          1. And gay Mexicans are the nicest.

            Thi

        2. exactly john i mean america has always treated gays with suuchrespect and dignity. theyre all just evil peoplewho hate our freedoms. and communists.

          1. Past mistreatment of one group by others justifies present mistreatment of others by that group.

            Said every grievance mongering sjw ever.

            1. if a man kicked you in the face would you respect or trusthim?

              1. If a moron posed to you a false dilemma in service of an absurd analogy, would you indulge him?

                Sorry, no.

              2. If the government threatened to imprison you unless you disclosed the contents of all your pro-gay-rights speeches, would you respect or trust the government?

                1. the government has routinely and systmatically imprisone gay people. even after lawrence vtexas there are still laws on the books and being enforced in many states counties an cities.

                  pm, whats absurd about that? im sorrb for not indulging your pathetic victim card playing by pretending americas treatment of gays has been anything but extremely hostile. im sorry too that you think liberty is zero sum but thats libertopia for you

                  1. im sorrb for not indulging your pathetic victim card playing

                    It’s funny how irony is most often lost on the ironic.

                    On the bright side, Hooked on Phonics won’t discriminate against you on the basis of your orientation. Just sayin’.

                  2. “Flaming Ballsack|10.15.14 @ 12:33PM|#

                    the government has routinely and systmatically imprisone gay people.”

                    Whaaat ? There are many archaic laws on many state “books”.

                    I’ve never heard of someone being put in jail for being gay. Not saying they are not, but I’ve never heard of it.

                    I bet there are more cases of proven voter fraud than people being arrested for being gay.

                    Do you support voter ID laws ?

                    1. Gay bars were raided often and the customers were often thrown in jail and worse. WTF do you think the Stonewall riots were about?

                    2. I didn’t remember anything about the Stonewall Riots until I just now read about it. But then I remembered reading about it at some time or other.

                      I grew up in a small East Texas town and in 1969 I didn’t know that homosexuality existed. To this day I have never heard about police raids on gay bars.

                      If the laws referred to in the prior post are still being enforced like was posted why isn’t it in the news ?

                2. If the government threatened to imprison you unless you disclosed the contents of all your pro-gay-rights speeches, Would you respect or trust the government?

                  All that other stuff was just superfluous.

              3. Of course not. But then that wouldn’t stop me from trusting somebody else.

              4. Respecting or trusting him, amongst people of integrity or goodwill, is beside the point. Respecting or acknowledging one another rights is what defines a civilized society.

          2. So the fact that gays have been discriminated against means that they are totally incapable of doing the same thing to others? yeah that makes sense.

            The gay threads always bring out the full stupid.

            1. no. it means that they have no respect for the system that discriminaetd againt them. can you tell me why they should?

              1. Maybe they shouldn’t. That however doesn’t make their position right or relieve anyone of good conscience of the duty to stand up to them.

                1. As someone who lives just outside the Houston City limits maybe I can shed some light on this subject.

                  The ordinance was never overly popular here. It was pushed through the city council much the same way Obamacare was using political payoffs and brute power.

                  The ordinance establishes an enforcement board that presumes guilt much like the civil forfiture laws some LEs use to steal money and the CA college sex consent laws. Local business people were the driving force against it, not the churches. The churches were mearly the method of collecting signatures, not the impetus.

                  If your professional office gets a job application from a lesbian with two toned hair, nose studs, and a neck tattoo, that might not be who you would want for your accounting firm. If she claims homosexual discrimination you are now guilty unless you can prove that her sexual orientation wasn’t the reason you didn’t hire her. Good luck with that. There will be some quick bucks made from pretrial setlements from that.

                  1. I’ve lived inside the loop now for over a year and this morning was the first time I even heard about this. I guess local news has SOME value after all?

                    1. Hey neighbor. Local news here operates much like the national news does. They’re pretty much lap dogs these days. They have no money to actually hire investigative people and just repeat what they’re told.

                      The Chronicle recentely sent out an internal memo telling employees they would no longer be providing coffee because the coffee budget was already spent for the year.They tried to solve their overall budget woes by raising the daily price to $1.50 per copy. So now even fewer people will buy one just to read day old AP stories. Idiots. Why are left wingers always so economically illiterate ?

                    2. I grew up reading the Houston Chronicle. There was a time it wasn’t so left wing. (sigh)

                  2. As to the petition.

                    Current city law has a formula for how many signatures are required for petitions to get on the ballot. The number needed was just over 17k. The petition had over 50k within the 30 day time limit. The City Secretary quit counting valid signatures around 19.5k knowing that with 30k still uncounted that they obviously had enough and certified the petition. (this next part I was told but don’t know if it is factual) The City Attorney and The Mayor called the Secretary into a meeting and made her add language to her certification that would invalidate the petition. They are her bosses. Back to facts. When asked if she were told to recount the signatures by the council ( who isn’t her boss) would she ? She said that no, she would not. That it would be a waste of resources as the petition obviously had more than enough legal signatures to qualify under city law. ( she has been City Secretary for decades under mayors of both parties and has an unempeachable record of non partisanship)

                    So anyay, just though I might fill in some of the blanks that Shackford left out.

                    It might be interesting for some of you to know that the mayor and gerrymandered Democrat Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee are both known to have stood behind the alter in numerous black churches here in Houston and given political speeches and that is a fact beyound dispute. So Goose, but not gander it seems.

              2. They have no respect for the system until it’s their turn to use it. Then everybody better respect it! And I’m not only talking about gays.

        3. Burn, strawman.

          Even people with awful political ideologies have rights that should be respected.

    2. John, it wasnt Homer, it was random woman on parole board.

      1. Okay. I haven’t watched that show in 20 years. But you know what I mean.

        1. Priorities.

          Getting The Simpsons references right is at the top of the list. Or at least, near it.

      2. Nothing good has ever come from unhappy Germans.

    3. Kind of reminds me of when Eric Holder was saber rattling about re-instating an assault weapons ban, Obama said he supported it, people cleared the shelves buying AR-15’s, and our local rag ran an article about the “imagined fears” of those gun nuts.

    4. I’ve said before – I don’t think you’d be able to fit a sheet of onionskin paper between the SSM movement and the “I want cake” movement.

      1. Yeah, no. It only looks that way because it’s become a progressive cause celebre, and progressives always see fit to make sure that people identify the few things they’re right about with everything they’re wrong about.

        Besides, my “ban heterosexual marriage” movement was going nowhere.

      2. If you define “SSM movement” as fascist progressives who make SSM part of their overall agenda, sure. If you just mean people who support legal recognition for whatever reason, not really.

        1. The non-fascists seems to be a rather small, voiceless part of the SSM movement.

    5. Or maybe being a minority means that you have to choose between being the target of government bullies or their justification for bullying someone else.

  2. This illustrates that these folks were politically involved and therefore the speech was not protected, according to Feldman.

    So, he is arguing that political speech is not protected? Derpity derp de derp

    1. Federal tax law says you can preach a Christian duty to help the poor, you can preach that those who ignore the poor are condemned by God, but you can’t say that a politician who wants to oppress the poor should be opposed in the political arena.

      So of course they should get to look at all sermons who see if the preacher crossed the line between pure religious preaching – which is permitted – and practical applications of that preaching – which is verboten.

      /sarc

      1. Mayor Anise Parker of Houston and gerrymandered Democrat CongressWOMAN ( thats they way her aides are made to say it when they introducer her) have on numerous ocassions given political speeches from the pulpit in some of Houston’s black churches on Sunday.

    2. It’s not the speech, but the church’s tax status that is not protected.

  3. What happened to that First Amendment thingy? I think it had something to do with the issues here.

    1. It was scrapped. It doesn’t help pols gain power and win elections

      1. Good riddance.

    2. No 1A for those who don’t pay taxes.

  4. The question in the lawsuit is whether signatures on a referendum petition are valid. I would think that the relevant issues in that case would be such things as: Were the signatures forged? Were the signers registered voters in the jurisdiction? Even if registered, were they ineligible to vote? Were the affidavits by the collectors of the signatures properly notarized? Even if the pastors were blatantly violating their 501(c)(3) restrictions by calling for the defeat of the mayor in the next election, on account for her homosexuality and her support for the anti-discrimination laws, it’s hard to see that as having any bearing on the validity of the signatures, or that the subpoenas are anything other than use of the law for purposes of harassment.

    1. Exactly all of that. They just want to find them saying anti gay things to leak to the media. That is all there is too this.

      1. Bullshiut, John!

        You know that the instructions as to how to gather/forge invalid signatures *had* to have been put out by preachers in sermons, because there is no way the wide-spread fraud could have been carried out otherwise!

        1. It would be fun to see the contents of all church sermons, along about election time.

          1. Can you imagine the shitstorm that would result if this sort of scrutiny was applied to urban churches in Philadelphia and Ohio with a predominantly black congregation?

          2. “It would be fun to see the contents of all church sermons, along about election time.”

            I saw one of the pastors being interviewed. He said he’d be glad to give the mayor all of his speeches, as long as, she would agree to read them out loud in public.

        2. Bullshit. First, if that in fact happened, you don’t need the texts of the sermons, you can just ask the people who were there. Second, there is no evidence or reason to believe that did happen. The standard for discovery is low but it does exist.

          Third, your premise is insane. It wouldn’t ‘have to be put out in sermons’. In fact an open public forum would be the last place you would put such information out. If you planned to forge the signatures you would do so with as small a group as possible forging signatures in private. You wouldn’t do it by telling the entire congregation in public how to do it. That would reveal your fraud to the world which would defeat the whole purpose of doing it.

          It never fails to amaze me how some subjects can make otherwise smart people stupid. You are not this dumb. You are just let this subject make you stupid.

          1. Pretty sure your sarc detector is need of a full rebuild.

            1. That’s what i was thinking.

              Cut him some slack though. John’s pretty sharp. He usually doesn’t miss those.

              The City Attorney justified his subpoenas by saying,and I paraphrase, ” some of the sermons were telecast so the information is out in the public anyway”..

              So go out in public and get them, don;t subpoena church sermons.

              Why, I bet even old Rev Wright would be against that.

              1. John’s no dope, but tarran is a frequent enough commenter that the sarcasm ought to be obvious.

                This is no comment on this case, but I find it odd that the sermons weren’t public anyway. Most Christian churches at least claim to be open to all, making their services more or less public events.

                1. They are open to that degree.

                  I’m not a lawyering kinda dude, but even I know this could set a terrrible precedent if allowed to procede.

                  I wonder which side the CnC would come down on this.

                  Do you think he would like to see his preacher, The Rev Wright, have to cough up some of his sermons that the CnC says he didn’t listen to ?

          2. It never fails to amaze me how some subjects can make otherwise smart people stupid. You are not this dumb. You are just let this subject make you stupid.

            Projection, thy name is John. Did you honestly think tarran was being serious?

            1. I actually did. If I missed the sarc shame on me. It appears I did.

              All I can say in my defense is that you can’t tell sarcasm anymore. People are just that crazy.

              1. All I can say in my defense is that you can’t tell sarcasm anymore. People are just that crazy.

                I can understand this; If I were to send you the stuff my ex-wife’s lawyer submits to the court on occasion, you would think it was out of some legal version of the Onion. Stuff like my holding down a full time 9 – 5:30 job instead of sponging off my parents as evidence that I am an unfit father.

                1. I can only marvel at your self-control to not skull fuck that lawyer.

                  1. The most stunning thing to me is that everyone acts like she is making an argument that isn’t insane. When I rise to power, in the bill mandating that people wear their underwear outside their clothes (so we can check), the punishment for the making-an-insane-argument variant of contempt of court will be an instant atomic wedgie administered by the bailiff (they will be required to take up powerlifting for just this purpose).

                    1. I can only imagine the insanity of the stuff you get from your ex. But it amazes me that more judges don’t just laugh at more of the insane shit that is presented to them and refuse to even consider it. Like when that non-sheep-fucking lawyer tried to sue Reason.

                    2. (they will be required to take up powerlifting for just this purpose).

                      You’re finally going to put Dunphy to good use?

                    3. Olympic lifting would be better – the atomic wedgie more closely resembles a power clean than a deadlift.

                2. Jesus Christ, tarran – good luck with your ex-bitch and her whiz-warlock on a the broomstick.

                  Sounds like beautiful people!

          3. Hey John, you know who this subject makes stupid? You. Because tarran was being sarcastic. But you’re so worked up that you couldn’t see that (rather obvious) fact.

            You might want to step back and take a breath. You’re practically hysterical.

            1. Yeah Yeah. He got me. I should have known better.

          4. John, I debated long and hard about putting in a 😉 at the end. Then my boss emailed me and I just clicked submit to deal with his issue.

            I regret leaving it out now.

            1. For the record, I think the subpoena is ridiculous, and that the law is an affront not to religious liberty, but all liberty. Property owners should decide how they set up their bathrooms. Period.

              1. This goes beyond bathrooms.

                This is mainly about the “civil rights enforcement board” with respect to hiring.

            2. You shouldn’t. I just missed the obvious.

            3. No you don’t, liar.

          5. John, I think you may need to recalibrate your sarcasm filter, because tarran’s post set mine a ringing.

            1. I am pretty sure it burned out about three years ago.

              1. Its simple really.

                The Onion is sarcasm. If its worse than that, its real.

                1. We really need a sarc font.

                  1. Does the typewriter text work

                    (trying to test the tags)

    2. I don’t know what the usual rules for issuing subpoenas are, but I definitely think the prosecution should at least have evidence pointing to the items being subpoenaed as relating to the crime. For example, if a number of church members have said “yeah, the paster talked about forging signatures this last Sunday”, then I could see a subpoena for the transcript of that particular sermon. But this just looks like a fishing expedition and I doubt there is any corroboration.

      1. The rules of discovery in a civil suit are usually fairly lax, but there has to be some connection to evidence that would be deemed relevant and admissible (or some tortured legalese amounting to that) in order for a subpoena to hold up. It’s not usually a high bar to cross.

        Your points are all quite valid. Unless the sermons in question were directly involved with the mechanics and requirements of the signature-gathering process, I don’t see how they would be in any way relevant to the lawsuit in question.

        In that way, the court might throw out this nonsense without ever reaching the constitutional issues, which is usually what they prefer to do.

    3. Could somebody explain to me which legal issue or claim these sermons would provide relevant evidence to support (or deny)?

      1. I don’t see any connection, personally. It’s clearly a form of intimidation.

  5. According to one of the linked articles:

    “The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.”

    So you see it’s a moderate bill. Sure it restricts businesses, but it’s limited to “businesses that serve the public.” Businesses that *don’t* serve the public have nothing to worry about!

    1. So you see it’s a moderate bill. Sure it restricts businesses, but it’s limited to “businesses that serve the public.” Businesses that *don’t* serve the public have nothing to worry about!

      Thank God.

      1. Businesses that *don’t* serve the public have nothing to worry about!

        Except staying in business.

    2. My city levies criminal charges. And a bureaucrat appointed by the mayor decides if you’re guilty or not.

      It hasn’t been tested, but it probably wouldn’t stand constitutional muster and would devastate local business if they ever tried it. And needless to say, if the police or a government office discriminates against me, they get an internal investigation.

  6. OK, here’s the thing:

    The most critical New Deal era case may be the forgotten case, US v. Butler.

    In that case, the pre-FDR-coup court held that you can’t use the extension of a government benefit to require a claimant to surrender an enumerated right.

    Had that precedent stood up, the kind of nonsense the city is undertaking here couldn’t be done.

    Basically the federal government has used the concept of non-profit tax status to neuter churches and abridge their free speech, free exercise, and free association rights.

    A church should not have to limit the content of sermons in order to protect its access to a government benefit (i.e. tax-exempt status).

    So what we really need to do is resurrect the Butler test. Somehow. It would destroy not only this nonsense but most of the administrative state, since you could no longer condition the extension of a business license on consenting to warrantless searches, for example.

    1. Better yet, you could just do away with income taxation (or just specifically corporate income taxation for that matter) and it would be a non-issue.

    2. Trading freedom of speech for a tax exemption is a bad idea.

      1. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not; the government should not be empowered to offer that as a trade.

        1. That’s what I meant to say.

      2. I wonder if a theoretical for-profit church would also get the labor reg exemptions that religious non-profits enjoy. If not they’d be opening themselves to a lot of discrimination lawsuits. Here again, the proper solution being to do away with the regs for everyone.

        1. Ask the Scientologists. They should know.

          1. The Church of Scientology International, which is the blanket organization, is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so they’d be able to get around that. Each individual local church of Scientology is an independent organization, but I imagine most of them organize as non-profits as well. Scientologists also don’t run afoul of any protected class groups (except maybe disabilities with the mental health thing), so even if they organized as for-profit entities they’d be less likely to expose themselves to as much risk as far as labor regs. There’s been a lot of exemptions written over time that christian (and presumably muslim and Jewish) non-profits take advantage of.

    3. That is exactly right. Everyone has a right to operate a place of public association be it a church or a business or whatever. The Government should never be able to require you to give up other rights as a condition of exercising that or any other right. Yet, that is exactly what governments do.

    4. Fluffy

      “Basically the federal government has used the concept of non-profit tax status to neuter churches and abridge their free speech, free exercise, and free association rights.”

      It seems to be a subjective type of nuetering.

      The Rev. Wright doesn’t seem to be under any sort of restrictions. There was a small movement around the time of Obama’s first election to investigate that church. IIFC a group of Baptist preachers came to Wright’s defense and pointed out that if you get the Feds to do it to him, then next they will be doing it to us.

  7. The correct response is for a bunch of people to say they are trans-mayors and take up residence at hizzonner’s.

    My Texas Ebola is causing me to free associate. I learned recently that in Italy after the Black Death, ships were required to wait in the harbor for 40 days before being allowed to dock. This was done so that any disease aboard would run its course and not be spread ashore, as the Black Death had been.

    This period of isolation was called quarantina. I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, a similar program of isolation could be used for airplane passengers that might have Ebola. All I need is a name for it. I’m thinking something that starts with a q.

    Intrigued readers may subscribe to my newsletter by clicking my handle.

    1. A WHO official said that a travel band would make it worse so I’m thinking something as old fashion as one of those “q ” things wouldn’t work either.

  8. TAX THE CHURCHES!!! TAX THEM HARD I SAY!!! //every progressive reaction to this story

    Amazing how there is always something shiny to distract them from the civil liberties issues that come up when government tries to force equality.

    1. It’s about revenge. It’s always about revenge, no matter how much they try to wrap their revenge in platitudes and post-hoc rationalization. We (their political opponents) have hurt them, and now we must pay for what we have done.

  9. The problem here is the abuse of the subpoena power, not that the specific victims in this case were churches.

    By making this a religious freedom issue, the likely solution will be a push to exempt church sermons from subpoena.

    This does nothing to solve the actual problem of misuse of the subpoena power and creates a new problem by giving religious speech special protections above and beyond non-religious speech.

    1. I don’t think these churches are saying that the local newspaper should cough up copies of all its draft articles or all the internal employee memos about which stories to cover.

      And I have no doubt that newspapers are secular!

    2. I think the subpoena is only abusive because it’s designed to intimidate the churches into thinking that the contents of their sermons will be used to challenge their tax-exempt status.

      If that wasn’t on the table, this subpoena would just be so much chaff.

      1. A judge shouldn’t have to spend any time analyzing the religious freedom or retaliatory aspects of this. It’s a textbook example of “chilling effect” on speech.

    3. What fluffy said. The problem here is not the discovery process. It is the government using that process as a way to intimidate its critics. This is about public officials trying to intimidate people who object to their actions.

      It really doesn’t have to do with gays. They could be pulling this stunt over a zoning dispute and it would be just as appalling.

      1. Would anti-SLAAP laws be applicable here? I’d roar to see the Houston City Council, and our Mayor, ‘who’s a lesbian, didn’t you know?’ on the hook for a large judgment.

        Seriously, no one ever criticizes Parker here for the idiotic things the City does, like have city roads that a mountain village in Mexico would think were fucked up (I need new shock absorbers every time I drive down Richmond, for fuck’s sake.), or building a bandstand/entertainment pavilion in a flood plain, or shut down entire city streets just for the hell of it. It’s always, “Isn’t she great? Aren’t we great, electing a lesbian?”

        1. Unlikely. Anti-SLAPP laws are typically brought as affirmative defenses in a lawsuit. In this case, the city government is the defendant.

          It’s possible that the anti-SLAPP statute would be raised in a challenge to the subpoena, but there would be any issue of damages or such.

          1. Having to go to court to contest the subpoena is prima facie damage.

          2. Thanks for the clarification, Chris. I suppose attorneys’ fees wouldn’t be suitable for damages? And cost of producing the sermons, or business records, I guess, even if tripled, wouldn’t make enough to make the suit worthwhile.

            I’d forgotten about that one, OneOut. What was the logic: failure to license the food-giver as a commercial kitchen or something?

        2. Don’t forget that our jihadist gay mayor also passed an ordinance that made it illegal to feed the homeless without government permission.

          I shit you not. You have to apply for, pass standards, and then pay for, permission to legally feed the homeless here in Houston.

      2. Yes, but the story is focussing the fact the critics being intimidated are churches, as though this would be okay if it was just happening to some regular person.

    4. creates a new problem by giving religious speech special protections above and beyond non-religious speech.

      The 1A kinda already did that.

      1. I disagree. The first amendment protects all expression, and protects religion even when it’s not expressed. The main thing the establishment clause does is forbid compelled speech, or compelled funding of speech through tax money.

        Not that any of that has ever worked.

        1. More or less true, but just by being specifically named religion gets elevated above other possible philosophical or ethical beliefs in terms of the protection it is afforded in the constitution. And of course, the meaning of the 1A has been parsed over the centuries to fit into the framework of the modern regulatory state, which otherwise violates pretty much the entirety of the 1A.

      2. I don’t think so. Religious practice is protected. Speech and press are also protected to exactly the same extent. The part about speech says nothing specifically about religious speech.

  10. “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the Equal Rights Ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

    Emphasis added. IOW, all presentations that contain any words like “he”, “she”, etc.

    1. the illuminati lizard men are a crafty bunch, arenthey?

    2. If they’d only switched to non-gendered pronouns like the trans-radicalists have been advocating, they wouldn’t have to hand over all their English language documents.

      1. It puts tithe money in the basket, or it gets the hose.

      2. Can you imagine the howling if a preacher did use non-gendered pronouns to refer to people:

        “Anti-discrimination laws shouldn’t be extended to gay people. If someone who is gay comes into your shop, you should be free to serve it or throw it out . . . .”

        1. I totally get why non-binary people are sensitive about pronouns, but using made up ones just feels silly. Ze/zir? Can’t we just do the singular “they” thing? At least that’s English.

          1. Oh, we’ve gone far beyond silly!

            1. Being non-binary is just a big ol’ ball of social awkwardness, and there’s really only so much they can do about it. Hiding in your house and avoiding situations where someone might throw a pronoun your way isn’t a great option.

              1. Developing the coping skills that most people learn before they graduate kindergarten so that being called by your biological sex by the 99+% of people who don’t share your affliction doesn’t send you into hysterics might be one possibility.

                1. I’ve never tried being that wrong before. Is it fun?

                  1. You need to spend less time on tumblr if you actually think it’s reasonable to get pissed off at strangers for calling you “he” when you are biologically XY or “she” when you are biologically XX knowing nothing else about you.

                    1. And you need to spend some time around actual trans people off of Tumblr if you think that hysteria is a normal reaction.

                    2. I was kind of going off your assessment here:

                      I totally get why non-binary people are sensitive about pronouns…

                      Hiding in your house and avoiding situations where someone might throw a pronoun your way isn’t a great option.

                      I’m not even entirely sure what position it is you’re arguing at this point. I’m saying, if you get to a point in your life where you are “sensitive to pronouns” to the point that it becomes too socially awkward for you to engage in day to day life you lost out on developing some critical life skills somewhere.

                    3. Retreating from society isn’t hysteria. For some people, it’s the only realistic option they have. And they don’t really teach you how to deal with being non-binary in kindergarten, or talking non-binary people, for that matter.

                      It’s just a fucking hard social situation for everyone, and telling them “You’re being hysterical. Toughen up and develop social skills” is a non-solution. They already *know* that, but it’s going to take years to get to that point.

                      The left wants you to think of transgenderism as a political issue, but it’s not. It’s a psychological and social issue, and how you decide to treat trans* people in your actual day-to-day life is worth 1000x more than whatever moronic civil rights bill they’re trying to pass this week.

                    4. Retreating from society isn’t hysteria.

                      That’s… a rather interesting take. I’m genuinely stumped as to what might qualify as hysteria in a world where literally retreating from society doesn’t. Here’s the thing: IMO, if you get to a point where you can’t function in society, for any particular reason, say from social phobia, to depression, to addiction, all the way to pronoun sensitivity, the problem is probably yours, not society’s. And regardless of how you want to unpack it, it’s going to be on you to figure out the solution and develop the coping strategies or treatments that will enable you to function.

                    5. I think we’re in substantial agreement.

                      One problem with talking about the trans* community is that if you’re binary and you can pass, you’re probably going to go out of your way NOT to be identified as trans. In other words, if you can tell they’re trans*, they’re probably still working on developing their coping mechanisms, because it takes a lot of time.

                      Remember that most trans* folks didn’t grow up dreaming of being in gender limbo, but got thrust into it as the least bad of many bad options, possibly after decades of depression and maybe attempted suicide. So it’s pretty reasonable to limit your social interactions when you’re trying to work through that stuff, especially if you have a huge emotional open wound like the possibility of being misgendered.

                      There are a few people who aren’t developing coping mechanisms because Tumblr tells them it’s the fault of the patriarchy and no, society should teach cishets not to misgender, but those people don’t represent the trans* community any more than Alex Jones people represent libertarians.

                      Anyway, people who rely on others to maintain their psychological integrity for them are a self-resolving problem. Dark, but largely true.

                2. To PM: Ohhhhhhhhhhh SNAP!

    3. Dude, stop being such a Cissy.

      1. lol

        He said Cissy.

  11. Related derp in my local paper:

    It is faith that should form a Christian’s politics and not politics that form a Christian’s faith. Many Christians allow politics to form their faith as evidenced in the October 9 letter entitled “Vote for Wendy.” Most American pastors fear to address this issue, but God does not and clearly addresses it in His word.

    In 2 Timothy 4:3 God’s word tells us of our current time, when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead to suit their own desires, will gather around a great number of teachers who say what their itching ears want to hear. Today those teachers fill too many American pulpits.

  12. cont’d

    Sin is between man and the God he serves and not for me to judge, but be assured when one supports a political candidate who openly supports gay marriage, and thus insinuates that God himself is a bigot for not accepting a redefined definition of marriage, there will be consequences to face. Whether gay marriage, taking the life of innocent unborn children, or openly and proudly going against any of God’s word as a candidate and supporter of that candidate, you have without question sinned against a Holy God.

    God will not let you hide in your pew, profess faith in Christ, and then openly support immorality in government. Many Christians by their vote are ignorant of the God Christians serve, but that ignorance will not save you. Not surprisingly before our current president put his approval on gay marriage, he consulted with his family, his gay staff members, and gay members of the military. It is unfortunate that our president is a man without faith, because the only consultation should have been with God himself. Proverbs 16:12 tells us that sound leadership has a moral foundation and that is why America’s leadership is resting on quicksand.

    OK, Flanders, whatever you say…

    1. oh didnt you know? in libertopia gays are the front for the freemason/rothschild conspiricay to brainwash americans who love jeebus after all if were not allowed to put superstition above logic and rational though than the lizardmen win

      1. The editorial writer may believe all that, but he neither said nor alluded to any of it in his editorial.

        1. yeah but if you just throw a lot of utterly unrelated strawmen together with no capitalization or punctuation and jesus and libertarians and libertopia and bigots and shit then you win all the internets

      2. And why are you dressed like Indianapolis Jones?

      3. Fuck you – I am a Mason, and we have other plans, you tool.

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

        /disappears in a puff of smoke

    2. Silly letter writer, I don’t think God is a bigot. I don’t think he gives a shit, because he has more perspective than you do.

    3. Let’s see:

      Proverbs 16:12, check.

      2 Timothy 4:3, check.

      Ok, in Exodus 21:20-21 God says, ‘Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.’

      Um, wait. Better not include that verse.

      1. While it’s obviously inarguable that christians are the worst type of hypocrites for failing to support slavery despite the teachings in their holy book on the treatment of slaves, it’s not even tangentially related to the topic of the editorial, so it’s somewhat understandable that it wasn’t referenced.

        1. I’m certain almost nobody would ever reference Exodus 21:20-21 in the modern US. That was part of my larger point that referencing verses from the Bible as an ultimate authority or speaking negatively about “going against any of God’s word” is, at the very least, problematic.

          1. I was assuming the piece was aimed at other believers, in which case the references make contextual sense (for whatever theological merit they may have — that’s definitely not the only view on the subject within the various christian churches). If you reject the authority of the source then obviously the argument is entirely unpersuasive, would be so regardless of any other chapter and verse, and there’s no reason to treat it otherwise.

            I would think that Exodus 21:20 probably doesn’t get much action these days because it has little or no relevance in the modern context. In 1850, say, it probably featured a lot more prominently in christian discourse, surrounding both sides of the issue.

            1. I thought it was a letter to the editor.

              If you think about it, a biblical verse could be used by a non-Christian (or a verse from the Quran by a non-Muslim, a quote from Ayn Rand by a non-Objectivist, etc.) if they supported the spirit or idea behind it. For example, somebody could invoke “treat thy neighbor…” and other sources with the same ideas to bolster their argument. It would, of course, be much more about the idea and not the source in such a situation. I think you are correct in that when biblical verses are more about the source and not the idea, then they would not be persuasive.

              I’m sure Exodus 21:20-21 was much more prominent in 1850. And I imagine that it’s not referenced today because God justifying the beating of slaves by their masters (within limitations) is a contradiction of most Christian conceptions of him.

              1. I guess what I was trying to say is that I don’t think the piece was intended to persuade non-believers. It seems geared to people within the church (I’m guessing it’s a small, religious-type community from Derp’s description). Of course one might invoke the bible in furtherance of an entirely secular argument, but there’s nothing in that piece that would speak to a non-believer on a secular level.

                In terms of christians writing off or justifying inconvenient bits, particularly of the old testament, you can find as many answers as there are theologians, really. Most run along the same lines of Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5, the tl;dr version of which is: Just because it was permitted by Moses doesn’t mean that’s the way it was intended. Monogamy is defended on the same grounds (based on those exact verses), despite it being nearly unheard of in the old testament.

          2. Eh, that’s like saying that all the prophesy about Jesus is problematic, because it doesn’t apply anymore. Being held accountable for beating your slaves to death was downright progressive for thousands of years. Just because there are snippets of the Bible that don’t apply to our current society very well doesn’t mean that they’re “problematic.”

            1. It would certainly be problematic if slavery were mandated by biblical doctrine, but I don’t think teaching on the “proper” treatment of slaves necessarily dictates that such conditions *must* exist.

              The world’s largest christian denomination has a limited view of biblical inerrancy and doesn’t subscribe to the “sola scriptura” doctrine either, so they can skate around pretty much anything they find inconvenient.

              1. It would certainly be problematic if slavery were mandated by biblical doctrine, but I don’t think teaching on the “proper” treatment of slaves necessarily dictates that such conditions *must* exist.

                I’m sorry, guys, but this is silly.

                If we take the Exodus / Judges narrative at its word, we have a people with direct contact with the omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving lord of the universe building a society from scratch with direct divine assistance at every stage, down to the level of sending them food to eat daily.

                In that circumstance you just can’t claim “Well, pre-existing social conditions limited what God was able to tell them was the Law.” That’s ridiculous. Their slavery in Egypt was a pre-existing social condition, and God wiped it out, using any method he needed to up to and including mass murder of innocents.

                When you claim to have a direct line of communication with God AND claim that God is sweeping your floors and changing lightbulbs when that needs doing, anything less than perfection proves you’re utterly full of shit. Their new society should have been perfect – at least in its legal construction. It should be without flaw. If getting by with no slaves would have been tough at first, manna from heaven should have continued to fall.

                1. All I was saying is that permitting something and mandating something aren’t the same thing, so you could make the argument that god’s tolerance of slavery by the Hebrews doesn’t necessarily mandate that slavery is a necessary condition for godly living, in which case it’s largely irrelevant today.

                  You’ll notice that god takes on a very different character in the new testament and the later christian narrative than he does in the old testament and the Jewish tradition.

                  1. A very different character? The New Testament ends with most of humanity dying horribly and/or going to hell.

                    Sounds a lot like Noah’s Flood to me.

                    1. I don’t know, a god that goes from commanding people to kill women and children and salt the earth behind them to commanding people to forgive, bless their enemies, and submit to persecution to the point where martyrdom becomes fashionable seems like he’s taken on some significantly different characteristics to me.

                    2. OK, but the Bible says god is unchanging:

                      Malachi 3:6 ESV

                      “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

                      Numbers 23:19 ESV

                      “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

                      James 1:17 ESV

                      “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

                    3. OK, but the Bible says god is unchanging

                      That should probably tell you something, which was kind of my point.

                    4. Huh?

                      You say the god of the New Testament is different. That means god changed. But the Bible says god does not change.

                      So which is it?

                    5. So which is it?

                      I couldn’t tell ya, you’re the one hung up on an unchanging god despite very clear differences in the Jewish and christian narratives.

                      The theological explanation might be that god didn’t change at all, but man’s perception of him through spiritual revelation did. The secular explanation might be that the hundreds or perhaps thousands of different guys who pieced together the Jewish and christian scriptures over the course of a thousand years had different thoughts and interpretations that morphed and changed significantly over time.

                2. No Fluffy. What is silly is assuming that having a direct line to God is somehow going to make the guy who has it perfect and enable him to both understand what God is telling him and also not just ignore it do whatever the hell he wants and pretend God told him that.

                  You are ignoring the possibility that man’s free will limits God’s ability to dictate events consistent with that. The universe of things that people are willing to listen to and understand, even when coming from God, may not include everything so as to make life perfect. Who is to say the Jews wouldn’t have told God to go fuck himself and not listened had God told them to free them?

                  Moreover, even if god could have told them to stop, who are you to say he was wrong not to? He is God and you are not. He understands the second order effects of things that your mind, not being God will never understand. Your claim that everything must be perfect at all times is childish in the extreme. Who says God has to live by your concept of perfect or isn’t able to act for a larger purpose that will include short term actions you don’t understand?

                  I am sure you kids think you are a brutish asshole for not letting them eat cake whenever they want. You sound the same way here.

            2. There thankfully were limitations–recovering after a day or two and not receiving permanent damage to the eyes or teeth. It might have been progressive compared to harsher practices. But it still wasn’t moral.

              The problem lies in the fact that God justified masters being able to beat their slaves–“since the slave is their property.” A kick to the ribs or a punch to the gut would have well fallen within those parameters. Justifying that behavior is simply abominable.

              Here’s the passage again. Exodus 21:20-21–“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

              1. It may be worth mentioning also that the Mosaic law includes both moral teaching as well as extensive civil law. It’s an all-inclusive set of rules for Hebrew society, and division of property is dealt with at length. Slaves being considered property, their treatment falls into the realm of civil law, which is why even the most orthodox Jews today reject slavery even as they stand by some of the more bizarre regulations.

                1. I don’t see how that fixes the problem. The problem is that God justified the beating of slaves. Whether it was moral, civil, ceremonial, or some other type of law is irrelevant to the fact that God justified the beating of slaves. Justifying and defending the beating of slaves is immoral.

                  1. It’s not really a “problem” to be “fixed”, just an historical note worth pointing out. The distinction between the moral and civil law is important in Judaism.

                    It’s somewhat amusing to me that you cruised right past, say, the whole stoning women for having a broken hymen on their wedding night thing, or the wholesale slaughter of military enemies down to the women and children, and got hung up on slavery like it’s the most unusual or immoral thing that god ostensibly wrote into the Mosaic laws. This is the same guy, btw, who demands that you burn dead animals and cut off bits of your penis in his honor. I’m still not sure what this argument is in service of. You’re upset that some pastor moralizing on how christians should inform their political worldview isn’t more rigidly devoted to slavery? Or for some reason you need to justify rejecting the biblical references he used in the course of his moralizing by pointing to other biblical references, as if that is going to convince him of the error of his holy book? His editorial isn’t something anyone who isn’t a christian should find persuasive. You don’t need any more reason than that.

              2. In context, it certainly reads like a rudimentary federalism. Remember, this is right after the Hebrews were freed from Egypt, and it was establishing community codes of conduct in an anarchic society. Beating your slave to death was considered a community issue (probably for the same reason we prosecute animal cruelty today) , beating a slave to the point of injury didn’t rise to the level of community concern.

                Note, my interpretation may not line up with many mainstream denominations… TBH, I don’t really care what they think. I believe the mosaic laws need to be interpreted through the lens of the society they were originally meant for. You see a ton of this type of interpretation in the new testament (it takes the form of “the ancient texts say_____, but how can you uphold that without_____?”

                1. @PM I thought you were trying to argue that the Bible is holy and inerrant. I was arguing against that with a specific verse that I think demonstrates the opposite. Stoning women and wholesale slaughter are also certainly good examples, but I’ve seen those rationalized many times. I haven’t seen the justification of slavery rationalized yet.

                  @trshmnster the terrible
                  In context, God justified and defended the practice of beating slaves within the limitations he set based on the fact that slaves are their masters property, which is the issue at hand.

                  A perfect being would not defend the beating of slaves owing to their status as property, which demonstrates the Bible is not divinely inspired. Simply because it happened several thousand years ago does not make the practice of beating slaves owing to their status as property justifiable.

                  In any case I have to go to work, so I won’t be able to respond until tomorrow if either of you wants to continue chatting. Cheers.

                  1. A perfect being would not defend the beating of slaves owing to their status as property, which demonstrates the Bible is not divinely inspired.

                    How do you know that? For you to know what the perfect being would or would not do necessarily implies that you know what the perfect is. If you don’t, then you have no idea what the perfect being would do.

                    Get back to me when you understand what the perfect is because I would like to hear about and so would every other person who has ever lived.

                    1. Two things, John:

                      1) For you to know what the perfect being would or would not do necessarily implies that you know what the perfect is… Get back to me when you understand what the perfect is

                      John, you have made the judgment that the deity of the Bible is a perfect being rather than an imperfect being. (I assume you believe the god of the Bible is perfect.) How did you make that judgment? Clearly we both have ideas of how to evaluate what a perfect being would or wouldn’t do.

                      For example, I assume we can agree that a perfect being would never forcibly sexually molest a child. Or do you think the god of the Bible would forcibly sexually molest a child, or that we can’t know if he would or wouldn’t?

                      2) Do you think it is moral to defend and justify the beating of slaves because of their status as property?

                  2. @PM I thought you were trying to argue that the Bible is holy and inerrant.

                    I wasn’t. I started out questioning the relevance of the verse you cited from Exodus to the editorial. You finally got around to the crux of your argument which is:

                    A perfect being would not defend the beating of slaves owing to their status as property, which demonstrates the Bible is not divinely inspired.

                    Which was pretty much what I figured. Needless to say, I doubt your argument would be any more convincing to the editorial writer than his was to you, for largely the same reasons, which is the point I was kind of hem hawing around. It’s also pretty circular, as John pointed out. It’s entirely possible that god’s conception of morality is different than yours. Maybe by your standards god is a real asshole.

                    1. In terms of “justifying” that particular verse, as I said earlier, the distinction in the civil and moral law is theologically significant, particularly from a Jewish perspective. From the christian perspective, I touched on that here. You’d probably also encounter the argument that the old law was fulfilled in christ, so that particular bit of legislation, like so much of the Mosaic law, no longer applies (christians also don’t observe any of the Mosaic dietary restrictions and ritualistic cleansing, for example).

                      Again though, it all comes down to: if you don’t believe in the authority of the bible then it doesn’t matter. You can reject it in whole for any reason or no reason at all. The people who believe in the authority of the bible aren’t going to be talked out of it, especially by that particular bit when there’s so many other atrocious pre-modern things you could easily raise as well. They believe it because of faith. Take it from Jonathan Swift: It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

                    2. The people who believe in the authority of the bible aren’t going to be talked out of it

                      PM, with due respect that is plainly false. Continuously, many people significantly modify religious beliefs, reject them altogether, or adopt ones from different religions. The reason I am no longer a conservative Christian is precisely because of talking to other people with differing viewpoints.

                      On a different note, if you’re interested in other Biblical atrocities, you can discuss them with others if you want. It’s also curious how you like to coyly argue different angles of an issue and then chide people for being confused by your intentions. I guess we all get our kicks differently.

                      Cheers.

    4. Theocrats are just a myth, like voter fraud.

      1. Every time it rains here, someone will write to the paper and say god did it.

        Eh, still better than Chicago.

    5. You dare call God a bigot!?? But, but, he has plenty of gay friends…

  13. Freedom of speech. Right of association. Free exercise of religion. All pale before the almighty right not to be offended.

  14. As pointed out on the Mike Church show this AM – he covered this extensively – piss on the 1A argument. “Congress” isn’t doing anything. The city of Houston is.

    Consult your Texas State Constitution….religious liberty, something something, free speech. It’s all there. These numbnuts have violated their own state constitution about a dozen different ways.

    This is going nowhere, and the pastors are right to tell them to “go engage in procreative activities with yourself, my child” themselves.

    PS Also – “I don’t write out my sermons. I do encourage you to join me next week, and you may make your own notes. I’ll save a seat in the first pew for you, Ms. Mayor.”

    1. I thought we had dispensed with the notion that state constitutions meant anything, because 14A or something.

      1. Yeah, what am I thinking – it’s FEEDGOV all the way down.

        Local…state….wha…???!

      2. The more I see about how the 14A is applied, the more convinced I am it should be repealed. The 15A and 13A can go along with it too, and we can replace them all with a simple ban on chattel slavery.

    2. Mike Church has apparently never heard of the incorporation doctrine.

      The First Amendment has everything to do with it, because it is deemed to be “incorporated” into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and therefore regulates state governments and their subdivisions (including municipalities).

      1. It is funny how the 1A which says “Congress shall make no law” gets applied to executive and judicial actions as well as legislative but the 2A which says “shall not be infringed” gets violated with impunity by the states and fedgov.

        1. Those are two separate issues:

          –the executive branch can only act with the limits of its legislative mandate, so any action that violates the First Amendment is either outside the scope of its statutory authority or calls into question the constitutionality of some statute or another.

          –I don’t know whether the Supreme Court has expressly ruled whether the 2A applies to the states through the incorporation doctrine, but I’m pretty sure that Heller and its progeny indicate that it does.

          1. There’s another view about this that Mr. Church has researched and published extensively. You might want to look into it. Today’s love with “incorporation” is not always to the benefit of freedom.

      2. Nope – you go with local law FIRST, then to the national law.

        Evvvvvvveryone wants to run right to 1A these days. What possibly could go wrong with that? Look at how it’s protected everyone’s rights so well!

        Nope, if it were me – I’m fighting this on a state level, and i win all day.

        1. Which is why Houston removed it to the federal court.

      3. The incorporation of the Bill of Rights (or incorporation for short) is the process by which American courts have applied portions of the U.S. Bill of Rights to the states. Prior to 1925, the Bill of Rights was held only to apply to the federal government. Under the incorporation doctrine, most provisions of the Bill of Rights now also apply to the state and local governments.

        So, yeah – since it’s been applied since almost 100 years ago, that’s, like, FOREVER. And that’s what was intended when it was passed.

        Except it wasn’t, and it’s part of what let’s FedGov apply “common sense restrictions” to firearms (like it has) and limit speech (see every rule re: election advertising, PACs and the like).

        So – you may be right, but I don’t think so, and there’s definitely another view about this I’d recommend that’s supported with better scholarship than the “penaltax” logic of the court in the 1920’s.

  15. “….these folks were politically involved and therefore the speech was not protected”

    Political speech is not protected? Ooooooh I get it. If the preacher gets caught pontificating politics from the pulpit he loses his tax exempt status. Still, in what way is this not an egregious violation of first amendment rights?

    I suspect this may come up again at a later date…..like election time for the mayor of houston.

    1. This is her last term in office.

      Houston mayors get up to 3 two year terms.

      That’s why she has gone jihadist gay mayor.

  16. I added a link to the pdf of the actual subpoena at the bottom.

  17. you know who else had a lot of gays?

    1. Your mother?

  18. “…these guys pushed beyond proselytizing to political activism that is inappropriate for religious nonprofits. It makes the city look like a bully that doesn’t actually have any faith that the ordinance it passed is supported by its own electorate.”

    Newsflash, the city IS a bully. Homosexuals, er, I mean gays, lesbians, LGBTs or whatever the f**k they’re calling themselves now, are some of the worst bigots on the planet.
    http://tinyurl.com/nt8jo7c
    http://tinyurl.com/oo7molx
    Let me get this straight: The leftwingnut government bullies are harassing conservative pastors, but no one demands that the Marxist, muslim terrorist supporting, racist, anti-Semitic, Jeremiah (“God damn America”) Wright, turn over his rancid sermons for scrutiny before he spews hate from the pulpit.

    The “Rev” Michael Pfleger, a good pal of Jeremiah’s, uses the pulpit for his own unique brand of similar hate filled rhetoric. No one has demanded that he fork over a copy of his diatribes.

    But they’re leftwing douchebags, so it’s okay.

    I wonder if any mosques and other radical muzzie organizations in the Houston area are scrutinized for the Islamofacist bullshit they preach, including jihad and the anti-gay violence they engage in, as proscribed in the Koran and the Hadith.

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