Earlier today, Houston’s mayor, Annise Parker stated on Twitter that the sermons of the churches that were subpoenaed were “fair game” if the “pulpits” were used for “politics.” Apparently, Parker believes that to oppose a city ordinance related to equal rights is to engage in partisan politics, which in her mind is prohibited for all tax-exempt churches under current IRS regulations. However, if Parker truly opposes that idea of partisan politics in the pulpit, wouldn’t she have also included the churches in the Houston area that openly promoted and supported the ordinance? Churches like Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church ( http://www.resurrectionmcc.org/?attachment_id=2076 ) that publicly promoted the ordinance through campaigns like this one on their website:
Or a church like Grace Lutheran Church ( http://www.gracelutheran-houston.org/2014/05/we-need-hero.html )
Based on a relatively brief perusal of LGBT-friendly church websites in the Houston area, many churches publicly championed and the celebrated the ordinance. Some even gave instructions on how to get involved with the passage of the ordinance. Personally, I believe they should have the right to do so, even if I vehemently disagree with what they are championing and promoting. That is point of the First Amendment.
So here’s the question again: If opposition to the ordinance is a matter of partisan politics, wouldn’t promotion and approval of the ordinance by implication also qualify as an example of partisan politics? Would not promotion of the ordinance demand the same degree of scrutiny that the opposition is now receiving from the mayor? I mean, what’s the point of laws and regulations if they cannot be practiced without discrimination?
Mayor Parker’s neglect to pursue legal action against those who used their churches to foster support for an ordinance about “equal right” is ironically the very the definition of discrimination and hypocrisy.
Parker obviously has no problem with churches that she agrees with or that give her a platform. This is clearly demonstrated in her participation in events like those held at First Congregational Church of Houston on the matter of sexuality.
It’s just the churches that don’t agree with her that she refuses to tolerate. Regardless of where one stands on the matter of the city ordinance itself, the bullying techniques of the Mayor and the City of Houston to attempt to silence opposition are a glaring abuse of power and should concern everyone that cares about religious freedom, tolerance, and discrimination.