Faith Driven Consumer launches #HoustonWeHaveAProblem Campaign at www.HoustonProblem.com
Houston, we have a problem.
In a move that should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American on both sides of the political aisle, the City of Houston has issued subpoenas to a group of pastors demanding that they turn over their sermons, speeches and email communications with congregants referencing homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s openly lesbian mayor.
Why this bullying by government officials into the affairs of the pastors and their churches?
Back in May, the Houston City Council passed an equal rights ordinance that extended “protected class” status upon sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of city contracting, housing, public accommodations and private employees. Known as HERO, this law allows males who self-identify as females to use women’s restrooms—raising legitimate safety concerns for women and children in restroom and change room settings. In addition, faith-driven employers who object to the normalization of homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism are now forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs in order to do participate fully in the marketplace of goods and services.
Understandably, many faith-driven Houstonians were concerned with this new law. Led by a coalition of 400 local pastors, they exercised their rights as citizens and gathered more than 50,000 petition signatures—nearly three times the 17,269 required—calling for a referendum to allow voters to weigh in on the ordinance and overturn it. Although the city secretary certified the results, other officials threw out the petition in August due to alleged signature irregularities.
In response, a lawsuit was filed by the coalition. And city officials struck back with the subpoenas—even targeting pastors who are not part of the lawsuit.
Ironically, this alarming breach of religious liberty comes during the month of October – declared by Mayor Parker herself as “National Bullying Prevention Month in Houston.”
In a society like ours that values equality—including the notion that everyone has the right to publicly express deeply held beliefs without fear of persecution or reprisal—it is unacceptable for pastors to be bullied and intimated into silence, particularly at the hands of government officials.
Take a moment now to sign our petition to the City of Houston and let them know that pastors and people of faith—who are a significant part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity—share the same fundamental rights as other groups.
As Faith Driven Consumers, we are blessed to live in a nation endowed with a First Amendment that protects freedom of speech and religion. And we are blessed to live in a rich, diverse society where dissenting viewpoints, open discourse and tolerance for those who hold differing beliefs makes us stronger as a nation.
Pastors have been at the very heart of American society since even before our founding as a nation. They were leaders in the fight for every great moral cause—including American independence, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, child labor laws and civil rights. Even today, pastors remain an integral part of the lives of untold hundreds of millions of Americans—advocating and articulating biblical truth on issues like abortion and the redefinition of sexuality, marriage and family.
With ur First Amendment freedoms are increasingly under threat by those who seek to marginalize faith-driven viewpoints on the great issues of our day, Faith Driven Consumers are being called like never before to stand up for our biblical worldview and values in the marketplace of goods, services and ideas.
Share with your family and friends, sign our petition today and make your voice heard.
If not on this issue, then which? If not now, then when?