A recent news report dealt with a controversy in Houston Texas. The short version of the story is that Houston passed an ordinance that dealt with access issues for transgender people. There was an effort to overturn the law that included the gathering of thousands of signatures on petitions in order to get the issue on a ballot. The concern people have is that the law would allow a man to dress up as a woman, claim to have gender identity issues and then have the freedom to go into any womans restroom, locker room, sauna, you name it and stare at women and young girls.
A coalition was formed to gather the signatures which according to reports were more than enough to get the issue on the ballot. However the city attorney in cooperation with the mayor tossed out the petitions. The coalition then filed suit against the city. The cities response was to subpoena the sermons and a host of other material from four pastors who were also part of the coalition. The Attorney General for Texas made it clear that the city had overstepped its bounds and the subpoena needed to be withdrawn. Fears of free speech, freedom of religion, government intrusion, and even corruption were quickly fanned into flame. The mayor’s office has since backtracked on the issue and is going to limit the scope of the subpoena to documents, emails, text messages and other communication related to the ordinance and petition.
You can read more about the issue here. Houston Sermons
I don’t want to get into all the constitutional issues, the fact that the ACLU has expressed their concern in favor of the churches speaks to how significant these issues are. I look at this from the point of being a local pastor who preaches and teaches. My response is simple. How many copies would you like? Do you want printed only or audio and video? Anything sermon I preach is available for anyone who wants to read it, watch it, listen to it. Why would I not want them to have them? I understand that it feels like government bullying. But didn’t Jesus say this is what we should expect? Didn’t he also say that we are blessed when people treat us this way?
For me this just looks like a win/win situation. It is a win because some government official would be taking in the content of the Gospel that I preached and you never know what could come of that. It is another win because Jesus says I just got blessed by having someone come against me and the Gospel.
I am kind of thinking I might want to move to Houston and expand the reach on my audience to City Hall. 😉