One of the concerns that has been consistently expressed about the rise of LGBT rights is that this will suppress religious rights. “Nonsense,” detractors have said, “that will never happen.”
This week’s events in Houston rather prove that, in fact, the LGBT agenda will have chilling effects on free exercise of religion. The city of Houston subpoenaed the sermons of churches in response to the church’s opposition to opposition of an ordinance designed to allow access to either male or female restrooms depending on personal preference.
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 HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”
From my perspective, all restrictions on pulpit ministry should be dropped. It is a restriction on free speech. I realize that this is not the law of the land, but it should be.
Why should we tell pastors they cannot organize politically? Pastors were involved in organizing the American Revolution. They led the way in the fight against slavery. They were (and are) advocates of civil rights (ever heard of the Baptist Martin Luther King?). Through all of these events the pulpit was a powerful political force. The past few years have shown a full retreat on the mix of politics and pastoral influence. I am not sure that’s an altogether healthy thing. Perhaps it’s time for the pendulum to swing back the other way.