Marv Knox, Editor of the Baptist Standard, says, ‘Houston Subpoenas Are Doubly Disturbing’

Editor Marv Knox
Editor Marv Knox

Houston Mayor Annise Parker might be in the running for the next Nobel Peace Prize for accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Her honor’s administration inadvertently gathered fundamentalist and liberal Christians, Muslims and Jews, and even Baha’is and Baptists in one accord. They’re together. Solid. United.

Of course, Parker’s prize would go down in history as the “ignoble Nobel.”

Her administration subpoenaed five pastors who opposed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance—HERO—which adds sexual orientation and “gender identity” to protections guaranteed in the city’s laws.

Most controversially, the new ordinance says, “It shall be unlawful for any place of public accommodation or any employee or agent thereof to intentionally deny any person entry to any restroom, shower room, or similar facility that is consistent with and appropriate to that person’s expression of gender identity.” In other words, it would allow people to select restrooms based upon their “gender identity,” not original anatomy.

Opponents petitioned the city for a voter referendum on the new anti-discrimination protections. The city rejected their endeavor. Then some opponents sued, claiming the city wrongfully quashed the referendum.

Five pastors subpoenaed

Along the way, the city subpoenaed the five pastors—none of whom are litigants in the suit—demanding they turn over “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.”

Pastors, rabbis, imams and people of many faiths howled. As well they should.

Opponents ranged from the left—author Rachel Held Evans and Interfaith Alliance President Welton Gaddy, both supporters of homosexual rights—to the right—Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore and Alliance Defending Freedom leader Greg Scott. Of course, politicians raised Cain.

Despite the outcry, enforcement of the Houston subpoenas does not seem likely.

To begin with, the mayor and the city attorney backpedaled when the subpoenas stirred up a storm.

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Source: The Baptist Standard | Marv Knox

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