The Texas legislature is poised to take up proposed legislation that would shield sermons from government interference.
A church pastor’s sermon is free speech but not necessarily protected from government interference. Five pastors in Houston found that out the hard way, and state lawmakers will now take up the issue in a new legislation.
Senate Bill 24 is being called the Sermon Safeguard Bill. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says he is planning to push the legislation that is designed to keep messages preached in church from finding their way into court around social and political issues that shape our society.
Whether it’s the theology of Conservative Evangelicals like Pastor Robert Jeffress or the Liberation Theology of pastors like Freddie Haynes, church and state sometimes collide.
“None of the prophets that religious traditions honor would be welcome today if we’re going to have some kind of test as to what’s okay to say and what’s not okay to say,” said Haynes, pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church.
In 2014, Houston’s former mayor attempted to subpoena sermons of pastors who preached against that city’s equal rights ordinance.
The Texas legislature will take up Sermon Safeguard Bill that would prevent sermons from being subpoenaed.
“If we let the government begin the process of trying to control speech in the church, that is a dangerous step — not only for the state of Texas but for our country,” Patrick said.
“We have protesters. We have people who hate what we do,” said Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas. “But guess what? The First Amendment protects all kinds of speech — even biblical speech that people find offensive.”
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SOURCE: KRIV FOX 26 Houston