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Paul Hayden

Houston Should Be Ashamed

October 20, 2014

Houston should be ashamed of itself. I’m not talking about Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker or the city council that has backed her persecution of Christians (although they should definitely be ashamed of their actions, too). I’m talking about the majority of Houston voters who foolishly elected an openly homosexual activist as their mayor. And I’m referring to the Christians and Conservatives who failed to do everything in their power to prevent this travesty.
Houston is in Texas. I apologize for stating the obvious, but my point is that Houston is not in Massachusetts or California where you would expect that an open homosexual would be elected mayor of a major city. This “woman” did not keep her depravity secret. Houston voters knew that she had lived with her “partner” (whom she later “married”) for two decades when they elected her.
Worse, they knew from her own statements that she was going to make her lesbianism an issue in her administration. She was never going to be a mayor who happened to a homosexual, but was going to do her job. No, she was determined to be a lesbian mayor who would spend her time advocating for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues, and would work for the city whenever she could fit it into her schedule.
An article on a lesbian website describes Parker as “A very visible lesbian activist since the 1980s.” She actually started a homosexual student group at the college in 1979. In 1986, she was elected president of the Houston LGBT Political Caucus. Her entry into city politics was a minor election she won because she lived in a district that was primarily homosexual.
She appointed the nation’s first transgender judge. On the night she was elected mayor, she proclaimed, “Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the doors to history. I know what this win means to many of us who thought we could never achieve high office.” Who was the “we” that everyone thought could not “achieve high office?” Clearly, she was claiming her election as mayor as a major victory for homosexuals.
In a SiriusXM Radio interview on July 27, 2011, Parker stated that, “Texas has a long history of support for individual rights and freedoms.” Apparently she believes that those rights only extend to LGBT people, because today she is working full-time to trample on the rights of pastors, churches and Christians in general because they oppose her HERO bill.
Like many laws, the title of the “HERO Ordinance” is designed to confuse voters. A hero is someone who does good for others. Mayor Parker’s bill is evil. It would force women and little girls in public bathrooms to see men exposing themselves. In civilized cities men who deliberately expose themselves to children go to jail. In Houston, this mayor has made it a “right.”
In May, 2014 Parker rammed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) – also known as “The Bathroom Bill” - through the city council. It allowed men who are “confused” about their gender to use women's bathrooms, and vice versa. Obviously, it would also allow men who are simply lechers to pretend they are gender-confused and ogle these same women and girls in what should be a safe place.
Even if these so-called “transgender individuals” truly are confused about their sexual identities, why should they be allowed to invade the privacy of others? Why shouldn’t they just use their own restrooms? Why do they feel this perverse need to flaunt their sexuality?
Five local pastors mounted a successful campaign to gather 55,000 signatures to oppose the measure. This was more than three times the 17,000 signatures necessary to force the city to allow citizens to vote on a repeal of the ordinance.
The Houston City Secretary, who by law is the only individual with the authority to validate the signatures, did so. Then, at the order of Mayor Parker, the city attorney illegally inserted himself in the signature verification process, declaring the signatures invalid. This is Liberal Democrat politics at its worst. This is the sin of using political office to oppress rather than to protect the people.
The mayor and the city attorney (neither of whom had the legal authority to make any decisions regarding the petitions) claimed that some of the signatures were “illegible.” Let’s say they were right. (Although they weren’t.)  Let’s go even further and say that 50% of the signatures had something wrong with them. (Although they didn’t.) That would still leave 27,000 valid signatures – 10,000 more than the law required.
Clearly the mayor realizes that – even though Houston was dumb enough to elect her – they are not going to back her play on this ridiculous “Bathroom Bill.” If it goes to a vote, it will definitely be repealed. So they use illegal tactics like tossing out a legal, properly prepared petition from the people.
Their methodology is as old as Satan himself – lie, lie, and lie. They claim that pastors don’t have the right to engage in the political process. A pastor has the same rights under our Constitution as any other citizen.
They claim that federal law prohibits pastors from engaging in political discourse. The same people who claim falsely that the Constitution erects a wall of separation between church and state want the state to be able to break down that wall and regulate churches whenever it wishes.
Let me help you understand the elements of this situation:
First of all, in 1954, one of the worst US presidents ever, Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), was a Senator. He sponsored a bill that allowed the IRS to take away the federal non-profit status of a corporation if they engaged in electioneering. In other words, if they publicly supported one candidate over another, they would be in violation of this bill. Note that this is a federal bill – one not enforceable by a state, and particularly not by a city. Yet Houston’s mayor has taken it upon herself to enforce HER interpretation of a federal law.
Second, the law did not apply to the actions in which these pastors engaged. They helped get petitions signed to require a recall of a stupid and unconstitutional ordinance. There was no electioneering (encouraging citizens to vote for any elected official) involved.
Third, the 1954 law plainly violated the First Amendment. If paid public officials are allowed to support candidates on our dime, why shouldn’t private non-profits have the same privilege on their own dime? For instance, Obama has attended over 400 political fundraisers to support candidates (and, by the way, played almost 200 rounds of golf) – all paid for by taxpayers. Since it costs so much to transport and protect the president, we the people pay roughly $10 Million in costs for every $1 Million Obama raises. It would save millions of dollars if the US Treasury would simply write a check to the Democrat Party every time Obama gets an itch to go to a fundraiser.

Fourth, until 1954 pastors and churches were heavily involved in the political process. The reason LBJ pushed this unconstitutional violation of free speech through was that most churches were conservative, meaning they held to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. His Democrat Party enjoyed the ability to twist and bend the Constitution to their own ends, hence their desire to muzzle churches.
I will give you just two examples of how politically involved churches have been in our history, to the benefit of the nation. (There are dozens of other examples.)  Our country would still be a colony of England were it not for the pastors of America who not only advocated for revolution from their pulpits, but also led their local militias to war against the redcoats. (See LINK below to my article, “The Black Robed Regiment.”) Both white and black pastors led the fight for civil rights in America. If the IRS had been harassing churches about being involved in politics back then, who knows how severely it would have hindered the progress of Black Americans?
Fifth, the selective persecution of these pastors by this horrible mayor is worse than unconstitutional – it is unconscionable. What right does she have to demand any private communications between them and their members in which her name was mentioned? Does she think she is a god whose name can only be uttered in reverence? And what right does she have to demand that they turn over their sermons? For one thing, it is obvious she has never been in a church before. I have heard literally thousands of sermons, and except for a handful of preachers, none of them write out their sermons word for word. The great majority of preachers have an outline and a list of Scriptures, and then they speak from their hearts as the Spirit leads them. The only reason this evil person is demanding the sermons is to intimidate the churches and their pastors.  
Finally, the only institution in America that the federal government seems to fear is the Christian church. A sizeable  majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Although there has been a systematic attempt by Democrats to destroy them, our nation’s traditions and roots are clearly Christian. Even the US Supreme Court declared in 1892 that “We are a Christian nation."  In 1931, it ruled that “We are a Christian People.”
So guess how many times American pastors have spoken publicly about politics and endorsed candidates as their consciences dictated? Tens of thousands of times. (Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama all appeared in dozens of church services stumping for candidates, and even passed the plate for political donations.) And guess how many times churches have lost their tax-exempt status as a result of these actions? NEVER. There has not even been an attempt to do so by way of any legal action whatsoever. They attempt to intimidate us, to make us believe they will do it, as Mayor Lesbian has done. But it has never happened.
I predicted homosexual activism like this years ago. In 2001 I wrote an article titled, “Pastor Arrested in Pulpit for Preaching Homosexual Acts Are Sin.” In 2003 I did a column called, “Minister Arrested for Refusing to Marry Homosexual Couple.” Both were fictitious, of course, designed to draw attention to the fact that these things were in our future unless we elected moral people who respected the Constitution.
Since then, similar atrocities have been committed by the governments of other nations, close friends of the US. In London an American pastor was arrested for preaching that all sex outside of marriage was sin – not just homosexual sin. In Canada a pastor was arrested in his pulpit during a church service by government thugs, not for expressing his opinion about the sinfulness of men lying with men, but for simply reading what the Word of God said about the subject.
I predicted that these things would happen in the US, and now we see it unfolding in Houston. The five pastors who led the coalition of 400 churches that collected the petitions have been subpoenaed to turn over to the city all sermons, lectures and communications with their church members that discuss homosexuality, gender identity, or Mayor Annise Parker. If they refuse to do so, they have been threatened with arrest.
Think about what this means. Private communications with church members, including emails and text messages, have been subpoenaed. The city would be allowed to snoop through private discussions about personal matters with their pastors if the messages contained any reference to homosexuality, the petition drive, or even the mayor’s name. How far down the road to totalitarianism have we gone when a pastor cannot even mention the name of his mayor? (Actually, perhaps that’s not so bad. In my research for this article, her name has become a curse word in my mind.)
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has written Houston City Attorney David Feldman, declaring the city's action unconstitutional. He urged him, in rather harsh terms “to "demonstrate the City's commitment to religious liberty and to true diversity of belief by unilaterally withdrawing these subpoenas immediately."
Clearly, the City of Houston intends to use these subpoenas to intimidate the pastors. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a motion to stop the subpoenas, calling them "over broad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious." Attorneys suspect the city hopes to find evidence with which to label the pastors as anti-gay bigots.

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said he hopes pastors across America will rally around fellow pastors and shine the light on this "obscene" violation of religious liberty and freedom of speech. “I'd like to see literally thousands of pastors, after they read this story, challenge government authorities - to dare them to come into their churches and demand their sermons."

I would like to close this article with a plea to pastors all across this great nation. (If you’re not a pastor, don’t stop reading now; make sure your pastor reads this article). You may not have heard of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. This is a day when tens of thousands of pastors stand boldly in their pulpits and proclaim the truth about politics as they see it in the Word of God. For instance, if the pastors of Houston had been doing their jobs when Parker ran for mayor, they would have made sure that their congregations knew she was a practicing homosexual who would cause great harm to their city (as she has done).

Some pastors know about Pulpit Freedom Sunday, but have allowed fear to overcome their sense of duty to the Word of God. Some believe that they would be violating the law if they participated. No law can overrule the Constitution, which gives you the same freedom of speech as every other citizen. Finally, some are fearful of losing their non-profit status. To this I say, “So what?” If your people are giving to get a tax deduction rather than because the Word of God commands it, tell them to keep their money. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” He did NOT add, “If the IRS grants it tax-exempt status."

The official Pulpit Freedom Sunday was October 6. But you can make this Sunday Pulpit Freedom Sunday in your church. In fact, this Sunday or the following one would be great days, as they are the last two Sundays before the elections. Many Christians have a shameful record of failing to vote. We have a chance in this election to put righteous men and women in office. Do your research, and vote on Election Day, November 4.

I will borrow my closing paragraph from an email I received from the Family Research Council:

“Pray that God awaken pastors across America to realize that they can no longer look the other way from abuses by civil authorities who openly violate the "unalienable rights" of religious liberty and free speech guaranteed every American! May America's pastors stand up to bullies that seem to be multiplying from local, state and federal government (Ezekiel 3:8-11, 17-21; 33:1-19; Acts 4:17-21; 5:29; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Revelations 12:11).”
(NOTE: I should not have to do this, because I have explained my position on homosexuality in the past. But I will do so again for the benefit of new readers. I am not homophobic. I have no fear of homosexuals, which is what that word means. I believe, according to the Word of God, that two women or two men engaging in sexual relations of any kind is sin. But so is any other sex outside of marriage. Homosexual sex is no worse than adultery or fornication, which is sex between two unmarried people. Does the fact that some states have allowed homosexuals to marry change my opinion? Not in the least, because the Bible does not recognize such “marriages.” Finally, if someone has homosexual tendencies, or is attracted to the same sex, is that sinful? No, unless they allow themselves to dwell on such attractions and commit the sin of lust. If they do, it is no more or less sinful than a man lusting after a woman or vice versa. In short, any sexual activity that takes place between anyone except one man and one woman who are married to one another is sin in the eyes of God and the Bible.)
Pulpit Freedom Sunday
The Black Robed Regiment
Texas’s Attorney General’s Harsh Rebuke to Lesbian Mayor
Unconstitutional Spying on Churches
National Outrage – Petitions to Stop Persecution of Christians Flood Mayor’s Office
Texas State Official to Lesbian Mayor: “Stop Bullying Pastors”
Lesbian Mayor Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons and Private Communications
Don’t Mess With Texas
Stories from Pastors Who Have Exercised Their Freedom of Speech
Obama Democrat Fund Raising Events Paid for by Taxpayers

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Copyright ©2014

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

“Dr. Tom,” as his readers and followers affectionately refer to him, has a passion for teaching, as you can see from his ministry website (www.ChristianFinancialConcepts.com); his patriotic site (www.ConservativeTruth.org); and his business site (www.GoldenArtTreasures.com). Tom's friend Dr. Lance Wallnau wrote of him, "Tom Barrett is a Renaissance man with a passion for subject matter ranging from finance to theology and American history."
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