Roman Revival 3: Houston

I’ve published more in the past week between two blogs than I have in some of my slower months. And while I have addressed the subject of homosexuality in the past it has never been a major theme of this blog, so why such a flurry of activity now? The answer is two recent news stories, of which you are likely aware of, one of which you are likely unaware of. By now, we have all seen articles or heard news stories about pastors in Houston having their sermons and all correspondence on the subject of homosexuality subpoenaed by the city mayor over a lawsuit by the city’s office to block a petition from the ballot despite the fact that the petition had more than enough signatures.

Most of the discussion, bizarrely, has focused on the subpoenas for sermons. While in a sense, this appears to be an attempt at intimidation (though the mayor of Houston has backed off from this point), this is not the most severe element of this attempt to subvert religious freedom. After all, sermons in most churches in this country are public discourses – we want the lost to hear what the Bible says in hopes that they will be converted. Most churches make their sermons available on the web so that anyone can download them. Some have also noted that this is possibly a typical discovery motion, and perhaps this is the case, though the use of subpoenas for information that would otherwise be freely available does indicate (but does not prove) this is more than just discovery, and may be an attempt to intimidate Christians.

The bigger problem is the blanket request for all correspondence on the subject of homosexuality. After all, this would include not only political correspondence, but also letters and e-mails that would under clerical privilege. This would include letters involving sensitive family matters as well as letters being sent to those who are in counseling, and are honestly struggling and seeking through Christ to overcome the sinful nature of homosexual attraction. In short, even the seemingly more reasonable steps taken by the mayor’s office still leaves in place the central problem with these subpoenas.

Ultimately, perhaps, there is a connection between the situation in Houston and the fact that Houston has a homosexual mayor. The mayor may want no reminder to her conscience that her life is one that will bring her ultimately before the God she is actively seeking to suppress. Perhaps the ultimate issue she has with the churches in her city is not one of their obstacle to her political agenda, but rather to the prick these men of God present to her conscience. Either way, the fact that privileged correspondence is being sought by the city is something that as Christians we ought to protest.

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