Houston Mayor Annise Parker made national headlines last week when it was revealed she subpoenaed the sermons of local pastors.
Following a brutal battle over a city ordinance which many believed was an egregious encroachment of local government into the territory of religious freedom, Parker, Houston’s first openly gay mayor, subpoenaed the full text of sermons mentioning her name or anything having to do with homosexuality.
Right leaning citizens weren’t the only ones to shirk from Parker’s drastic and seemingly vindictive actions. The ACLU and other liberal leaning organizations expressed grave concern with Parker’s unprecedented overreach.
The ACLU said in a statement, ““While a lot of things are fair game in a lawsuit, government must use special care when intruding into matters of faith. The government should never engage in fishing expeditions into the inner workings of a church, and any request for information must be carefully tailored to seek only what is relevant to the dispute.”
Following blowback, Parker announced the City of Houston would clarify the subpoenas which were, “too broad.” “We are glad that Mayor Parker has acknowledged that subpoenas issued in ongoing litigation were too broad and that there is no need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston. There was no need to include sermons in the subpoena in the first place,” said the Texas Chapter of the ACLU.
According to the Christian Post:
“A liberal advocacy group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, also expressed concerns about the subpoenas. In a statement to Religion Dispatches, Director of Communications Rob Boston said the actions have the appearance of a “fishing expedition.”
“I’m not surprised that the pastors are resisting the subpoenas, and, assuming there is not more to this story than has been reported, I think they might be successful,” he added.
Perhaps the severe backlash Parker received will deter others from similar actions in the future.
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