The late great Art Carney, who rose to fame for his comedic portrayal of Ed Norton in Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners television show, also had a flare for drama. I recall one role in which he played a character being told by the police that they they had a right to search his house without a warrant. His response has always stayed with me: “Not unless I made a mistake this morning and woke up in Russia instead of the US. !” That is precisely my reaction to this story that Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports on:
The city of Houston has fought a pitched battle to enforce its equal-rights ordinance, but in an ironic twist, they may find themselves afoul of the First Amendment for doing so. The ordinance has come under fire from a number of quarters, but perhaps none more determined than Christian pastors who see the law as a threat to their ability to preach. They have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the law, and city attorneys in turn demonstrated exactly why they feared this in the first place:
Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists that have sued the city.
Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case’s discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, “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.”
Pastor Hernan Castano received a subpoena and believes his sermons are protected by the First Amendment.
“For a city government to step into churches and ask pastors to turn in sermons, it’s gone too far. This is not what America, the nation is about,” he told Eyewitness News. …
Some signatures were acquired at churches which make the sermons fair game, according to City Attorney Dave Feldman.
“If they choose to do this inside the church, choose to do this from the pulpit, then they open the door to the questions being asked,” Feldman said.
Again, that argument might work for issues about the petitions, and possibly even the mayor, if it was tied to their tax status and electoral activities, assuming the city could assert jurisdiction on those points. Those topics might be defensible in a discovery demand, too, although that would come from a court motion rather than a subpoena from the city attorneys. But when it comes to their positions on LGBT issues and “gender identity,” that’s a different kettle of fish.
Go here to read the rest. The forces of tolerance will have us all tolerant of them, and only them, if they have to make a police state and enslave us all to do it.