This Isn’t America

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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.

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  1. I do NOT judge the sinner for I am a sinner too. I do not discriminate against nor persecute anyone due to sexual orientation or other reasons, nor do I exhort for the same. In fact, I have worked with many persons of same sex attraction without one single instance of an issue or problem, and I once even lived with such a person (we shared an apartment many years ago, and no, I was never homosexual). I would be aghast and angry if anyone ever hurt my friend for any reason, whether because of his sexual orientation or not. I do not have to agree with his behavior in order to respect him as a human being created in the image and likeness of God.
    However, adultery, fornication and sodomy are all sins. Having been an unmarried submarine sailor on liberty in the brothels of the Caribbean some 25 years ago, I committed one of those three sins in my misspent youth. That behavior was sinful, so I cannot excuse myself. If I am unrepentant in any such behavior, then I prevent myself from going to Heaven. That is what the Bible says. That is what the Catechism says. All that had to come out at Confession. The other two sins are no different. Perhaps I should have been more explicit with my homosexual friend instead of being afraid to hurt his feelings. Perhaps the City Council of Houston ought to be given a Bible to read.
    Again, I do NOT hate or discriminate against same-sex persons. I just want them to leave the Sanctity of Marriage alone. I do not deny them the right to make contracts between themselves, or share health and life insurance, or to live in a place of their own purchase or rent, or to have the same job that I have. And if any of them asked for help in the normal things of life (e.g., to change a tire or move some furniture or whatever), then I would gladly do so. Nevertheless, I simply am unwilling to renege on what Sacred Scripture says. I may fail that Scripture, and often do. But my failure does not nullify its truth.

  2. Subpoenaed sermons!
    Pastor Castano is right, it’s gone too far.

    Cristeros war was not long ago or far away. Just southwest of Huston Texas about ninety years ago. The ruthless government hell bent on crushing religious freedom did meet with resistance.

    Deer hunters are preparing for another harvest. They can shoot straight. They still have their weapons Thank God!

  3. One of the downfalls of living in a city with a robust economy like Houston, is that it attracts job seekers from all over the country including blue states. Harris County has historically been a conservative stronghold in a very conservative state, but sadly this is no longer the case. Hence, we’ve had to deal with an incompetent, out of the closet lesbian mayor now for six years. I knew it would only be a matter of time before Mayor Porker and our flaming liberal city council went too far. Let us hope and pray these lawsuits are successful.

    Galloping ignorance, Robin, the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Ghost writers in the sky…unratifying the Fifth Amendment.
    The woman is ignorant of her peoples’ desire to worship God by sharing the word of God, hearing the sermons prepared about God and God’s design for his people. Conflating the act of sodomy with the person, any person, is really stupid, the expressed deed of a nincompoop or an imbecile, up one from the idiot.
    Hatred of sodomy is normal for a nation who will have their legacy of freedom handed down to their posterity and a nation of people, “We, the people” who will profess their gratitude for having been brought into existence by their ancestors, grateful for having been begotten in freedom and liberty.
    Speaking of God, writing of God, public and peaceable assembly for God, is the freedom and liberty “We, the people…” hand up to our yet to be conceived posterity.
    Free speech and free press, the writing of thoughts onto paper, for the intent to; first: worship God and secondly: to edify and inspire the worshippers to worship God and exercise their First Amendment civil rights is the finest expression of good will and patriotism. Condemning no person, the sermons are given to save the persons’ souls from addiction to evil and immoral acts. The priests’ sermons are delivered to the assembly in church and are public domain only through the assembly. In other words, If Mayor Annise Parker wants to censor somebody for hate speech, it has to be her constituency who attended the church services… IF she can prove that they exercised their free will hating.
    Also, there is the Fifth Amendment that frees any person from testifying against him/her inclusive self. The principle of separation of church and state so loved by Thomas Jefferson and John Henry Cardinal Newman is being trashed and trampled by the hooves of galloping ignorance.

  5. ““We have buried the putrid corpse of liberty.” Mussolini 1937.”
    Mussolini, Mr. and Mrs., were dragged through the streets by their feet and hung upside down in the public square where everyone whom they had injured took a bat their putrid corpse of fascism, communism, tyranny and subjugation of citizens and free men.

  6. 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.

    Technically, that’s wrong – discovery demands would at least initially come from subpoenas from City attorneys. The court would only get involved if the persons subpoenaed objected to the discovery requests, and the City attorneys filed a motion to compel responses.

  7. Yeah, likewise in Illinois the Courts do not get involved in either discovery or the issuance of civil subpoenas unless one side has an objection or seeks to compel compliance. I can’t even imagine the arrogance of the city attorneys thinking they can subpoena sermons and that there would not be fallout from an effort to do so.

  8. Well, the Relatio did say that homosexuals had gifts and qualities
    to offer the Christian community. This fiasco appears to be one of them…

  9. What do you want to bet that at some point, an attorney trying to gain access to conservative pastors’ sermons say that because churches are nonprofit, thereby keeping their tax monies, that churches are subsidized by the tax payer and therefore must abide by federal, state, and city laws.

  10. These are fascists. This is what AmeriKa has become. When are the stupid people of this country going to wake up; when they start loading us into boxcars and tractor trailers to be taken to the crematoriums?

  11. Karl is right. These are fascists. Joshua Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascists” makes a credible association between the progressives, fascists and even the communists and Nazis. They are all variants of a species of secular humanists with utopian aspirations or pretensions. And now this despicable political correctness has brought us to the brink of multiple disasters. Perhaps I’ll reread The Apocalypse again, more closely and slowly. Maranatha.

  12. I have just read that the city’s subpoenas also included the pastor’s emails,
    including emails exchanged between the pastors and their attorneys. If that
    is in fact true, the city’s lawyers responsible should be forced to write the words
    “attorney-client privilege” 100,000 times on a blackboard before being disbarred.

  13. Indeed. It looks like they adopted a “kitchen sink” approach to discovery. Bad lawyering and I hope that the trial court imposes personal sanctions against each one of the city attorneys involved.

  14. As religious liberties continue to be attacked by government oppression, as well as oppression from homosexual and liberal groups, I cannot help but draw a correlation to the Crusades. What the Crusades boil down to is this: They were defensive actions fought to preserve the spiritual and temporal survival of Catholics. It occurs to me that if a man and his wife are somewhere, and she, or even he, is being stabbed by one or more assailants, that they have the right to draw firearms and use deadly force on those who are trying to murder them. The government, homosexuals and liberals are trying to spiritually murder Catholics in America today. If Catholics accept this spiritual murder, and capitulate, or just “go along to get along”, they may be allowing their immortal souls to be placed in danger of damnation. It seems to me that perhaps a “Crusade” in America is in order. Catholics must resist these forces of evil which seek the destruction of the Church and the souls entrusted to her care.

  15. I just sent an email to the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston asking that they publicly support these pastors in their battle with the city. Might I ask that we all do the same?

  16. Barbara: “What do you want to bet that at some point, an attorney trying to gain access to conservative pastors’ sermons say that because churches are nonprofit, thereby keeping their tax monies, that churches are subsidized by the tax payer and therefore must abide by federal, state, and city laws.”
    Churches, parishes, and diocese are held in trust for all future generations. Churches, parishes and diocese are handed down from our ancestors to our posterity. Parishioners have paid their taxes as citizens. Our ancestors have paid their taxes. Our posterity have yet to pay their taxes. The Catholic Church in America was established before taxation was imposed.
    The church cannot vote. Only individuals vote. Two taxes, one vote is taxation without representation.
    Gifts, donations and behests are non-taxable. If as you say, Barbara, the state will tax churches because they have made laws to do so, the state will then tax your spouse for your Christmas gifts, birthday presents and wedding ring…and the tar and feathers needed to impress upon politicians the inviolability of “or prohibit the free, very, very free exercise thereof”…religion.

  17. Clinton: “I have just read that the city’s subpoenas also included the pastor’s emails,
    including emails exchanged between the pastors and their attorneys. If that
    is in fact true, the city’s lawyers responsible should be forced to write the words
    “attorney-client privilege” 100,000 times on a blackboard before being disbarred.”
    “…before being disbarred.” and run out of town on a rail.
    Laws have been passed that make the medical and legal papers of patients and clients the property of the physician and/or attorney. This makes the privacy of the patients, clients, non-existent and violates the Fifth Amendment that states that a person does not have to testify against himself.
    Mayor Annise Parker ought to be impeached for embarrassing the city.

  18. This has nothing to do with this post except that it has been opened to comment.
    “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.”
    Another human being, a sovereign person, murdered or kidnapped and murdered and hidden is warrant to search for them in the hope that they are still alive and may be helped and freed. The rule of thumb is that any law may be broken to save a life. The Sabbath was made for man.

  19. Many, not all, gays have a deep desire to be regarded as “:normal” and will go to almost any length to force others, if they can, to adopt this belief. It goes by several different names, justification being one of the more common lay terms. A fuller treatment can be found near the middle portion of most Psych 101 textbooks and, yes, it comes with a diagnostic code.

  20. on Huckabees program on Fox during this weekend he urged pastors throughout the country to send her all of their sermons and also urged his viewers to send their Bibles. Now I believe, they’ve changed the sermons to speeches. I think this is a terrible thing, but also believe that the petitions shouldn’t have been in the churches. It gives the IRS to claim “politics” at the churches, and sure as heck will be after them. We’re now treading a fine line in this country. Any little thing like inserts in the bulletin and maybe even religion classes could be attacked if they’re not following the secularists way of thinking. I’m also afraid now that priests and Bishops won’t be speaking out as much in fear of retaliation. We need another Bishop sheen now who’s not afraid to speak out, and bless those Protestant ministers who had this courage.

  21. Does the government have the legal authority and or competence to define and redefine what is sermons and what is political speech. The only way the sermon can be political speech is if there are political persons named for their politics. It may be that the issue of co-ed toilets has very moral and ethical implications for the souls of the parishioners. Unless the petition named people, instead of issues, the petition is innocent.
    The First Amendment protects religious speech as well as political speech, anywhere and anytime. Who gave the IRS power and authority to prohibit the free exercise thereof?…or to burden the free exercise thereof? Nobody.
    Atheists do not believe in the immortal human soul and therefore have no problem with separating the human body from the human soul and bringing about human death.
    Let Annise Parker be criminally liable for any criminal assault in co-ed toilets. That must be written into the legislation.

  22. Lawyers for the ministers should subpoena every record of the city officials’ meetings. conferences,conversations,phone calls, emails, thoughts and plans,whether in written form or from memory, whether just considered or carried out, which relate to this issue. After all.”turn about is fair play”- per Abe Lincoln. Also. they are PUBLIC officials.

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