PRAYER ALERT: Openly lesbian mayor Annise Parker’s “bathroom bill” ordinance is facing strong opposition from Houston pastors and their 400+ churches. The city ordinance allows men to use women’s bathrooms, and vice versa. If a man “feels” like a woman at the time, he can enter. Clearly this opens the door to sexual harassment and abuse. That is why the vast majority of Houstonians are against it.
A petition drive quickly collected more than 50,000 signatures. Only 15,000 were needed for a voter’s referendum on the ordinance. But the city counted less than one-third of the signatures, saying that was enough. Then the city disqualified enough signatures to nullify the petition.
Last week Mayor Parker and the city issued subpoenas to five Houston pastors demanding their sermon notes and all in-church communications related to the issue. If they refused, the mayor threatened them with contempt of court and fines or jail time. None of those five Houston pastors were leading the petiton drive. The subpoenas were designed to send a chilling effect throughout the opposition. Instead, the subpoenas ignited a firestorm of protests throughout the city, state and nation.
Houston pastors rallied together and declared they would go to jail rather than comply. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Mayor Parker, “…your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. You should immediately instruct your lawyers to withdraw the city’s subpoenas.” But the lawyers only changed the demand for sermons to “speeches”. The subpoenas for other in-church communications still stand.
Pro-family organizations immediately called for nationwide support for the Houston pastors and their cause. The Family Research Council circulated a petition titled Stand with Houston Pastors. It says, “…This attack on religious freedom and the freedom of speech should be universally repudiated by all Americans who value our constitutional freedoms… The pulpit is to be governed only by the Word of God, and the chilling effect of government scrutiny of our pastors is unconstitutional, and unconscionable. Mayor Parker’s use of her bully pulpit to silence pulpit freedom must be stopped in its tracks.”
This petition gained 25,000 signatures in its first 24 hours. That’s more than 1000 signatures an hour. You can read it in full and sign it at http://www.frc.org/alert/stand-with-houston-pastors. And you can pray that God will empower the the Houston pastors to guard their flock and gain great favor for their cause.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, we thank You for making us in Your image as male and female. You said that this was “very good.” We come against efforts to call this good evil. We come against efforts of the perverse to remake the sexes in their image. We ask that You affirm the cause of the Houston pastors. Close the doors of bathrooms to abusers of the opposite sex and to pretenders. Open the floodgates of sexual healing and restoration to them. Let Mayor Parker read words of life in the sermons that countless pastors are sending her voluntarily. Send her the shock of recognition that she is a woman made that way by You. Call her to uphold true womanhood and true manhood. Empower the petitions and overpower the subpoenas.
Reverse all the reversals of Your divine order in court orders and legislation across the nation. Turn the tide against same sex weddings. Turn it toward weddings that are fruitful and multiply in families. Protect the sacred right and duty of ministers to join one man and one woman only in holy matrimony. It is You who join them together. Let no man put them asunder. But prevent the forcing of ministers to perform same sex weddings that must come asunder. Above all, help us all to keep standing on Your Word. And to rescue those whose ground is sinking sand. In Jesus name, amen.
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Tags for Houston pastors: Houston, Annise Parker, lesbian mayor, gay agenda, sexual abuse, Houston pastors, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, religious freedom, freedom of speech, First Amendment