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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Politics and rotten eggs . . .

Compromise seems to be the name of the game these days, however. Everyone has their rights, you know. Tolerance and compromise, however, are opposites, as I see it. I can tolerate same-sex unions, for instance, but that does not mean that I will compromise my principles and perform one. Marijuana may be legal in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean that I am ready to buy a joint for my grandchild. No, I can tolerate a pothead, but that does not mean that I can just sit back and say, “Go ahead, smoke the stuff; but will you please drive safely?” Smoking the stuff may help retard the effects of glaucoma, but we mustn’t neglect to inform the users that rats that were forced to smoke the stuff had little ones that had brains growing outside their skull, and a whole lot of other side effects that were not too pleasant, either.

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading in early church history. One thing that I quickly discovered was that the early Christians definitely did not plant a lot of “user friendly churches.” Quite the opposite, most of the leaders were either run out of town or martyred. Not much of a choice there—not a user friendly one, at least.

So, I for one, feel that the church must hold strong on moral convictions, regardless of the consequences. 

Should we invite trouble? Absolutely not. On the other hand, however, neither should we run from it.

Case in point. Recently, the lesbian mayor of Houston, Annise Parker spearheaded the passage of an “Equal Rights Ordinance” (ERO) that added “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s non-discrimination provision, which includes, among other things, “public accommodations” — for example, restrooms. Citizens, among them church leaders, balked. They launched a referendum petition that, with the requisite 17,269 signatures, would require the city council to repeal the ERO, or to put the measure up for a vote. They obtained 55,000 signatures. The city secretary, who has sole responsibility for certifying such petitions, signed off.

Enter Houston city attorney David Feldman, who, with no legal authority, disqualified 38,000 signatures. Names that were printed, rather than written in cursive, were discarded; names that were written in cursive were considered illegible — just enough names to get the petition below the 17,000-signature requirement, at which point the city council and Mayor Parker rejected it. And several citizens sued.

But the city’s shenanigans had only just begun. Unsatisfied with violating the rights of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the City of Houston has subpoenaed privileged communications of five pastors (none of them party to the lawsuit) who helped to organize the petition drive. Among other information, the city is requesting communications between the pastors and their attorneys pertaining to the ERO lawsuit, communications between the pastors and their congregants, and even the pastors’ sermons.

Consequently, for example, a subpoena on Pastor Steve Riggle, senior pastor of Grace Community Church, asks for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the equal rights ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

Chance are, however, that these liberals are only testing the legal waters since they have recently backtracked on their subpoenas, but vowed to continue the fight—at, I should say, taxpayer’s expense; although, they have been less than transparent on that issue.

My God continue to give us wisdom as we face the future. Last night, the Republican’s gave the Democrats a real shellacking, but don’t get your hopes up. There are enough rotten eggs in both party baskets to stink up the entire country.