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Cruz: City of Houston's Subpoenas of Pastors "Shocking & Shameful"

Cruz: City of Houston's Subpoenas of Pastors "Shocking & Shameful"

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Senator Ted Cruz has weighed in regarding the controversial subpoenas that the City of Houston sent to several Houston area pastors, demanding copies of their sermons and speeches, as well as communications with church members.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the dispute stems from an anti-discrimination ordinance passed by Houston regarding discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. The pastors’ churches were part of a coalition of hundreds of churches in the Houston area that opposed the ordinance. After a referendum petition seeking to get a repeal measure on the November ballot was tossed out over allegations that the petition signature gatherers were not qualified under Texas law, a lawsuit was filed, but the pastors were not a part of the litigation. The pastors have obtained legal representation and filed a motion to quash the subpoenas, arguing that they were an illegal demand of their “their constitutionally protected sermons and other communications.”

Cruz agreed with the pastors and their attorneys, releasing a statement Wednesday that echoed the religious liberty and free speech arguments they made. “I’m proud to stand with the pastors,” said Cruz. “Religious liberty is the very first protection in the Bill of Rights, the foundation of all our liberties. The City of Houston’s subpoenas demanding that pastors provide the government with copies of their sermons is both shocking and shameful. For far too long, the federal government has led an assault against religious liberty, and now, sadly, my hometown of Houston is joining the fight. This is wrong.  It’s unbefitting of Texans, and it’s un-American.”

The senator also criticized the subpoenas as a “grotesque abuse of power” by the city government. “The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons. These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people. The Mayor should be ashamed. And we should all be proud to stand up and defend the pastors who are resisting these blatant attempts to suppress their First Amendment rights.”

Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, remains stubborn in her desire to pursue these subpoenas against the pastors, posting two tweets just before midnight last night calling the sermons “fair game” and taking a swipe at her critics as uninformed:

Mayor Parker doubled down today, retweeting a tweet from State Representative Gene Wu, a Houston Democrat representing the 137th District:

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker

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