Clergymen To Meet With Mayor Over Houston’s Subpoena Of Sermons

Ministers representing various denominations met outside Houston City Hall Tuesday morning.



The Christian Defense Coalition, the National Clergy Council and the League for the Defense of Pastors gathered in Houston today. This was in response to subpoenas issued by city against pastors opposing the Equal Rights Ordinance. The subpoenas are part of a lawsuit filed against the city.

The ministers represented various denominations and met outside Houston City Hall Tuesday morning.

The Reverend Sean Sloan of Fort Smith Arkansas says the role of clergy is to support, stand up for and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“I never dreamed that I’d be standing here, and that those who cannot speak for themselves would be my fellow clergy in the city of Houston. Today they cannot stand here and speak because they are either tied in litigation, or they stand in fear of it due to the intimidating nature of the actions of this local government. It’s egregious. In a nation founded on religious freedom, that those very freedoms, which are our core and our source of civil society and democracy, are now under attack,” said Sloan.

Sloan and his fellow members of the cloth said the city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented.

“The National Clergy Council sees this as an illegitimate, unethical and absolutely immoral intrusion into the sacred bond of trust between the pastor and of course, the souls that are under his or her care,” said Reverend Mike Crowder, senior pastor of Christian Life Center of Layton, Utah.

Clergy members say they cannot allow government to come and intrude on the basic rights protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

“Article 1, Section 6 and 8 (of the Texas Constitution) declare this: ‘No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience, in matters of religion. The rights of conscience include the right to speak conscientiously about issuers for or against, that affect the community,'” quoted Reverend David Anderson, of Sarasota Florida. 

The city has since backed off its original subpoena demands and modified its request. Mayor Annise Parker agreed to meet the clergymen this afternoon. Parker continues to defend the city’s poistion and subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required