Rand Paul defends Houston pastors under attack

October 15, 2014

“No minister, anywhere, should ever have to submit a sermon to a government censor.” – Senator Rand Paul

Only minutes ago, Senator Rand Paul spoke up for the Houston pastors who have become the latest target in what religious leaders say is the city government’s ongoing war against its own churches.  Messaging on Twitter, Senator Paul declared, “The First Amendment doesn’t exist to keep religion out of government.  It exists to keep government out of religion.”  Said Paul, “I stand with the pastors and churches in Houston against government interference and harassment.”

Houston city attorneys, under the direction of Mayor Annise Parker,  have now subpoenaed sermons preached by selected pastors whom they believe are opposed to the city’s new agenda.

Here is a quick review of the unfolding drama in Houston.

Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly Lesbian mayor of a major city, promoted an ordinance banning anti-gay discrimination in the public and government subsidized venues.  So far so good.  But a controversial part of the ordnance allowed transgender citizens to file discrimination lawsuits if prohibited from a restroom.  Was this a problem?  Where there signs up saying, “No transgenders allowed?”  Some Christian leaders now caught in the middle of the controversy contend that this was an angry politician, purposely poking the bear.

There were all kinds of discussions in the community.  Who was to determine who was transgender and who was not?  A doctor?  A psychiatrist?  Could a man suddenly declare himself a woman and enter a woman’s restroom?  With under age children?

As the proponents of the ordinance hoped, the churches reacted with confusion and panic.  There was a recall effort launched to get the ordinance on the ballot.  The churches gathered more than 50,000 signatures.  It was well over the 17,269 needed.  And then the city poked again.  The Houston city attorney declared that there were insufficient signatures.

The churches sued.

The city attorneys issued subpoenas for their sermons.  And not sermons from the churches who filed the lawsuit.  No, they wanted sermons from other pastors whom critics suspect were specifically targeted because they posed the biggest threat to the city’s agenda.  The subpoena called for “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.”

Concerned Christian leaders insist that this is not a comedy of errors, that it is not a mistake but it is a systematic, purposeful attempt to silence and frighten the churches into changing their doctrines and suborning free speech.  The city attorney’s will use taxpayer’s money to bankrupt the churches and silence their political voices.  Thus the decision to go after the selected churches who were not even involved in the lawsuit with the city.  It was much the same tactic that allowed the gay and lesbian takeover of the Episcopal Church, taking some congregations and using their resources to take over others.   Only this time it is acted out in the public square with public money which will now be used to destroy the churches and silence their voices.

The city has deep pockets.  In fact, the churchgoers, paying their taxes, will ironically finance the city of Houston in its war to destroy their own culture.

The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other Liberal groups expressed alarm at the city’s overreach. Meanwhile, Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission expressed sadness at the events and astonishment at the “audacity” of the Houston City government’s attack on its own pastors and congregations.

Coincidentally, the day before the Houston subpoenas, Moore held a private meeting with Senator Rand Paul at the Senator’s office in Washington, D.C.  Part of the conversation was about the war on Christianity unfolding in places around the world.  Who would know what the next volley would be fired by the city government of Houston, Texas?


Rand Paul: “Stop the killing of Christians!”

June 14, 2013

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the first public figure to openly declare what Christians have been  bemoaning for the last generation, that there is a war against Christianity.

Speaking this afternoon before a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington D.C., Senator Paul said, “There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.”

Said Paul, “It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.”

Catholics and born again Christians have talked about the danger for years.  In the 1990’s, during my stint in the White House, as special assistant to the president, I was constantly called on to help Christians who were thrown into prisons or slated for execution all over the world.

Meanwhile, Christian ministries in the USA visited the White House complaining that they had been targeted by the IRS, a fact that the agency actually confirmed to us at the time, without shame.  When we tried to find an Evangelical Christian who worked in a top position at the agency who could help us understand the nature of the complaints we learned that there was only one known, born again Christian in the top 300 positions at the IRS.  At the time 38% of the nation claimed to be born again.

It turns out that the token “born again” Christian at the IRS was a regional director in the non-profit division and a Catholic Charismatic by personal faith.  He tried to help the agency understand that it could not dictate doctrine or discriminate against groups based on their faith.  We had two meetings with him at the White House and kept the president apprised.  I think back to that moment as I now try to grasp the fact that top IRS officials visited the White House more than 300 times under Barack Obama and supposedly never discussed with the president their illegal bias against conservative groups including their questions of what applicants said in their prayers

In his speech Senator Paul offered a litany of abuses by American allies.

“In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.

“Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Down syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Koran.

“After weeks she was released after a local Imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.”

Senator Paul is the first public official to suggest a legislative solution.  “My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the US taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.”

Afridi is the man who helped us identify Osama Bin Laden.  He was tortured and in chains for a year without being charged and is even now in prison in Pakistan.

As obvious as it may be to stand up for Christians (25% of the USA are Catholic, 48% claim to be born again Christians) Senator Paul is practically alone in his work.  90% of the Senate voted against his bill that would have placed restrictions on foreign aid to nations that execute Christians.

“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death,” he said today.  “And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.”

Senator Rand Paul warned against a foreign policy that sometimes has good intentions that backfire.

“Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.

“Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run—persecuted or under fire—and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.

“The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.

“Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by, he was seen to mouth the word ‘Amen’ as the cleric said these words of hatred.

“How does your government respond?

“The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The President is currently requesting a billion dollar increase in aid to Egypt.  This is an outrage!”

Senator Paul admitted that his bold stand had made him unpopular in Washington and while his famous filibuster and other stands on civil liberties have given him exposure that his father never had, his concern about the torture and execution of Christians in allied nations has been panned by the media.

Says Paul, “It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East and I believe that must end.”

Back in February 2011 Doug Wead warns about the Arab Spring, “Not so fast.”


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