It is now beyond question that Christianity is under direct assault in the culture war. "The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity to Annise Parker, the city's first openly daughter of Sodom mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court."
Contempt of court means not only fines, but it could mean time behind bars. "The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance (a bathroom bill) launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures--far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities. After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city's attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors."
This mayor and her minions trampled the First Amendment protection of our God given rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.
"The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over 'all communications with members of your congregation' regarding the non-discrimination law. In an interview Riggle said, 'This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day.' 'The mayor would like to silence our voice. She's a bully.'"
It is abundantly apparent that the Mayor and the City Council do not believe in freedom of speech, or freedom of religion and they completely disregard their oath to uphold the U.S. and Texas Constitutions; their actions must be regarded as an act of tyranny. Think of what that means for those politicians. They each took an oath, which is a solemn vow to Almighty God to uphold and defend the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. The U.S. Constitution, of course, includes the First Amendment, and the Texas Bill of Rights Sec. 6 reads:
"FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences… No human authority [which I assume would include the government of the city of Houston] ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion…"
In addition, we could add Sec. 8. of the Texas Bill of Rights which secures FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS. Both are inextricably linked to religious liberty.
What the mayor and city council did violated the oath which they made before taking office, making themselves perjurers. They ought to be immediately removed from office. The fact that they have not been removed says to me that the people in that city do not understand the seriousness of the mayor and city council's crime. What they did in oath breaking means they violated the Third Commandment.
Exodus 20:7 teaches us to Honor God in Thought, Word and Deed.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
The flow of thought from the First and Second Commandments is clear. Those who belong to the one True God are thereby bound to worship, serve and depend on Him alone (First Commandment). Therefore, they would abhor crafting any false images of Him or misrepresenting Him in any way (Second Commandment), including, as a matter of course, anything they say about Him, say to themselves, or to others or to Him.
God's name must be never emptied of its power, glory and majesty in any way. What we say about God reveals a great deal more about us than we might care to realize. Our view of God's character, His attributes, our view regarding His Holy Word is all of extreme importance. We must avoid all empty, irreverent uses of the Sacred Name. We must seek to Honor God in everything we say regarding Him.
In our witness in this world, we set the example of honoring God in all we think, say and do. It is amazing how often people change their language around me when they find out I'm a pastor, and that is a good thing. When people clean up their language due to our witness, it points them to the fact that they are violating the Third Commandment. We can share with them our own journey; if we used to swear, but our speech was changed when we came to Christ, it helps them to know that this sin can be overcome.
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