Houston is hosting an event to support the five pastors who were subpoenaed for their remarks about a controversial Houston ordinance.
The event will feature Phil Robertson, son Alan Robertson, as well as Mike Huckabee.
A bit of background on the event.
It’s another one of those stories that changes depending on who you ask. Some will tell you that it is one of the biggest assaults on religious freedom in the United States. Others would tell you the whole things is being blown out of proportion and was never meant to be any sort of infringement.
Houston, Texas is in the middle of a fight over something called HERO, an equal rights ordinance passed in May that would prevent employers from discriminating against anyone based on their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
As The Blaze reports, “The new regulations would allow transgendered individuals to file complaints if they are denied restroom usage and would ban discrimination in both business and housing.”
These points of the ordinance started a wave of concerns from people who do not want to share workplace restrooms with transgender folks.
Faith leaders in Houston, pastors and so forth, began collecting signatures to get a ballot referendum on the Ordinance on the November ballot. But when the signatures were examined, many were invalidated due to the signors not actually being Houston residents, not having filled out the petition properly, etc. The referendum would not go forward since not enough valid signatures had been collected.
Faith leaders responded by suing the city of Houston. In preparation for that suit, the city subpoenaed paperwork from churches that were linked to activists opposed to the HERO ordinance. The subpoenas included “sermons” in its scope of coverage.
The wording of the subpoena was very general, and wound up igniting the aforementioned “assault on religious freedom” firestorm in Houston. Houston Mayor Annise Parker has withdrawn the subpoenas in question.
Still, the event is being held in Houston today. It is called “I Stand,” meaning “I stand with the pastors in Houston.” Only five pastors in Houston were affected by the subpoenas. The intent was to gather information about the anti-HERO effort so as to form a defense for the City in the lawsuit. It would have had no effect on what the pastors were “allowed” to say to their congregants. Their remarks are already open for the public to hear.