Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -1789
So let me get this straight, because I’m totally confused on how a city government can restrict four of the six rights outlined in the First Amendment. Apparently, the city of Houston feels as though they have the right to forcibly obtain copies of sermons, both before and after they are given, that contain any reference to the law/ordinance pertaining to homosexuality/gender identity when using bathrooms. The ordinance was questioned by more than 70,000 signatures and still remains in effect without a public hearing or recourse. Additionally churches have refused to allow the law because it challenges the safety of minors or is against doctrinal faith. With all of that being said, I got a rant to release on the net and yes it is about the “Culture War” consuming America.
First, the blatant disregard of people asking for a public forum on the issue is beyond comprehension. If the law outlines a mode for redress, it must be agreed to our else we devolve into a state of elected fiefdoms. Consorts of democracy draped in political malfunction and moral indemnity. By those same functions all people of Houston would have the right to storm the offices of the Mayor according the to words of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness) and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” The function of democracy is debate in open so that a compromise built on faith can be made. In Franklin’s 1722 almanac, he wrote, “without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.” The ideals of liberty and wisdom are built on the concepts of free speech, even Voltaire, a french radical and staunch liberal, wrote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Patrick Henry would restate the phrase in front of the VA House of Burgess. The key is not to stamp out free speech or redress but to foster it so that calamity, confusion, and confrontation can be dealt with in a manner of peace. I know that Texas is not a complete bastion of conservative ideals, but I at least thought that it would be liberal enough to allow for diversity to continue and debate be heard.
Second, the idea of religious freedom is why so many come here. Whither it was the English Catholics, French Huguenots, of Puritans of the 1600s or the Sunni and Shia Refuges of Iraq since 1991, we are a nation of religious freedom. Emma Lazarus referred to us all as the refuge of other lands and give voice to Lady Liberty by having her say,
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost… Link
Religious institutions are a place of refuge for the weak and the politically trampled. Those who are both forgotten by the world and those strengthened to give back grace.The pulpit was used to rally support for independence because the streets had been taken from political reformers. It was from the pulpit in Boston, that John Adams addressed the people of Massachusetts before leaving to attend the Continental Congress. It was from St Paul’s Church in NYC, that Washington attended weekly services in the presence of Congress for more than two years. It was even the Alamo, a Catholic Mission, that used to defend against and delay the advancing Mexican Army; so that, Texans could rally at San Jacinto. Religious institutions are to be sanctified by a populous; not vilified by an ephemeral elected official too afraid to listen to redress.To questions the sermons of a pastor as hate speech while at the same time vilifying those given and hearing the sermons is in and of itself hate speech. One can not demand that speech be curbed in the name of fairness only to create an atmosphere of reversed fair and unfairness.
Finally, this is not simply a culture war that was begun by the media or political pundits. It is not limited to freedom of speech for students in schools or the sermons given in churches. It is the idea of the free exercise of the rights given to the people and the defense of those rights for the generations to come. However, WE, the faithful, are not in this to win elections or back a political agenda. This not some kind of push back to gain points at a round table of like-minded people. WE, the faithful, know the weapons of this war all to well and WE are not afraid to use them. I plan to pray in my home, my car, my church, my schools, and tin the public presence of whom ever I wish to pray with or for. This is not about bathrooms or hate speech; this is about GOD and I’m not going to peacefully stand by and have you question those of faith with slanderous lies of hate speech. How about instead of threatening pastors, dialogue with them and their congregations to better understand what is going in the community-at-large. Heavy hand government laws will always be met with push back especially when they are against those who are trying to defend was it right.