We’ve watched from afar the devastation and tragedy brought by Hurricane Harvey to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Our hearts are with those who are just beginning the recovery process. As difficult as the past week has been, there is some comfort in watching, as we often do, Americans coming together to aid those in the area through donations and volunteering.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure designed to protect gays, lesbians and others from discrimination, failed to survive a ballot referendum Nov. 3.
Passed by the Houston City Council last May, the law prohibited housing and employment discrimination on the basis of several classifications, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Although Houston officials recently announced they would drop subpoenas of local pastors’ sermons as part of an investigation into possible fraud related to a ballot referendum, the move likely came too late to stem the Religious Right’s outcry of “persecution.”
A recent flap in Houston over subpoenas that were served on five conservative churches has stirred up Religious Right groups and fed their persecution complex. It’s important to take a look at what really went on there.
Earlier this year, Houston officials passed an ordinance protecting LGBT rights. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) is controversial in part because it gives transgender individuals the right to use the restroom of their choice in public buildings and businesses.
Last week, a story began circulating in the media about five conservative churches that were subpoenaed in Houston and ordered to turn over any sermons they had delivered about gay rights (along with a lot of other material).
Religious Right groups went ballistic. It often turns out in cases like this that what’s really going is less horrifying than the far right would have you believe. In this case, it turns out they actually had a point.
On Friday the nation marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the days leading up to the anniversary and over the weekend, newspapers, blogs and news sites ran scads of stories about JFK and what might have been.
Religious Right activists love to spread tales of outrage about alleged attempts by government officials to censor religion. These stories are great for fund-raising and stirring up the faithful, but over the years I’ve learned to be skeptical of them.
This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech in which he vowed to uphold the Constitution and keep church and state separate.
Before several hundred clergy of the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, then-Sen. Kennedy declared in a speech during the 1960 presidential race that he believed “in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” He affirmed religious liberty and insisted that no religious body should impose its beliefs on the “general populace or the public acts of its officials.”