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Sermon Supoenaes

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ThePilgrim
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Carl, the challenge to the bathroom bill is based upon the fact that there were more than the required number for a petition.  There were many thousands handed in, and those that were not legitimate were discounted. Even at that, that left a few hundred more than the required amount. The rub came in, though, when the city attorney through out ALL of the signatures, and thus the referendum was shot down. Illegally, I might add. The city secretary (I'm not sure of her actual title) who is responsible for counting and approving the signatures did so.  The city attorney had no legal right, nor any business, coming in and tossing them, thus effectively saying the people of the city had no right to vote on whether or not to allow transgenders in opposite sex bathrooms.


Thanks HC, yeah I've read the reporting on this story too. The city attorney has claimed that even though there were just enough individual signatures, not enough of the pages had valid counter-signatures. Whatever peoples' conjecture (including yours) on whether that's true and/or whether it was legal of the attorney to check, the courts will in course rule on whether due process was followed and what decision should be allowed. My own personal view is that if the rules are clear and they still have the pages of signatures then someone independent should be able to establish exactly how many valid signatures there are and both sides ought to seek and honour that final figure. But instead it sounds like it's turned into a legal wrangle about whether the secretary's first decision should stand even if he/she got the counting wrong. Shame.

 

Of course the mayor isn't claiming she's going after them politically...who in their right mind would claim that?


The article you cited said that the mayor was claiming in her tweet that pastors who bring politics into their sermons are 'fair game' for prosecution, since according to her they are doing something illegal.

The article: "It took fewer than 140 characters for Parker to show her lack of understanding of the law. She appears to think that pastors and churches cannot be involved politically, and that if pastors or churches dare to discuss political topics from the pulpit, they’re violating the law and subject to prosecution."

To me, interpreting her tweet that way doesn't make any sense because why would she try to justify the subpoenas as being about prosecuting pastors when that's factually and OBjectively not why the subpoenas have been issued?

You: "Where did she mention the court case in her tweet? She was defiantly stating that she has the right to demand their sermons if she deems what they say to be political speech. You might argue that I don't know her state of mind when she said it, but, really - her wording is pretty OBviously thumbing her nose..."

You're saying here that the mayor is stating that she's issued the subpoenas because she believes she has a right to demand sermons if they contain political content. But a subpoena is issued in specific circumstances (a court case) for a specific purpose (gather evidence for said court case). And she's responding to questions about the subpoenas. So if she says that she's issued those subpoenas for any other reason than defending the lawsuit that's being brought against the council, then she's basically admitting to abusing the court process. As you said yourself, who in their right mind would do that?

 

Carl, I realize you don't live in America, but please know this: our freedoms and liberties have been under attack for many years. God-haters are trying to remove Him from every aspect of life.  And, sadly, too many Christians are going along with the idea that Christians should stay out of certain areas (completely backward of how this country was founded).


What have general trends got to do with ascertaining the facts in a specific case? Regardless of motive, things happened or did not happen and things were said or were not said. I've already acknowledged that all sorts of underhand stuff may be going on and prOBably is going on. I'm just rejecting the version of the actual events that says the council is openly prosecuting some pastors for political speech and boasting about it in tweets and the like. We shouldn't need to look to motive to establish whether that is what is happening.
 

I'm sorry, but the subpoenas don't have to center in a lawsuit whereby the politics or not of pastors is involved...all that is necessary is for them to demand them, in the name of the particular lawsuit here (bathroom bill) as a way to control.


Well I've already answered this argument in post 47 by trying to explain that maybe we interpret the word in different ways. I've always thought that 'unconstitutional' is a word used when people are trying to do things by official means that are against the constitution, rather than doing something illegal. For example, if a council issued rules/bylaws/whatever that authorised the police to arrest people for promoting a political party, that would be called unconstitutional. But if a councillor paid police constables backhanders to go to peoples' houses at night in ski masks and give them a kicking for promoting a political party, that wouldn't be called 'unconstitutional'.

By the same token, if the council were openly prosecuting pastors for political speech and issuing subpoenas to seize their sermons for that purpose, it would be unconstitutional. But if they were issuing subpoenas purportedly for another purpose--to collect evidence to defend themselves against a lawsuit--but really they were doing it intimidate people or exercise control over them, then that would be a plain old abuse of process (I think legal people call it 'vexatious').

 

Happy to be corrected on that...
 

For what reason, other than scrutiny and attempt at control, did the subpoena state that all sermons that mentioned the mayor must be given?  That has nothing to do with the bill. For what reason did the subpoenas state that all sermons that mentioned homosexuality must be given?


My contention isn't about what their *real* motives are, but rather what they are purporting to do. Some are claiming that they are directly and openly seizing the sermons in order to prosecute the pastors for political speech.
 

You may think that it is relevant, but it isn't.  Now, even though I still think it would be wrong, had the subpoenas only requested communication which actually mentioned the petitions, perhaps things would be fine.  In fact, here is what a law professor had to say:


I've never claimed that the sermons are relevant (how would I know?), although I've said that personally I don't see how anything above a simple recount of the signatures is needed. But I have tried to explain the reasons the lawyers have given. If you read the press you would think that because these pastors are not 'named' in the suit (whatever that means) that nothing they have done or said could possibly be relevant, as if the only link they have to the case is that they happen to reside in Houston. The reality is that the pastors were involved in organising the petition and/or collecting names. The defence lawyers have said that because of this, and because they were doing most all of it in church, that what they were doing in church has become relevant to the case. Certainly it sounds to me like what the subpoenas are demanding still goes way too far (prOBably for all the reasons you say), but if the pastors were involved in the petition then legally whether what they've done/said is relevant to the case will be down to specifics that neither you nor I know about, not broad-brush statements about whether they were 'named' in the suit or whether they happen to be pastors. Both parties can argue against subpoenas, just like they can OBject to dodgy lines of questioning in court (or I imagine they can).

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I think a big issue here is, speaking as a pastor, if I was to talk about a subject such as this bathroom bill, it wouldn't be in a sermon, per se, but maybe during announcements, or at a set-apart time during the service. Now, my sermon might be taught to bring the issue to light from a biblical perspective, but it prOBably wouldn't touch on the actual subject in the lesson, or in my notes. In such things, I know what I want to say, and generally don't have it written anywhere.

 

Now, when I teach a lesson that has to do with voting, I will teach a sermon on doing all things for the Lord-I don't lift one condiate above another in a sermon, but teach that, just as in all other walks of life, we each must look at the candidates, what they believe, how they vote, their records, etc, and pray about who to vote for, which person I could vote for, then stand before the Lord one day and give an account for it. That's why last time I could not, in all honesty before the Lord, vote for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, because I disagreed with him in many areas, and saw his plan was to do just what OBama was planning to do, just in different ways.

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