The Rev. Scott R. Murray, senior pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, and LCMS fourth vice-president, has written a commentary about recent developments in Houston, where city attorneys issued subpoenas to five area pastors requiring them to hand over copies of all communication with members of their congregations about a gay-rights ordinance.
The pastors were at the forefront of an effort to get a referendum on the November ballot to overturn the city ordinance, which would give people access to the restrooms of their choice in public settings as a matter of “gender equality.”
Even though opponents of the ordinance gathered some 50,000 signatures — more than the number required — to get the issue placed on the ballot, “the mayor and the City Council declined to follow the city charter, refusing to place the referendum before the people of Houston,” writes Murray.
So now, a group that supports the ballot initiative is suing the city to force it to follow the city charter. In return, the city subpoenaed the communications of the pastors, who are not even parties to the lawsuit.
In his commentary, “Why I stand with the Houston Five,” Murray acknowledges that “sermons aren’t exactly private or privileged communications; they are proclaimed to audiences in public and placed on our website for people to listen to any time,” and if condemning sin and calling people to repentance “offends the politicians, then so be it.”
He also charges the Houston mayor and City Council of “attempting to stop Christian pastors from commenting on moral issues that are important to politicians. They are using the coercive power of the city’s legal department and turning it on the speech of the church.
“Not only is this an effort to shame the pastors for their principled stand on sexual mores, but it is a naked attempt to silence them” and “attacks two of the freedoms protected in the First Amendment: the free exercise of religion and the right to political speech,” which could have “a chilling effect” on both.
To read the commentary, featured on the website of Religion News Service, click here.
Posted Oct. 17, 2014
I stand with Rev. Murray, and the Huston Five, and call on every pastor within the LCMS and other denominations to take a stand as well. This is a matter of publically proclaiming sin and grace, and is not a matter of politics. If the Mayor is offended, then maybe she should repent! Where is the Mayor’s concern over the separation of church and state? I am sure if this was an issue of school prayer she would demand such! This is reminiscent of the King of England going after the Black Six during the time of the Revolutionary War! I’m sure if the Mayor of Huston and the City Council dared to consult Scripture, they would, find a long line of God’s Prophets taking a stand against the powers at be when they transgress the Word of God.
It is time for all Christians, as well as pastors, to develop some spiritual backbone and stand up against those who would try to control and silence the church and God’s message to a sinful world. I, personally, will go to jail before I compromise my faith & commitment to my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. He suffered & was nailed to Calvary’s cruel cross, bled & died for you & I. What have we suffered for Him? Stand fast in your faith, lean hard on Jesus, our elder brother, He will carry us thru the tests & trial of this life & give us victory over Satan & his wicked servants of this world. Don’t compromise your faith. This is just the beginning of the war against the church in this area. Follow the advise of Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20 & 2nd. Timothy 4:1-8.
Your brother in Christ Jesus
3384 E. 400 S.
Warsaw, IN 46580
St. John’s Lutheran Church
South Whitley, IN
What a potential nightmare: a transsexual Missouri Synod pastor running into one of his female parishioners in the Ladies room! I agree wholeheartedly, don’t hesitate. Overturn the gay-rights ordinance now. Meanwhile. your neighbors in California are laughing. Are you sure this is happening in Houston and not Berkeley? On the other hand, as pastors often exhort, to know God is to be transformed!
So, pastors want to condemn sin, and the rest of you support that. Fine. How about taking on Fox News, with all their lies and distortions? They are breaking the 8th commandment! How about taking on the damage we are doing to God’s world, by refusing to live simply? Here’s an idea: take the logs out of your own eyes before worrying about the speck in someone else’s. Remember that each of us is the chief of sinners, depending on God’s grace. Jesus came to seek and save those who were lost.
Laura, I don’t believe the issue here is Fox News or any other news media. You insinuate lies and restrictions are used by the media, suppressing the truth. What do you consider the city of Huston’s attempted restrictions on a Pastor’s Sermon to be?
Our real dilemma is the “tolerance” attitude toward sin that the world asks of us.
I am the chief of sinners, I do need to examine myself daily and repent, followed by the request of forgiveness from my Lord. But I do not have to and will not tolerate the world’s desire to look blindly in another direction when blatant sin is embellished and promoted.
And our protest of this sin, or any other, will be heard whether Houston tries to squelch it or not.
Thank you to all who support the Huston Pastors, this is an act of support to our Lord.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” On this we stand,”we can do no other, so help us God.” We have to stand against these forces of darkness trying to halt, in any way, the Gospel going out. Sure, they are offended. ‘The Gospel is an offense to those who don’t believe.” Hopefully, the Houston leaders will be brought to repentance. Even so, we have to stand firm in our faith no matter what; we are losing the biggest battle of our U.S. rights,even if it means jail or death. It is really stupid for anyone to think they can get rid of Christians, but in this country the evil forces have found a way, so they think, to silence us, keep us confined to the walls inside our churches. And this will be so if we do not stand now.
Regarding this very issue, a relative recently said to me, “Why don’t you just keep that stuff in church?”
“Keep it in church?” I replied. “That is the opposite of what we are called to do.”
Speak out for what is right and true.
Why don’t they ever try and silence the Muslims? Apparently Christians are easy targets. I totally agree with John Trier, get a back bone.