2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz is pandering to his base. He is supporting five pastors in Houston, Texas, who have had their sermons subpoenaed. The five church leaders are accused of breaking a local law by denouncing the LGBT community. Ted Cruz is wrong about the pastors and their sermons.
Cruz told reporters that they should remember that our country was founded on religious freedom; about that he is correct. He also said that the city of Houston and its mayor, who is openly gay, has no power or legal authority to censure churches for expressing their beliefs. About this he may be wrong.
Religious institutions receive many ‘perks’ in our country. The largest of these is immunity from taxation. In exchange for that immunity they are not to be involved in politics or political issues; and they are not allowed to break the law. The rights of the LGBT community is a huge political issue.
The law itself appears to be innocuous, and possibly unnecessary. However, as long as it remains a law it must be obeyed.
Ignorant people will always make jest about something they either know nothing about or fear. These five pastors fit that statement. To lecture those attending their churches about the evil of the gay community is not only senseless, it’s not Christian.
After failing to procure the required number of signatures on a petition to have the law revoked, they are now suing the city of Houston. And, they may have a cause. The law was intended to bundle several city ordinances into one law. The purpose was to include the LGBT community in anti-discrimination laws pertaining to the work place, treatment in hotels and restaurants, and other instances where individuals could be singled out for their physicality or sexual preference. According to lawmakers, it was not intended to include churches; they were considered exempt.
Freedom of speech is possibly the most important amendment to our Constitution. How far individuals or organizations can take that speech is governed by several laws. Libel and slander are against the law. Impugning the character or lifestyle of others is immoral.
The entire matter appears to be a matter of equality. Why should the LGBT community be harassed for living a lifestyle which has no effect on the lifestyles of others? It’s similar to denying left-handed people equal treatment under the law because they are different.
Legal opinions believe the outcome of this situation will side in favor of the pastors; it most likely will. However, does that justify ‘gay bashing’ by these so called ‘holy men?’
Let’s be truthful about this inconsequential matter. None of this should ever have occurred. Prejudice and discrimination will never be eliminated by legal action. Actions can be controlled, but thoughts are beyond the power of the authorities to change. The good news is that the most prejudiced among us are reaching the age when they will not be on this earth for a great many more years. The 35 and under group of our nation are more tolerant, and practice the true meaning of America; they believe in true freedom by accepting other races, creeds, and lifestyles. And, one more thing; fewer and fewer of them believe in religion and are absent from the church’s pews.
By James Turnage