Houston Mayor Annise Parker's office has been flooded with hundreds of Bibles after television pundits like Mike Huckabee and Glenn Beck urged followers to send a strong signal that her request for subpoenas for five ministers' sermons amounted to an affront to people of faith, The Washington Times
Parker, whose office received between 500 to 1,000 Bibles, drew national rebuke after she requested copies of the pastors' sermons to review, seeking to discover whether their speeches violated the city's new human rights ordinance. It came in response to a lawsuit filed against the city over the new law, passed in May.
One minister told The Blaze that the mayor's office had asked to review not only his sermons but 17 pieces of correspondence that referenced Parker's name. The city has since rescinded its requests.
Amid the backlash, Parker responded that Huckabee, himself a minister, had only fueled the stunt "to pump ratings for Fox News," Houston station KHOU
reported. "I have seen some Bibles, and I look forward to passing them on to area churches."
A commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, angered by Parker's subpoena request, sent a letter to the mayor, writing as a citizen and not in his official capacity, describing her efforts as "an abuse of government power," The Blaze
Peter Kirsanow noted in his letter that Parker's overreach "threatens to have a chilling effect on religious and political speech that is protected by the First Amendment."
He also called her request "a blatant attempt to punish these pastors for expressing their religiously based political views."
Wrote Kirsanow: "A subpoena that requires a pastor to turn over an email to his neighbor about the details of the Equal Rights Ordinance, or a draft book chapter on the Bible and homosexuality that discusses the Equal Rights Ordinance, is clearly over broad."
The executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, Dave Welch, lauded the level of response from around the nation, WND.com
"It just hit a nerve," Welch said. "It was just one of those 'ah-ha' moments where the veil of how far we are down the road to tyranny was pulled back. For some reason, thankfully, it still reveals some reverence for the church and religion."
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