It is "outrageous" that officials in Houston were requiring pastors to turn over their sermons because of their opposition to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) that bans anti-gay discrimination, former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee told "Fox & Friends"
Houston city attorneys subpoenaed sermons from five pastors on the subject of homosexuality or any mention of the city's first openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. Parker posted on a tweet on Tuesday:
"This is really outrageous. I'm finding it hard to believe that in Houston, Texas, pastors would be told to turn over their sermons, their sermon notes, any communication that they've had with their church members by way of church bulletin or email," said Huckabee, who is also a former Baptist minister and 2008 GOP presidential candidate.
The move was a "trampling of religious liberty," Huckabee said, that also involved voting rights, which he suggested was "at the heart of this issue." He claimed Parker's tweet was "not true," because there was "nothing in the Constitution that prohibits a pastor from saying anything he wants to."
"This has been used by the government as a means to silence free speech, which is protected by the First Amendment, as well as religious freedom, which is protected by the First Amendment," he said. "We expect this in North Korea. We expect this in China. We do not expect it in Houston, Texas, or any other city."
With free speech and voting rights issues involved, Huckabee questioned why there wasn't more outcry from other organizations about the move by Houston officials.
"I want to know, where is the ACLU? Where are all the organizations that should be up in arms? Every nonprofit in the country should be saying, 'If these pastors can be attacked because they sought to exercise both their voting rights and their First Amendment rights, who's next?'" he said.
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