On November 2, 2014 the five Houston pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed stood and delivered some riveting messages to Americans to wake them up. Just a few days earlier we were invited to speak at the news conference and the next day the mayor withdrew the subpoenas. The pastors are involved in a lawsuit for voting rights violations.
I wrote an opinion editorial about this experience. Pamela Romney Openshaw of the Herald interviewed me and wrote an excellent column. We appreciate her passion for exposing truth and informing people about correct principles of government.
This message is critical, and it is a story that your children should know. It is their freedom at stake.
Here is the the short video of the speeches of those five pastors who changed my life. There is no question that they would die for religious liberty. God bless them for their courage. Take time today to show it to your children. it is only 10 minutes. The editorial follows.
Marriage, Religious Liberty and the Sixth Circuit: Utah’s Defining Moment
As expected, the Sixth Circuit Court has ruled in favor of same sex marriage bans based on the democratic process and the will of the people – a state’s Tenth Amendment right to decide domestic matters. Good news for Utah. Now is the time for Utah to flex its constitutional muscle to defend Amendment 3 and to repeal and oppose gay rights ordinances with the same gusto as the Houston Five.
In review, these pastors had organized a referendum to repeal the city’s gay rights ordinance (“non-discrimination” – NDL). There is evidence now that Houston’s lesbian Mayor Annise Parker conspired to block the referendum illegally. After congregations collected 50,000 signatures with only 17,269 required, the City Secretary validated the minimum, discarding the rest.
The conspiracy began when an outside attorney invalidated 50% of the remaining signatures. The mayor then attempted to strong-arm five pastors with subpoenas, demanding copies of their sermons delivered from their pulpits. They refused to comply with this unconstitutional violation of their First Amendment rights.
The American Leadership Fund and Hollywood media strategist Jeff Chamberlain were invited to join the Houston Five pastors on October 28, 2014 at an historic news conference in Houston. We stood with them and other pastors from around the country because Utah’s religious liberty and freedom of speech is also under attack.
“Your cause is our cause,” I said, “When one faith is attacked, all are attacked. If they can go after your sermons, they can go after ours. Don’t mess with Texas, don’t mess with Utah, and don’t mess with America’s pulpits!”
Jeff Chamberlain called on citizens to shout from their rooftops, “Enough, no more! Militant activists transforming our culture must be stopped at the steps of our churches. Religious liberty and free speech are non-negotiable!”
In Utah during the past year, and with little opposition, over 20 towns have quietly passed NDLs, similar to Houston’s ordinance. Not only is the title misleading, supporters claim that they are “fair and reasonable” and do not “do violence to the institution of marriage.”
The truth is that NDLs are weapons to bully people of faith to comply with unjust laws that threaten both marriage and religious liberties. Even with religious institution exemptions, wedding cake bakers to t-shirt makers are intimidated and fined – or put out of business. Dropping “bathroom” language does not prevent the transgendered from filing complaints. Worse still, NDLs force a radical school agenda to normalize and teach sexual behavior that violates religious convictions. The ramifications are far more insidious than imaginable. Case in point: Houston.
The Houston Five proved that when you stand up to bullies, bullies back down. The day after their nationally broadcast news conference, the mayor withdrew the subpoenas.
After Utah voters overwhelmingly supported Amendment 3, they were outraged that a single rogue judge would be allowed to overturn the democratic process. This was an act of gross unconstitutional judicial activism. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review Utah’s case did not rule against Amendment 3. Instead, SCOTUS sent the matter back to Utah to decide. One State Senator stood up publicly to declare: “It’s still Utah’s constitutional law.”
We agree, and it appears that the Sixth Circuit also agrees. Eighty Utah legislators have also agreed. They filed an amicus brief. They say this is an infringement of states’ rights.
The Sunday following the Houston news conference, thousands gathered at Grace Community Church to stand with the Houston Five. They spoke with gusto amid cheering applause and standing ovations. Pastor Dave Welch called for “a national revival” saying, “We need to repent. We have been asleep and have allowed this country to decay on our watch.”
Three of the five had risked their lives escaping communist tyrannies. Pastor Magda Hermida from Cuba said, “We never thought we would see this happening in our country. This is the police state we experienced in Cuba. We cannot allow this now — or ever.” Pastor Khanh Huynh from Vietnam, a boat survivor, said, “The first freedoms to go were speech and religion. I never thought I’d see that marching boot of tyranny here.”
These religious leaders are willing to fall on the sword for religious liberty, of which the definition of marriage is the central focus. So what are Utah’s religious leaders and legislators willing to do? Or is it all just rhetoric?
Back in Utah, I mingled with friends who asked how my week had gone. “I was with the Houston Five!” I said. No one had heard of them. I realized then it’s not just Houston that’s got a problem. Utah’s got a problem. We also need to awaken from our slumber.
We urge the 80 members of its state legislature elected by the people to show leadership and to echo the 6th Circuit Court. Continue to defend the will of the people and its marriage law, as they did in the Courts. Oppose and repeal non-discrimination laws before it’s too late. Stand with the Houston Five – Be the Houston Five. No. Be the Utah Five. This is Utah’s defining moment. Who are we, really?
Cherilyn Eagar is a former candidate for U.S. Senate and President of American Leadership Fund, a Utah state PAC. American Leadership Fund represented marriage laws in Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah with amicus briefs in the 4th, 10th Circuit Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
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