Ted Cruz: Christian Pastors Will Soon Be ‘Hauled Off To Jail’ For Opposing Gay Marriage

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has joined opponents of Houston’s gay-inclusive anti-discrimination law after city attorneys defending the city issued subpoenas to several anti-gay pastors.

According to OnTopMag:

After opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) failed in an attempt to put the law on the ballot in November, they filed a lawsuit claiming that city officials had illegally rejected their petition for a public vote.

The city sent out subpoenas to several pastors asking them to hand over “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

Cruz called the move by city attorneys “shocking and shameful.”

“This is wrong. It’s unbefitting of Texans, and it’s un-American,” Cruz said. “The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons. These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people. The mayor should be ashamed. And we should all be proud to stand up and defend the pastors who are resisting these blatant attempts to suppress their First Amendment rights.”

A spokesperson for Mayor Parker told The Huffington Post she was unaware of the subpoena requests.

“The subpoenas were issued by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the trial regarding the petition to repeal the new Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in January,” Evans said. “Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until Tuesday. Both agree the original documents were overly broad. The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Attorney Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.”

Cruz said the city has no authority to “silence the church,” during a press conference. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN), Cruz agreed that the government was attempting to silence pastors who oppose marriage equality.

When Cruz was asked whether we’ll “soon go through a period where pastors are hauled off to jail for a hate crime because they are speaking for traditional marriage,” Cruz said, “I think that is a real risk and you and I have both pointed to that risk in the past.”

Under the 1954 Johnson Amendment, tax-exempt 501(C) organizations, including most churches, are banned from intervening in political campaigns.

JoeMyGod adds:

For the last several years, hundreds of Christian churches have participated in an annual event called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, during which pastors openly violate the Johnson Amendment. The event was expressly created in order to goad the federal government into finally charging somebody so that the law’s repeal could be achieved. So far the feds have not taken the bait. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is a project of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is screaming the loudest about homofascism in Houston. Secretly, though, you know they are thrilled.