Christians across America will participate in “I Stand Sunday” on November 2.
Hosted by Family Research Council and other partners, “I Stand Sunday” will gather speakers from across the nation at Grace Community Church in Houston, TX, to focus on the freedom to live out our faith free of government intrusion or monitoring.
More specifically, participants will stand with pastors and churches in Houston who were unduly intimidated by the city’s mayor in demanding they hand over private church communication.
NRB and many others were alarmed earlier this month by the City of Houston’s subpoena of local pastors’ church sermons. The catalyst was the City of Houston’s legal defense of the relatively new and controversial “Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).” The City sent its demand for an expansive list of communications from five pastors not party to a lawsuit against the ordinance. Item 12 in the subpoena would have compelled these pastors to turn over “[a]ll 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.” If the pastors refused, they could have potentially faced fines or imprisonment.
In response, numerous organizations across the nation issued calls to stop the subpoena of sermons, including Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a motion in a Texas court to stop the attempt. The City of Houston later revised the subpoena to remove the word “sermon” but still demanded more than a dozen other categories of communications from the pastors, who were not party to the suit. On Wednesday, the mayor announced that the city would withdraw the subpoenas.
“The First Amendment was enacted to protect pre-existing freedoms of religion and speech, known by our nation’s Founders to be gifts from God,” observed Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, in response to the original subpoenas. “The government has no right to intimidate pastors in the pulpit, or, quite frankly, to squelch anyone’s free religious expression and free speech. Period.”
Regarding the news of Houston's intention to withdraw the subpoenas, Dr. Johnson added, “We are thankful that the First Amendment prevailed in this case. Many voices rose up to protest this government overreach, and we must remain vigilant to sound the alarm if ever the government attempts to tread on our first freedoms.”
Sunday’s event at Grace Community Church will be broadcast live by the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) and American Family Radio (AFR, www.afr.net) starting from 7 p.m. ET. A rebroadcast is planned for 9 p.m. (ET).
In addition to AFR’s broadcasting the live event, AFA’s Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis and Host of Focal Point, and Jim Stanley, AFR’s Radio Operations Manager, will host a pre-event show as well as post-event broadcast from “I Stand Sunday,” live from Houston.
Confirmed speakers at “I Stand Sunday” include:
By NRB Staff
Published: October 30, 2014