Threats to the Pulpits

Free Speech Under Attack Again

By Harry M. Covert

I know great care and concern must be used before describing someone a fool. The time is nigh to say so and say it loud and clear throughout the land.

Before I get carried away here I must confess I was truly laughing out loud. I thought some show biz wits were making fun again of vicars, rectors and pastors of all sorts. Then the only adjective I could think of was fool. The Bible tells us, the fool says “there is no God.”

The news out of Houston, Texas, was this: the elected mayor planned and wanted to subpoena all pulpiteering where clergy preached against homosexual lifestyles that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). This is no matter what the Scriptures teach.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column has appeared in Virtueonline.org. The Texas mayor has since rescinded her serious desire to take away religious rights.

I stopped laughing at this point. The heathens are in public office. Then the story popped up where Pope Francis I appears jumping on the bandwagon and wants to ease up on the teaching against sin, maybe changing the rules against reprobate priests, archbishops and even Cardinals. I was a bit surprised but pleased that a majority of bishops disagreed with Rome’s Holy Man and have put a damper for the time being.

The trends going on are not new. Such attacks on churches and the “redesignation” of what is sin are looming boldly throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

Those believers in Christendom appear to be threatened Big Time and traditional believers may be a bit scared to stand up and be counted outside of the friendly confines of their churches, cathedrals or tents.

If Houston’s mayor has done anything she may have singlehandedly brought together Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Anglicans and Episcopalians. I can only imagine how pastors of past and present would and will react if subpoenas for sermons and teachings reached them.

I visualize civil disobedience like never before. The mayor is indeed a fool. No matter how she and her city lawyers try to explain such illegal and complete nonsense. The Lone Star state’s preachers would not only laugh in her face but stand firm and bring about a battle not seen since the Alamo. Names like W.A. Criswell, T. D. Jakes, James Robison, Ed Young, R. W. Schambach, T. L. Osborn, T.L. Lowery, Pat Robertson, David Jeremiah, Jonathan Falwell, Bob Harrington, just to name a few, would cease to be quiet and have new ministerial lives.

Imagine the national furor that would come from preachers like Billy Sunday, the baseball player turned evangelist, firebrands like Bob Jones, senior and junior, Billy Graham, Myron Augsburger, Jerry Falwell, Charles Stanley, Richard Halverson and E.V. Hill, even Joel Osteen. There are others and the responses would be more volatile than the Sixties. Probably ECUSA’s late Bishop Pike might even stand tall for once.

However, the matter from the Houston mayor, Annise Parker, is a symptom of the continuing assault on Christianity in America. It too stands as a symbol of the battle for souls in the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Communion in the United Kingdom.

Further intrusions on constitutional guarantees are sneaking up, too. The current national administration has brought criminal charges against reporters who gather news from confidential sources. The media folks need to stand up and take great precaution for their rights to print and broadcast the news. The Houston matter is no joke. It is serious business that the unwashed, detractors and haters of Christian teachings want to destroy religion and religions. This is not new.

Assaults on pastors who decline to conduct same sex marriages are growing. Even businesses that refuse to make wedding cakes and other sundries for the LGBT communities are threatened with civil suits and other actions.

Attacks on traditional ECUSA churches continue to be dangerous, destructive and against the Articles of Religion.

Laughter at the idiocy of the Houston politician does brings about some tears. Rectors, pastors, rabbis, even Imams must return to vociferous vocal leadership.

Who can forget the tearful photo of Iron Eyes Cody, famed Italian-born Indian character who was the face of “Keep America Beautiful?” The campaign is appropriate today. There are tears everywhere for the freedom of churches, ministers and congregations.