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More bad news for Houston’s Parker

If Houston Mayor Annise Parker was looking to Washington for help in her battle against pastors, she won’t find much. Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, let the Texas leader know where he stood in a personal letter to the mayoral bully. A Bush appointee, Kirsanow urged Parker to rescind the subpoena and leave local pastors to talk about moral issues as they see fit. While the city claims it relaxed its demands on pastors, the reality is that at least five churches have been ordered to surrender 17 forms of communication to the mayor — despite never being party to the original lawsuit!

In Kirsanow’s mind, this is a shocking “abuse of government power” and a “blatant attempt to punish these pastors for expressing their religiously-based political views.” It subjects them, he writes, “to the stress of a subpoena (though they are not parties to the litigation), impairing their right to petition the government, forcing them to comply with a patently overbroad discovery request, and singling them out for opprobrium — thus chilling future religiously informed speech.” Even under his own name, Kirsanow’s letter is a significant moment in the debate, which has now drawn the ire of Washington officials too.

Locally, the hot seat is only getting hotter. Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News joined the Houston Chronicle in calling out the Mayor in a scathing editorial that accuses Houston of “going too far.” “The city’s new subpoenas might be worded more softly, but it isn’t clear Houston City Hall is getting the message it should.”

On November 2nd, FRC will join with others in doing our best to help the Mayor get that message in a special Houston simulcast, I Stand Sunday, at Grace Community Church. Together with Phil and Alan Robertson, Governor Mike Huckabee, David and Jason Benham, Fox News’s Todd Starnes, and area pastors, we’ll remind Houston of the freedom this nation was founded on. Tune in at 6 p.m. (CT)! For more, check out

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