The anti-Christian saga of the El Paso, Texas city government continues.
In November 2010, the people of El Paso voted to pass an ordinance to block the city government from extending benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees. Several members of the city council, along with the mayor took it upon themselves to ignore the will of the voters and they rescinded the ordinance and then passed a measure to extend benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of city employees.
Consequently, a number of El Paso citizens including Pastor Tom Brown launched a recall campaign against Mayor John Cook and the city council members. Brown has repeatedly said that he was involved in the recall petitions as a private citizen not as a church leader and that his church had nothing to do with the recall. However, Mayor Cook challenged the recall, claiming it was illegally launched by a religious institution and the courts upheld the challenge.
Then it was announced that the El Paso District Attorney had launched an investigation into Pastor Tom Brown and was considering filing felony charges against him for his illegal involvement with the petition.
Now, El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza is launching an investigation into members of churches throughout El Paso that signed the recall petition. Since the court ruled the recall petition to be illegal and subject to criminal charges, Esparza believes that every church member who also took part in and signed the petition may also be charged with crimes.
Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster said,
“El Paso citizens should not live in fear of being arrested and jailed for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech.
“We have more than 250 signed affidavits from local citizens who are terrified that they may go to jail for their legitimate political and free speech efforts. This is America, and the mayor can’t be allowed to put his opponents in jail just because he doesn’t like the fact that they participated in a valid effort that he doesn’t favor.”
Throughout this entire ordeal, it has become evident that some members of the El Paso city council are outright hostile to anything Christian and even to those wishing to use their First Amendment right to free speech.
In one of the earlier hearings, a woman tried to address the council about their criticism of churches and people of faith. One of the city council members told her she only had 70 seconds to speak and then she should take freedom of speech outside. The event was recorded on video, but the courts seem to care less that her rights were so openly violated.
Upon hearing the disrespectful comment from the city councilman, Father Michael Rodriguez made an urgent request to the council that they not extend benefits to same-sex partners because of religious grounds. Councilman Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke tried to attack Father Rodriguez’s request by challenging the moral failings of the church on other issues, saying,
“I want to know why this for you has become the burning issue of its day and how you can stand here with a straight face and say that this is a priority for the church and, and I can think of two obvious cases where the church has failed on a global level, uh, for one, I know in the very recent past the pope, our current pope, was in Africa, telling the people in that country (sic) who are suffering a holocaust of HIV and AIDS infection not to use condoms. I can think of another very significant and serious problem within the Catholic church which is the proven widespread abuse of children within the care of the Catholic church. I wonder where your outspokenness is on those issues…”
At this meeting, city council members continue to attack anyone that was Christian and Mayor Cook did not make any attempts to stop the councilmen from doing so. But when Elizabeth Branham took the podium a week later, she addressed the mayor and council saying,
“I’m here not to chastise you for your obvious lack of civility and decorum, nor address your permissiveness in allowing certain council members to personalize their attacks on certain speakers at this podium. Mayor, you specifically stated at last week’s city council meeting June the 14th that you would not allow personal attacks yet you let it happen anyway. Mr. O’Rourke, you stated at last week’s public hearings that you want to be remembered for decades for the decisions you made at city council. You will be remembered, sir, for many things. Last week, you wrongfully and disrespectfully attacked Father Michael Rodriguez and the moral failings of the Catholic church. You stated that Fr. Rodriguez was taking the moral high ground in this debate and I quote you as stating. I think there is fair folks, totally out of line…”
At which point Mayor Cook interrupted her, saying that her time was up and then proceeded to tell her,
“Thank you, your time is over. If you can’t remove yourself from the podium, I’ll have you removed. Yeah. You can take your freedom of speech outside.”
From the testimony seen on the video, the Mayor is guilty of violating the First Amendment rights of free speech of Elizabeth Brahnam and I’m sure the records will show of others also. The citizenry of El Paso should be outraged at the conduct of Mayor Cook and the city council for their attack on Christendom and morality. The people need to move as a unified body to recall these anti-Christian politicians and remove them from office. And if necessary to play their game, don’t let any pastors sign the petitions, but have thousands of outraged Texans demand that action be taken immediately.
And while they’re at it, they need to do something to remove the district attorney as well. He is obviously anti-Christian with his witch hunt. Besides, isn’t his investigation targeting just church members who signed the petition with criminal charges a violation of the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to redress of government? Such flagrant constitutional violations need to be addressed and punished post haste.