Joel Oster

In El Paso, Texas, Democrat Mayor John Cook is literally doing whatever he can to cram his political preferences down the throats of El Pasoans who voted against him. His latest effort in this regard has been convening a grand jury in El Paso to possibly indict those who oppose his policies, based solely on their speech.

It all began in 2010, when the City Council passed a measure granting taxpayer-paid benefits for same-sex couples. The citizens responded by passing a city-wide referendum overturning the measure. Not pleased that his policies were thwarted by the people, Cook went to the City Council again and instituted the benefits anyway, basically telling the people whom he represents that they’re not running the show—rather, he is.

Making matters worse, Cook himself cast the tie-breaking vote in the City Council vote that “overrode” the referendum and the will of the people.

As a result, various citizens, including pastors, people associated with ministries, and pro-family groups throughout the city, have united and collected the signatures needed to hold accountable public officials who threw out their vote. Not to be outdone, the Mayor has now sued these Christians and is using a Texas election law to stop the recall election. The city’s district attorney has even convened a grand jury and is threatening to prosecute every church member he can who took part in gathering petition signatures.

If this seems like a Rod Serling moment to you, and if you’re listening now for the Twilight Zone music to start playing, I regret to inform you that this is reality. This is really happening. This is how those in power abuse that power. Just as President Obama has ignored the rule of law and the will of the American people via his abortion pill/birth control mandate, so too the mayor has run roughshod over the citizens of El Paso and doesn’t plan to do anything but continue his stampede.

The very mayor who told one woman at a city council meeting, “You can take your freedom of speech outside,” is not about to be challenged.

We have to remember—for ideologues, the vision they want to implement is always more important than the people they represent.


Joel Oster

Joel Oster is counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.