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.
Fortunately, the Christians in El Paso who have fought against this measure are not without a voice and legal representation. The Alliance Defense Fund has come along beside them and has collected 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.
ADF understands that the mayor can’t be allowed to put his opponents in jail just because they participated in a valid effort that he doesn’t favor – unless El Paso has suddenly relocated to Communist China.
The citizens of El Paso deserve better, and ADF is trying to make sure they get it by seeking a change in the Texas election law so that there is no longer any ambiguity about every state law’s need to respect rights protected by the First Amendment. In the meantime, the mayor cannot abuse this election law, intended to regulate financial political contributions, to stifle the political activity of his opponents. That battle is on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court on an expedited basis.
This isn’t Cuba or North Korea: it’s the United States of America. And here, where religious liberty and freedom of speech and assembly are constitutionally protected, the will of the people takes precedence over the arrogance of those who wish to set up their own kingdoms.