Dear Madam Mayor,
Several weeks have passed since word first circulated that Houston city leaders were planning to force area pastors to submit their sermons and personal correspondence to your office. Print headlines and radio alerts decried your attempts to unduly scrutinize and systematically silence their attempts to freely express their opinions on and objections to some of the political postures taken in Houston.
Being this far removed from the center of controversy, I am certain that at least some of the information that has filtered down to us is inaccurate. But, the fact remains that at least some of the observations are, nonetheless, true. Subtle attacks on Christian convictions are real and intimidation of Christian congregants is apparent. Though this is true of the current situations in Houston, this is not the topic of this letter.
It has been widely reported that last week your office put out a news spot that reported your statement, ‘I DO NOT INTEND TO ALLOW ANYONE TO VOTE ON MY MORALITY’. While I understand that statement and acknowledge your right to say it, it does prompt me to offer a few personal observations.
First, allow me to observe that currently most Americans are involved in a passionate pursuit of ‘POWER’, ‘POPULARITY’, ‘POSSESSIONS’ and/or ‘PLEASURE’. Unbridled drive for these four goals marks the modern expression of American freedom. Rarely will one find a community, family or other grouping of individuals that is not determined to reach these ends. It seems likely that your administration in general and you in particular are ensnared in these same pursuits.
Second, admittedly, you have a certain level of authority commensurate with your elected office. With that comes a certain measure of power that must be understood. All authority has the same source: God. When Jesus, God’s Son, was being tried, Pilate, Procurator of Rome, sneered, “Don’t you know that I have power over you to either crucify you or set you free?” To which Jesus replied, “You would have no power unless it was given you from above (from God).” This truth includes you, Madam Mayor. Your authority is not derived from the voting majority of the Houston constituency. It comes from God. And all authority derived FROM Him is accountable TO Him. Sooner or later, we will ALL give an accounting to Him of how we lived here. Extreme caution is called for as we live our lives before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.
Third, since God will judge each person impartially and equitably, we should live before Him expressing His morality: ‘a serving attitude’, ‘humility’, ‘self-denial’ and self-control–virtues that are not only in stark contrast to our common pursuits, but, are also eternal in their scope. Our nation is in serious need of leaders who exemplify these Godly values.
Fourth, one need not read The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire in order to understand the truth of the phrase: ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people’.
Finally, I implore you to pursue ‘faith and a good conscience’. Some have rejected these and so have ruined their own lives. Please seek the Lord while He may be found.
Chuck Gaston, a Wisconsin pastor