Expand

An equal rights ordinance making headway in Houston—one that is, in part, intended to protect gay rights—has come under the national microscope for another reason. Reports recently surfaced that city attorneys subpoenaed sermon notes from local pastors that preached against the ordinance. The move has ignited a conversation about First Amendment rights that quickly got very fiery. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote:

The separation of church and state means that we will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and we will. But the preaching of the church of God does not belong to Caesar, and we will not hand it over to him. Not now. Not ever.

A more measured response comes from Eugene Volokh, who teaches free speech law, religious freedom law and church-state relations law at UCLA. He writes that subpoenaing sermons is legal "in principle ...if they are sufficiently relevant to a case or an investigation" but believes Houston's city attorneys' demands for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession” is problematic and "at the very least ...seems vastly overbroad" ...

Update: Houston Mayor Annise Parker appeared to tweet her support of the subpoenas today, but clarified in a statement that she was unaware the subpoenas had been issued until yesterday and would seek to narrow their scope. Discuss

How do you feel about Hillary Clinton? There are definitely a lot of different opinions out there, but 10-year-old Macy Friday (her actual, awesome name) LOVES Hillary Clinton, as you can see in the photo below. Clinton was in Colorado to help support Senator Mark Udall's bid for re-election, and Macy was there with her parents and they got to meet Clinton and we got this photo which, people of all political stripes agree, is quite a photo. It seems Mrs. Clinton's popularity with the kids is faring somewhat better than President Barack Obama's ... Discuss

Of all the places that would be hard to intrude, it seems like the White House would be the hardest. But Omar Jose Gonzalez, the man who was arrested earlier this month for charging into the residence, made it much further than Secret Service officials initially reported, according to the Washington Post. Early reports said the intruder was stopped at the front door, but it seems a knife-wielding Gonzalez managed to jump the White House fence, sprint across the lawn, past a Secret Service guard, into the residence and into the White House's East Room before finally being tackled by an agent. In fact, he darted right past a staircase that led directly to the Obamas' living room.

The security breakdown appears to begin with "crash boxes"—alarms that are set to go off whenever anyone treads on the White House lawn. Those had been either turned down or completely disabled by White House ushers who found them "disruptive." But the list of failures doesn't end there—Gonzalez, intentionally or otherwise, dodged at least five checkpoints, including a group of plainclothes officers, a security guard, an attack dog and an entire SWAT team. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will testify about what went wrong in front of Congress on Tuesday and has called the breach "unacceptable" ... Discuss

He may be President of the United States of America, but young Madison of Washington DC knows who really run the world. So when Madison's teacher informed her class they'd be having a special guest help them with their 9/11 memorial project, Madison got her hopes up that Queen Bey would stop by, only to have her hopes crushed when it merely turned out to be President Barack Obama and the First Lady. When Obama took a seat next to Madison to help her out, she told him outright: "I really wanted it to be [Beyoncé]," she said, "but then I realized it was gonna be you."

To his credit, the President responded, "Malia and Sasha would feel the same way." Madison later tried to recant and say she was really glad the President was there but, between this and the President's young guest from earlier this week, it's difficult to shake the feeling that kids may just not care about politics all that much ... Discuss

In this picture, we see President Barack Obama meeting with a departing Secret Service agent and his wife, thanking them for their service to their country. We also see the couple's son, and he is just not having any of it. Whether this photo says more about the state of politics or parenting probably depends more on the viewer than anything, but maybe there is no metaphor here, other than yet another monumental tribute to the boredom of childhood and the fact that kids can get away with things that most of us can not ... Discuss

Today, President Barack Obama made a statement on the operation against ISIS in Iraq and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. His speech begins around the 1:09:00 mark below ... Discuss