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Subpoenas, Politics, and the Christian Worldview
T. Kyle Bryant
Recently in Houston, news broke that Mayor Parker's pro bono outside counsel subpoenaed five area pastors' sermon notes (among other things) on topics related to HERO (the “Houston equal Rights Ordinance”), gender identity, homosexuality, and Mayor Parker. A swift outcry soon erupted from the Christian sphere, decrying the subpoenas as an abuse of governmental authority and serious threat to religious liberty. I covered that topic here. The reaction from prominent Christians, such as Senator Ted Cruz, was swift and stern.
Uber-Capitalists and Food Trucks
By T. Kyle Bryant
The Houston political scene has seen its share of hot-button issues lately. In June, I wrote about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which the City Council passed in May. In the intervening months, the City has undergone a public debate concerning two separate industries and whether to allow certain forms of competition in the marketplace. First, there’s the restaurant industry’s battle with Mobile Food Units (food trucks). As anyone who has lived in Houston for a while knows, food trucks have become increasingly popular in the last five years or so. These culinary caravans hop from spot to spot serving up interesting and unique food choices—mostly dishes that you can serve in a plastic bowl or in a paper bag. Food trucks must be permitted, inspected, and follow similar health regulations as brick and mortar restaurants. They are also subject to other requirements but generally permitted to serve food wherever they want—except for downtown, which boasts a bustling daytime population and, therefore, an opportunity for increased revenue for the food trucks.
The Increasing Vulnerability of Religious Liberty
By John Oliver Tyler
Two recent legal developments significantly impact Constitutional liberties. The first is the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. The second is John Boehner's decision to sue Obama. Like Ulysses' Trojan horse, both developments appear to be victories for liberty. Beneath their surface, however, both developments carry significant threats to liberty, particularly religious liberty.
The Confusion of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance
By Kyle Bryant
On Wednesday, May 28, Houston City Council passed the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance after an 11–6 vote. The ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics in city employment, city services, city contracts, housing, public accommodations, and private employment. The language in the ordinance is controversial, and its passage raises a host of questions for individuals, employers, and small businesses in Houston. For example, what does the ordinance specifically protect? To whom exactly does it apply? What are the consequences if one disobeys the ordinance? And how might it affect Christian business owners? The following is a bullet-point summary of the ordinance and what it prohibits:
Thinking Biblically About Bankruptcy
By T. Kyle Bryant
Bankruptcy can be a controversial topic among Christians. Some people think bankruptcy is a cop-out, a way for people to outrun their outrageous spending habits. Others see bankruptcy as the ultimate act of forgiveness, a chance for people to start over with a “clean slate.” And some think that we should only make such judgments on a case-by-case basis—it’s the heart of the bankrupt person that matters.
A Legal Guide for Child Killers
By John Tyler
Many cultures have killed their children. Canaanite and Phoenician parents burned their children on braziers before idols. The Carthaginians did the same. Proof of child sacrifice has been discovered near Stonehenge. The Incas and Aztecs sacrificed children during droughts. Child sacrifice is now a growth industry in Uganda, where witch doctors procure and sacrifice children for about $400.
What Would Jesus Tax?
By Sam Webb
I took Income Tax Law during the second semester of my 2L year at Texas Tech University School of Law. The course was taught by a respected professor who was loved by the students. He also happened to be a Quaker, or that was the rumor. Tech Law was an anomaly for state-funded law schools. Of the three tax professors in the faculty, each was rumored to be a Christian and one even held a Master of Divinity and was ordained clergy. Jesus not only calls tax collectors as disciples, but apparently tax professors, too!
Is The Bible Relevant To Intellectual Property?
By Tim Headley
A recent Wall Street Journal article reported how Indian companies breach intellectual-property rights of foreign companies with the tacit consent of the government (“India's Lawless War on Intellectual Property” WSJ, 3/23/14). According to the article, “New Delhi has in recent years allowed Indian companies to violate international intellectual-property norms by, among other things, producing generic versions of patented pharmaceuticals developed by European companies. This needs to stop: Violating intellectual-property rights might generate some upfront economic rewards for India but it also corrodes the foundations for long-term prosperity….After all, intellectual property is the cornerstone of innovation. It creates incentives essential for productive risk-taking.”
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