Pastor Becky Riggle of Grace Community Church in Houston stood before Houston City Council this week to give her opinion on HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
Pastor Riggle thinks it’s OK to discriminate, as long as you’re doing it in the name of religion. Let’s be clear, when Pastor Riggle suggests a need for a religious exemption, she’s not just talking about discriminating against gays, lesbians and transgenders.
City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen asked the good pastor if it was OK to discriminate against her since she’s Jewish. Cohen had to ask several times and Pastor Riggle said yes, but that’s not the issue.
The good pastor didn’t explain why it wasn’t the issue since the ordinance protects people from discrimination based on a list of categories, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion among them.
Bigots like Riggle weren’t the majority of people who came to City Hall and the proceedings weren’t as contentious as those in San Antonio last year.
Equality Texas Field Organizer Daniel Williams was at Houston City Hall.
“Fortunately Pastor Riggle does not represent the vast majority of Houston clergy,” Williams said. “In public testimony supportive clergy have outnumbered those in opposition two to one and more than 70 faith leaders in Houston have signed a letter in support of the HERO.”
The vast majority of clergy understand that all forms of discrimination are wrong. They understand they could be the next target. Perfect example: Pastor Riggle thinks she has the right to discriminate against Councilwoman Cohen because the councilwoman is Jewish.
A vote on HERO is delayed two weeks and in the mean time, I think good Houstonians should demonstrate to the pastor just what discrimination looks like. The checker at the supermarket should tell her he’s not going to ring up her groceries. The dry cleaner should refuse to take her clothes. The waitress at her favorite restaurant should refuse her service. Each should explain they’re religion requires them to refuse service to bigots.
Here’s the video of the good pastor’s ugly comments: