All he did was circulate recall petitions, the bishop says.
Two federal courts and the state attorney general have sided with him. But the former mayor and a local judge appear out for blood to the tune of $475,000 straight from the pocket of Bishop Tom Brown.
"This is the most unjust action that has ever taken place against any church in the United States of America," Brown says. He leads Word of Life Church in El Paso, Texas.
Attorneys for the city said the recall election was a political process and as such, the city is not supposed to take sides. The former mayor argued he was sworn to defend the law and, since he believed petitioners broke election laws, the city should have backed him up, KVIA reports.
"He is clearly entitled to speak out publicly against an elected official," Brown's attorney Joel Oster says. "The Texas attorney general came in on the side of Tom Brown, and two federal courts say this is not violation, but Tom Brown was facing over $1 million in attorney fees to appeal and lose. So rather than face that grave uncertainty, he settled the case for his church."
The court handed down the settlement last month, but Oster says the pastor has filed a counter claim in a lawsuit that's already sucked up five years of the Brown's life.
The free-speech battle began when Brown demanded a recall for the election of former El Paso, Texas, Mayor John Cook. The judge says Brown broke the law, and the bishop says the judge refused to grant him a jury trial.
Cook sued for his attorney's fees, which amassed to more than $1 million. Brown put his church up as collateral. If Brown did not settle, he would have lost his church.
"In America, someone is liable for speaking out against an elected official? This is an outrage!" Oster says.
Brown is heart-broken and confused. Religious freedom cases consistently make headlines, but he says few have acknowledged his.
"People are just not caring about what happened to our church in El Paso," Brown says. "Everyone's silent. This is serious. We have to pay $475,000."
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!
- Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details