Houston’s Mayoral Inauguration Day Brings Along Prayer and Protestors

Annise Parker, Houston's newly inaugarated mayor

Downtown Houston’s Wortham Center was the site for the public inauguration ceremonies of Mayor Annise Parker as well as city council members and other newly-elected officials on Monday, January 4th.  One of the Houston Chronicle’s political writers blogged the event.   Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. and the largest with an openly gay mayor.   Mayor Parker was the winner of a December 12th run-off election.  (Watch the new mayor’s inaugural speech here.)

A big surprise for me is that giving the prayer for the inauguration was Joel Osteen of Houston’s mega Lakewood Church, which is now housed in the building that was the previous arena for the Houston Rockets of the NBA (the Summit, later called Compaq Center).  I put this in almost the same category as Rick Warren giving the convocation at President Obama’s inauguration just a year ago.  It was only a couple of months ago when Osteen appeared on The View and said, “. . . homosexuality is not God’s best.”   If Osteen doesn’t think Annise Parker is one of God’s best, why did he consent to give the prayer at her inauguration?   Also why was he picked to speak by those doing the planning?

Osteen has a big draw in Houston, and I know some gay people that go to Lakewood.  I also know gay Catholics and gay Mormons.  I don’t know why gay people would want to belong to a church whose leader doesn’t think they are God’s best.  I also don’t know why gay people want to belong to any church that keeps hammering them down.

Speaking of hammering, some of the Phelps clan from Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church are in town to protest Annise Parker’s inauguration.  However, the Phelpses aren’t one-stop shoppers when it comes to hating;  according to their website (the name of which is such a pejorative that I would not deign to give them the satisfaction of writing it), they are making a 2-day trip of it  in order to picket a wide spectrum of venues, which include among others, the Co-cathedral downtown, the Holocaust Museum, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish school, and even Osteen’s own Lakewood Church.

Watch part of the ceremonies at the Wortham Theater:

(Click on Home for other posts on Annise Parker’s election.)

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Annise Parker Officially Sworn In as Houston’s Mayor

It's official! Annise Parker is now the mayor of Houston.The cutline in the Houston Chronicle reads: "Mayor Annise Parker gets sworn in with her grandparents’ Bible, shown being held by Parker's partner, Kathy Hubbard, on Saturday. State District Judge Steven Kirkland administers the oath." (Photo by Jenny Antill)

Annise Parker became Houston’s mayor on Saturday (Jan. 2nd) as she was officially sworn in with her partner Kathy Hubbard at her side.  There will be a public inauguration on Monday.  After all the publicity surrounding the new mayor’s sexuality during the recent run-off election and after her win, the quiet ceremony indicates how serious and business-like Houston’s new top official will take her responsibilities.  Read the Chronicle‘s article here.

Houston Newspaper “Chronicles” the Life and Times of Annise Parker, the City’s New Mayor-elect

From the front page of today's Houston Chronicle

Now that initial surprise is wearing off that the fourth-largest city in the U.S. will soon have a top official who is gay, more in-depth stories about mayor-elect Annise Parker and those close around her are appearing in the media.  Today’s Sunday Houston Chronicle included articles by Joe Holley on Parker as well  as her partner Kathy Hubbard.  While the article on Kathy appeared both in the print and online editions (read it here), the article “Not So Shy Now” about the mayor-to-be appeared only in the print version as the lead photo story on page one that jumped to page eight, which it filled completely.  The Chronicle‘s sister paper, The Dallas Morning News, carried a shorter, redacted version of the Holley article online.

By reading news media and blogs from all over the world, it is evident that Annise Parker’s recent election here in Houston has grabbed the attention of those far afield from the Bayou City.  As of yet, no archives of the longer version seem to be available.  I have saved mine to pdf files (because I think it’s a piece of history work keeping).