They have a lesbian mayor who has, with the city attorney, subpoenaed sermons from five Houston churches.
I'm guessing Joel Osteen's sermons were not among those. Apparently some preachers spoke out against the city's embrace of militant homosexuals via its equal rights ordinance.
Here's what Christians need to understand about getting in bed with the government. When you accept a tax-exempt status, when your finances are based on tax-exempt donations, sooner or later, you are going to find out that you have to toe the government's line. Preachers can blow and bluster all they want, but, to qualify for tax-exemption, they or the denomination went down on their knees before Caesar. I understand why that is done. I don't think it's apostasy or anything. In more reasonable times, having tax-exemption was a perfectly legitimate, sensible thing to do.
The world has changed. The government and the social milieu are increasingly hostile toward authentic, biblical Christianity. We are going to see more and more of this hate-speech type persecution aimed at Christians. I don't think there is any way to avoid that completely. But what churches can do, if they want to continue to speak the unfettered truth, is to blunt the tip of the spear by reconsidering their tax status.
Churches may want to start paying property tax in states where that's applicable. They may have to spend money on good tax attorneys and accountants to figure out how to get the pastor and the pulpit out from under IRS scrutiny. It can be done. Parishioners, members and supporters may have to decide if they are going to continue to give if some or all of their contributions are no longer deductible.
For someone like me, it is no big deal. I no longer have enough non-charitable deductions to make itemizing worthwhile, but there are many for whom it could become a sacrifice. In the end, we all have to decide if we will serve God or Mammon. We can't do both.