Texas mayor says women can’t lead prayer at council meetings

Church pews with bibles (WDIV)

WYLIE, Texas – The mayor of a Dallas suburb told a fellow City Council member in an email that women shouldn’t be allowed to lead prayer at public meetings because he believes it goes against teachings in the Bible.

Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue quoted two New Testament scriptures in the email sent to City Council member Jeff Forrester in which he suggested that the council instead select young men to give the invocation at the next meeting on May 26.

“All I ask is that those leading the public prayer be young men,” Hogue, who is currently serving his last term as mayor after 12 years, wrote on May 17. “As a preacher for the Cottonwood Church of Christ, we take the two verses below literally.”

He then cites a passage in 1 Corinthians that, according to his email, says: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

He subsequently follows up that quote with another passage from 1 Timothy: “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Forrester said he hasn’t seen Hogue disparage women in his nearly five years as a council member but noted that he was “shocked by his response.”

“I certainly don’t share those beliefs. I think we’re all created equally in the eyes of God and in the eyes of our government,” added Forrester, who said the city manager told him it was released through an open records request.

Hogue's email surfaced on the Facebook page of the mayor’s church in addition to a page devoted to local politics in Wylie, which has a population of about 50,000. Hogue on Wednesday confirmed the email’s authenticity to WFAA-TV and expounded on his beliefs.

“I believe a lady can be president of the United States,” Hogue said. “I believe a lady can be CEO of a company, the superintendent of a school district. But I believe, and this is me, when it comes to (picking) somebody to lead the invocation at a City Council meeting, because of those two sets of verses, I’m going to choose a male.”