Judge gets sued for opening court proceedings in prayer
Created on: 27th March 2017
Justice of the Peace, Wayne Mack, is being sued by The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (advocates for separation of state and church) for allowing prayer before the start of court proceedings. Judge Mack would allow the courtroom tradition of having guest pastors and chaplains offer an invocation before each session.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in Houston against Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack. The Wisconsin-based Foundation says the lawsuit, also by two attorneys and an atheist, seeks to halt prayer in Mack's courtroom in Willis.
According to the lawsuit, Mack vowed to institute "religious values within the office" during his 2014 Republican primary campaign for his position as Justice of the Peace for Montgomery County Precinct 1. He also said that he would implement a "chaplaincy program."
"Shortly after assuming the office of Justice of the Peace on May 1, 2014, Judge Mack implemented the practice of opening each court session with a prayer delivered by a guest chaplain," the lawsuit explains.
Texas Attorney Ken Paxton, in a 2016 opinion, said Mack's courtroom prayer and volunteer chaplain program are constitutional. Signs posted outside court say people are not required to remain for invocations.
A statement Wednesday from First Liberty Institute, dedicated to protecting religious freedom for Americans, said Mack's program is a great way to serve the community.
Posted by Amanda Hopkins
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