Texas Attorney General Releases Statement Supporting Justice of the Peace in Dispute with the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
March 23, 2017) Montgomery County, Texas includes many of the suburbs north of the City of Houston in the Southeast part of the state. A Justice of the Peace there, Wayne Mack has a guest chaplain program. These volunteers offer support and counsel at the scene of death investigations. These volunteers are also called upon to lead a brief prayer at the beginning of Judge Mack’s court proceedings.
Last year Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick asked the Attorney General for a legal opinion on Judge Mack’s practices. It is worth noting that Lt. Governor Patrick has always enjoyed a large amount of support from Texas’ Pro Family/Christian Conservative movement. So it is likely that he requested the opinion to grant Judge Mack a degree of legal cover, not to stop the practices. In August of last year AG Paxton released opinion KP-0109. In this six page opinion AG Paxton held that Judge Mack’s actions were in line with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece V. Galloway, and other precedents, and therefore were not in violation of the state of federal constitutions.
On this past Tuesday March 21st. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit against Judge Mack seeking to end his use of chaplains. Paxton responded the following day with an official statement saying
“Judge Mack is fully complying with the Constitution by adhering to the model for opening prayers the Supreme Court endorsed just a few years ago,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The Freedom from Religion Foundation’s quest to expunge any vestige of religion from public life flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s holdings. I am confident our courts will follow years of precedents and not indulge a litigious group’s plea to rewrite the Constitution.”
January 08, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council‘s (FRC) Ken Klukowski, J.D., has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 49 Members of Congress supporting the Alliance Defending Freedom’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Town of Greece v. Galloway.
In Galloway, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the use of public prayer before town meetings in the town of Greece was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. The Second Circuit court ruled this despite the town’s highly inclusive policy that allowed even practicing Wiccans and atheists to offer civic prayers.
Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, authored the amicus brief on behalf of the Members of Congress. In the brief, he compared prayer before town meetings to the legislative prayers before the U.S. House of Representatives, and noted:
“In this Court’s sole examination of legislative prayer in Marsh v. Chambers, the Court determined the constitutionality of legislative prayer as practiced in Nebraska and nationwide primarily by analyzing Congress’ legislative prayer practice. The Court looked approvingly to legislative prayer dating to the Founding, in the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention, and First Congress that drafted the Establishment Clause.
“While no written prayers from the First Congress survive, other contemporaneous public prayers suggest the sort of content found in early legislative prayers. Similar prayers are offered in Congress today. If the Second Circuit’s rule were correct, then Congress would have been violating the Constitution for more than two centuries.”
Tony Perkins , president of the Family Research Council, made the following comments:
“Once again Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is trying to reinterpret the Constitution’s protection of religious liberty into a declaration against religion. The Founders understood that religion is good for society, and defended ‘the free exercise thereof.’ Family Research Council is honored that 49 Members of Congress, including the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have chosen FRC to present their arguments to the nation’s highest Court. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the freedom-threatening Second Circuit opinion in this case, and reverse it.”
- US Supreme Court asked to weigh in on strange ruling against NY town’s prayer policy (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
- Atheist Group Pressures New Members of Congress Not to Join Prayer Caucus (foxnewsinsider.com)