There is no end to the number of government officials in America who think they have authority from God Almighty to ignore the First Amendment Establishment Clause and use their public positions to promote their religious beliefs. I have the obligation to call them out time and time again. Dealing with these sanctimonious morons is like playing the game of whack-a-mole with a ping pong paddle.
Now in Texas we have Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack, who has installed his own tradition of beginning each session of his court with Christian prayers. But don’t say he didn’t warn us. He campaigned for his government job vowing it instill "religious values” in his office and promised to implement a "chaplaincy program."
The judge, at the start of each session, tells all the people in his courtroom, onlookers, lawyers and litigants alike, that if they are offended by the prayer, "you can leave into the hallway and your case will not be affected." Then a minister of the Christian gospel stands up and reads from the Bible to the congregation. After this sermon, with Judge Mack looking on, the preacher asks everyone to bow their heads in prayer.
Naturally, all the litigants and their lawyers in the courtroom feel coerced to participate in the religious rituals as they believe that the outcome of their personal court case will be affected by how Judge Mack sees them react.
Will the judge look favorably upon them if they bow their heads in prayer?
Will he punish them if they don’t?
Proponents of Judge Mack’s “tradition” claim that it is a “settled issue.” "Judge Mack's program is an excellent idea and a great way to serve the community… It has already been upheld by both The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Texas Attorney General."
Well, isn’t that precious? It serves the community? Good luck on that idea with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, Judge Mack. Your religious “tradition” goes way too far, is unconstitutional, and the federal courts will strike it down.
Suppose, for example, that another Texas judge installed a “tradition” of starting each session of his court with a little missive about why God and Jesus are imaginary. Do you think that The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Texas Attorney General would uphold that “tradition”?
I don’t thinks so.
Order in the court: Let us not pray.