A Texas Judge’s Prayers and the First Amendment

Franklin_prayerPrayer is a universal assistance that billions of people all over the globe rely on when in times of distress, sadness, trouble, happiness, or gratefulness.  This practice transcends all lines of ethnicity, culture, religions, and political systems.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin openly acknowledged the dependency on prayer he and our founders had, declaring,

In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.

Over 200 years later, a Texas justice of the peace is speaking out after an atheist activist group said it’s considering a lawsuit against him for allowing chaplains to begin his courtroom sessions with prayer.

This atheist group calls Judge Wayne Mack’s actions in his Willis courtroom “unconstitutional.”

However, the good Judge asserts that the U.S. Supreme Court as well as the Texas Supreme Court begin their opening sessions with invocations and that all he’s doing is “following in their footsteps.”

Woodrow Wilcox

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To put a fine point on it, when Judge Mack calls for prayers in his courtroom, he is actually “following” the law.

It is legal.

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Let me repeat.   It is legal.

Let me briefly explain.

The United States Code refers to the Declaration of Independence as the “organic law” of the United States.  And the Declaration clearly claims that there is an Almighty Creator God, that our rights come from Him, and that the purpose of civil government is to protect and defend the God-given rights of the people. The Declaration makes reference to the Bible, God’s Word, as the source of earthly, legal authority.

But, what about “Separation of Church and State?” you might ask.  Is the irrational atheist group relying on the First Amendment to try to stop prayer?

Let’s look at it.

In the American View of law and government, when God created the world, He created our rights at the very same time.  Later, after the flood, He instituted civil government (what we now call the State) for the purpose of defending those rights that He had previously given.

Later still, as part of His redemptive plan for a fallen and sinful mankind, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and fully God Himself, instituted the Church, of which He is the Head.

Now the church and the state are separate entities and they have separate functions, and separate jurisdictions. But since God established both of these institutions, neither is separate from Him.

So, you see, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Judge, or any State or a County official, acknowledging through prayer the Word of God as authoritative and controlling in the civil affairs of men.

Actually, quite the opposite is true.  No State action or law is valid unless it conforms to God’s law and His Will.  So, prayer and Bible reading and Bible influence in civil government is totally, perfectly American…and totally legal.

So, we thank Judge Wayne Mack for doing his civil duty of praying and seeking the council of Almighty God before he tries any cases.

One further question for those naysayers:

If the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law…,” then how can another Judicial agency enforce a law that Congress cannot make?”

Learn more about your Constitution with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.


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Jake MacAulay serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), an educational outreach that presents the founders’ “American View” of law and government. The former co-host of the syndicated talk show, The Sons of Liberty, he is an ordained minister and has spoken to audiences nation-wide, and has established the American Club, a constitutional study group in public and private schools.
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