The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religious Foundation is at it again in Texas. This time the atheist organization is threatening the League City, Texas City Council for opening its meetings with prayers. This is the same organization that has threatened nativity scenes in Texas and even unsuccessfully sued Gov. Rick Perry to prevent him from participating in a Houston prayer rally.
Our country has a long, 200+ year history of beginning government meetings with prayer that date all the way back to the First Congress of the United States. The important Marsh v. Chambers case has also made it very clear that such legislative prayers are constitutional.
In addition to attempting to force the city to ban opening prayers, in the threatening letter from the Wisconsin atheists, their attorney even resorts to trying to argue that Jesus condemned prayer by government officials by severely taking passages of Scripture out of context (a common ploy of these atheists groups).
Thankfully, city leaders in League City are standing up to these bullies and have indicated that they are not backing down.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Mayor Tim Paulissen has stated that the city has no plans to change their meeting format:
“The city has been doing this since 1962, and nobody has ever complained, to my knowledge,” said the mayor this afternoon. “It’s not just my stance. I have the full support of those on the city council, too.”
“This is what our forefathers did, too,” he adds, mentioning that the first Continental Congress even prayed before their official business.
He is exactly right.
But, the attacks on prayer and religious freedom in Texas continue to grow. Last year, we presented testimony with legal analysis to Hays County when their prayers were threatened by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In that situation, as well, local leaders stood firm and voted to continue the opening legislative prayers.
It is unfortunate that these misguided organizations continue to target the religious freedom of Texans across the state. Religious freedom is a core Texas value, and Texans must continue to be ready to stand for their most foundational freedom. Those looking to ban all religious freedom from the public square know that if they can reach success in Texas, they will easily be able to curtail religious freedoms across the country.