Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Atheists Fail to Stricken Jesus from Hays County TX

Commissioners of Hays County, Texas were not intimidated by the threat of lawsuits by the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AUSCS) because government meetings begin with prayer to Jesus Christ.  In fact, in what some media call a compromise, commissioners have agreed to formalize a policy that makes clear that prayers will NOT end, and that Jesus name will NOT be censored.
"The Commissioners Court rejected D.C. efforts to censor public prayer and stood up to anti-freedom bullies, who learned you don't mess with Hays County, Texas."
-- Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values, and a resident of Hays County
For background, read Religious Liberty and Anti-Christian Totalitarianism in America and also read Prayer in America: Hidden Faith, or Public?

-- From "Hays County leaders decide on compromise over prayer" by ABC-TV24 KVUE News (Austin) 10/16/12

For years, the commissioners court has opened with prayer, but a complaint earlier this year from a Washington-based advocacy group threatened legal action, accusing Hays County leaders of violating the First Amendment.

Commissioners voted to continue opening their weekly meetings with an invocation and have now passed a policy that lays out how and when religious leaders will be invited to give an invocation that must not coerce or disparage any other faith or belief.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Hays County will continue to allow Christian prayer during Commissioners Court" by Ciara O'Rourke, Austin American-Statesman Staff 10/16/12

Mark Kennedy, the county’s attorney, said religious leaders may continue to invoke the name of Jesus or other gods during their prayers — a practice that had led one resident to complain to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The Washington-based group asked commissioners in an April letter to either ban prayer or allow only nonsectarian prayer, noting that of 13 prayers from January to April, 10 mentioned Jesus Christ by name.

During a meeting last month, about 25 residents spoke in favor of Christian prayer, with some saying they would support the county using taxpayer funds to defend against a lawsuit by Americans United.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Despite pressure, Hays County Commissioners to continue prayer tradition" by Russell Wilde, Your News Now - Austin 10/16/12

After discussing the item behind closed doors—because of the potential of litigation—the commissioners court emerged with the new policy for prayer.

The resolution affirms what commissioners believe is a First Amendment right to continue the practice of beginning with a prayer.

Commissioners also unanimously adopted a policy for how those prayers will be given. Churches will be identified from around Hays County and randomly selected to be invited to give prayer.

County Judge Bert Cobb says protecting the right to pray is one of the principles this nation was founded upon.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Censorship Rejected; Legislative Prayers Continue In Hays County, Texas" by Liberty Institute (published by Sacramento Bee) 10/16/12

Relying on U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Hays County Commissioners Court rejected the unconstitutional demands of AUSCS and made it very clear that "the opening of sessions of legislative or other deliberative public bodies with prayer is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country."  Hays County further stated that "it is not the job of the courts or deliberative bodies to 'embark on a sensitive evaluation or to parse the content of a particular prayer' offered before a deliberative body."

Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel, said, "Even Texas is not immune to attacks on religious liberty, but thankfully we have strong court precedent that protects invocations from such bullying tactics when elected officials push back, like Hays County did today."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.