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.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation calls Judge Wayne Mack's actions in his Willis courtroom "unconstitutional," according to "Fox and Friends."
But Mack and his attorney, Chelsey Youman, told the morning news show 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."
When "Fox and Friends" brought up allegations that some have participated in the prayers over fear of being been treated differently if they didn't, Mack said "we've never forced anybody" to participate in the invocations.
"We give people the opportunity, and they choose to be in the courtroom," Mack told the program. "They do not have to be in the courtroom when this opening ceremony takes place."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation told KTRK-TV that two people — a citizen and an attorney — have come forward to complain.
"A lot of these attorneys have repeat business before Judge Mack, and not standing up and participating in this prayer practice could have serious consequences for their livelihood," FFRF staff attorney Sam Grover told KTRK.
But Mack also told "Fox and Friends" that the Texas attorney general ruled everything he's doing in his courtroom is constitutional.
Youman added to the show that the Supreme Court in past rulings found that prayers and invocations are perfectly constitutional in opening sessions in courtrooms: "If it's constitutional for the Supreme Court, it's constitutional for Judge Mack."