The other day, I posted about how Randall Rogers, a Smith County (Texas) judge, issued a strange punishment to 20-year-old Josten Bundy for punching out his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.
Rogers told him he had to marry his 19-year-old girlfriend, write down Bible verses, and get counseling. (Two of these things are not like the other…) If Bundy doesn’t follow those instructions, he could see jail time.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to Judge Rogers today clarifying how that sentence is illegal in addition to being completely unhelpful:
“This is, to put it simply, outrageous and unconstitutional,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Judge Rogers seems to think he’s running a combination Sunday school and relationship counseling service. He needs to get back to dispensing secular law.”
The letter urges Rogers to drop the non-counseling requirements:
We respectfully request that you refrain from imposing conditions requiring religious activity (including Bible reading or the writing of Bible verses) or conditions relating to fundamental privacy interests such as marriage, and that you rescind any such requirements from existing orders.
So far, Randall hasn’t responded to any media requests for comment.