On August 18, the Denton County Commissioners Court in Texas declared that the following day would be “Pray Denton County Day”… to “to pray for the eradication of COVID-19.”
That proclamation cites the Bible (2 Chronicles 7:14), claims that people in Texas have always “turned to Almighty God in prayer to bring healing and deliverance,” and encouraged people to “fast and pray during all or part of that day.”
Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a letter to County Judge Andy Eads warning him against these kinds of proclamations. Attorney Brendan Johnson writes:
We request that the Court discontinue all endorsement of religion, and here, Christianity. This proclamation of “Pray Denton County Day” coming from a government entity violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Government officials may worship, pray, and participate in religious events in their personal capacities. But they may not provide credibility or prestige to their religion by lending a government office and government title to religious events. Their office and title belong to “We the people,” not the office’s temporary occupant. As County Judge, you have taken an oath of office to uphold the secular U.S. Constitution and must scrupulously avoid using your public office to promote or advance your personal religious beliefs.
By the way, a glance at the state’s COVID tracking data finds that Denton County has seen a rise in cases every day since that proclamation (with one exception, when it stayed the same).
The unconstitutional prayers didn’t even work.