- Associated Press - Thursday, March 23, 2017

WILLIS, Texas (AP) - A group promoting separation of church and state has sued a Texas judge who lets volunteer chaplains of various faiths say prayers in court before daily proceedings.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday in Houston against Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack. The Wisconsin-based Foundation says the lawsuit, also by two attorneys and an atheist, seeks to halt prayer in Mack’s courtroom in Willis.

Mack declined comment Wednesday.

Texas Attorney Ken Paxton, in a 2016 opinion, said Mack’s courtroom prayer and volunteer chaplain program are constitutional. Signs posted outside court say people are not required to remain for invocations.

A statement Wednesday from First Liberty Institute, dedicated to protecting religious freedom for Americans, said Mack’s program is a great way to serve the community.

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