Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Religious activity halted in Ohio courthouse

Vol. 35 No. 7 September 2018

FFRF applauds a Knox County, Ohio, judge for halting religious activity in his courtroom after its unconstitutionality was called to his attention.

FFRF received a report from a concerned Mount Vernon citizen that Judge Richard Wetzel regularly invited a prayer group to use the courthouse for religious activities — even involving them in legal proceedings that he felt “have a particular need for prayer.”

“An opportunity to have the churches directly engage in what the court is doing is very important to me,” Judge Wetzel has been quoted saying.

FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel sent a letter on July 25 to the judge, noting why this practice is unconstitutional, and asking him to end the practice of providing the courtroom free of charge to host bible studies and prayer.

In a July 30 letter, the judge thanked FFRF for bringing its concerns to his attention and said he had given the letter “thoughtful consideration.”

“Please be advised that, in response to your letter, the Court will discontinue the practice of allowing the prayer group use of the Courthouse,” Wetzel wrote.

FFRF commends Judge Wetzel.

“Religion has no place in the court system where justice should be blind to a citizen’s religious or nonreligious views,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.