FFRF intervenes in Texas city’s ‘day of prayer’ (January 4, 2021)

The city of Wills Point, Texas, has addressed concerns about a religious proclamation made on behalf of local government.

Multiple Wills Point residents informed FFRF that Mayor Mark Turner declared a “Day of Prayer and Fasting,” which was advertised on the official city Facebook page. In the proclamation, issued in his official capacity as mayor, Turner invited residents to join “Christians of all traditions in prayer,” and urged them to spread the word to others “willing to humble themselves, repent and ask God to heal their land.” Additionally, the proclamation — to which the official Wills Point city seal is affixed — stated “Now therefore we proclaim the healing of the City of Wills Point in Jesus’ name! Amen.”

FFRF Legal Fellow Brendan Johnson sent a letter to Turner urging him to discontinue all endorsement of religion in his official capacity as mayor. Government officials are free to worship, pray and participate in religious events in their personal capacities, FFRF emphasized, but may not provide credibility or prestige to their religion by lending a government office or title to religious events.

The city’s attorney informed FFRF via email that the post promoting the event has been removed from the city’s Facebook page and the district will “be more cognizant of [these] concerns in the future.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation