HAWKINS — An East Texas man who filed a federal lawsuit against Wood County over the practice of opening commissioners court meetings with prayer is anything but an atheist. According to KETK, Charles Frederick Scott III considers himself a godly man and studies the Bible religiously.
He has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, seeking removal of the motto “In God We Trust” from the Wood County commissioners’ courtroom and to forbid opening meetings with prayer. The lawsuit alleges the county is violating the U.S. Constitution. The crux of his legal argument is commissioners cannot display “In God We Trust” or pray before meetings if their motivation is religious.
Scott also believes it is a violation of the oath of any councilman or commissioner to protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution, if the person has made an oath to God. He sees these two oaths in direct conflict.
A hearing is set October 16 in Tyler federal court, where a judge will decide whether to approve or deny a motion for summary judgment filed by attorneys on behalf of the county on grounds the lawsuit is frivolous. In May, the Wood County commissioners agreed to retain services from the Alliance Defense Fund and Liberty Institute for representation in the lawsuit.