Smith County Court Judge Randall Rogers turned a lot of heads when he sentenced Josten Bundy to either marry his girlfriend and write Bible verses or spend 15 days in jail.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the bizarre sentence came as a result of Bundy getting in a fight with his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend. But instead of issuing a standard sentence for an assault, Judge Randall Rogers decided to impose his own religious beliefs on the young couple, ordering them to get married and study the Bible.
Randall Rogers has since received a lot of criticism for this decision, most notably from the Freedom From Religion Foundation this week. The secular organization are active advocates of separation of church and state, a statute spelled out clearly in the United States constitution. The group has filed an official complaint against Judge Randall Rogers for violating the Constitution in his judicial ruling.
According to the Associated Press, the complaint was filed against Judge Randall Rogers with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Austin as an attempt to provoke disciplinary action against the public official. Josten Bundy did end up marrying his girlfriend and presumably has continued to write a Bible verse 25 times a day, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation believes this sentence was illegal.
According to the Freedom From Religion Foundation website, the complaint was filed on August 13.
“Judges cannot require people to get married or force them to write bible verses,” said FFRF staff attorney Sam Grover. “Judge Rogers’ conduct was illegal and he should face serious consequences for it. His actions demonstrate a religious bias with significant implications for any nonreligious or non-Christian litigants appearing before him.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nationwide watchdog group with over 22,700 members, designed to protect citizens from unnecessary and illegal religious biases. The group has around 1,000 members in Texas, where Judge Randall Rogers resides.
The secular organization was not alone in its anger toward Judge Randall Rogers. The father of Josten Bundy’s now-wife, Elizabeth Jaynes, was furious with Judge Rogers. He told his daughter that she didn’t have to go through with it, but she did anyway.
“I was really upset,” he said. “Judge Rogers stepped into my family and tried to tell them what to do without any regard for me or anything. This isn’t his decision.”
What do you think? Should Randall Rogers be prosecuted for violating the separation of church and state as a public official?
[Image credit: Josten Bundy]