The attorney general of Texas is ordering local authorities to cease any attempts to shut down faith-based, private schools despite the pandemic.
Attorney General Ken Paxton announced it is by Governor Greg Abbott's orders that local jurisdictions are prohibited from closing religious institutions or religious private schools.
"Under the Governor’s orders, local governments are prohibited from closing religious institutions or dictating mitigation strategies to those institutions," Paxton states in a July 17 letter to those schools in the Lone Star State. "Local governments are similarly prohibited from issuing blanket orders closing religious private schools."
OneNewsNow spoke with Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel for further explanation about the governor's directive.
"Some of these local agencies wanted to still close these schools – and the governor's order doesn't allow that," explains the Liberty Counsel founder and chairman. "Attorney General Ken Paxton clearly articulated that there's a preemption here. This is a statewide issue, and these local authorities don't have any ability or power to close these local, private schools."
Staver adds that sidestepping the governor's order violates both the federal and state constitutions as well as the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
"No one wants to provide any unsafe place," the attorney acknowledges, "but a one-size-fits-all template that just simply closes schools or churches across the state. or even across the county. is just not practical."
However, Liberty Counsel notes the Texas Education Agency has ordered that public schools may delay in-person instruction for up to two months in the fall.