06.27b. North Carolina Judge Bans God from His Courtrooms; Sheriffs Refuse to Obey. Via Via Christianity Today, I learn of the Judge Honeycutt case of rebellion against a runaway judge:

Honeycutt has introduced secular oaths and has asked bailiffs to open his courtroom without invoking God, both violations of state law, according to the complaint.


In a March letter to Shipwash and Maj. Dallas Hedrick, then Davidson County's acting sheriff, Honeycutt said he intended to introduce a neutral oath without a religious citation in his courtroom effective April 5 because the court system now serves a growing number of non-Christians. He said he would change witness oaths and bailiffs calls.

That diversity is already accommodated for in state law, Shipwash said, because witnesses can ask that they be affirmed rather than place their hand on a Bible and swear to God.

It wasn't until the next term of District Court in Davidson County in early May that Honeycutt fulfilled his promise to affirm witnesses without having them place their hands on the Bible or swear "so help me God." He ordered bailiffs to open and close court without the words "God save the state and this honorable court."


For now, Davidson County clerks are not swearing in witnesses, Shipwash said, leaving the task to Honeycutt. County bailiffs are adhering to the judge's policy because they are in his courtroom, but if they object, another bailiff will open court, said Capt. Steve Hedrick, who oversees the county bailiffs.

In Iredell County, Honeycutt has threatened to hold bailiffs in contempt of court if they do not open and close court using the secular version, Shipwash said.


Honeycutt is a lifelong Baptist, a dedicated churchgoer and a former deacon, said Ray Howell, his pastor at First Baptist Church in Lexington. He said that Honeycutt has been shocked by the negative reaction.

"People say he's taking God out of the courtroom," Howell said. "I think it's just the opposite. He's just trying to be fair to all people."

This is interesting as an example of the executive branch refusing to obey the wrongful orders of a judge.

Judge Honeycutt is in an elected position, so the problem probably won't last long. [permalink: 04.06.27b.htm]

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