Carroll County Commissioner Displays Ignorance, False Bravado

In a lawsuit over prayers at the beginning of meetings in the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, a federal judge recently issued a preliminary injunction against the practice while the case is being heard. One of those commissioners, Robin Bartlett Frazier, decided to make a big public show of what I’m sure she believed to be courage and ended up displaying her ignorance instead.

Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier opened up Thursday morning’s Carroll County Board of Commissioners budget meeting with a prayer containing references to Jesus Christ despite a federal judge’s order that the commissioners temporarily stop opening its meetings with sectarian prayers to Jesus Christ until he determines the final result of a lawsuit against the county.

Frazier, who seemed near tears, began the meeting by expressing her displeasure with the judge’s ruling. Frazier, R-District 1, said she was willing to go to jail to fight the preliminary injunction ruling.

“If we cease to believe that our rights come from God, we cease to be America,” Frazier said. “We’ve been told to be careful. But we’re going to be careful all the way to Communism if we don’t start standing up and saying ‘no.’”

She then proceeded to quote a prayer that she said was by George Washington, which included references to Jesus Christ, Lord, our Father, merciful father and the Holy Spirit.

There’s just one problem: George Washington never said that prayer. It comes from a book that no serious historian believes came from Washington.

The words come from a book commonly called “Washington’s Prayer Journal” though its actual title is “The Daily Sacrifice.” The work has been claimed a product of Washington’s youth, up to age 20, which alone might render it irrelevant even if genuine—for it is Washington’s mature adult views on religion that should logically interest us the most.

The original document is handwritten, numbering twenty-four pages in a pocket memo book. Nothing on the item indicates that it belonged to George Washington. But after Lawrence Washington, a descendant, found it in an old trunk in 1890, he gave specialists a chance to look at it. Historian Franklin Steiner would later write in 1936, “Worthington C. Ford, who had handled more of Washington’s manuscripts than any other man except Washington himself, declared that the penmanship was not that of Washington.” Moreover, Washington was notorious as a poor speller, yet the spelling in the prayer book is quite correct.

The document was also submitted to the Smithsonian, where the handwriting was again analyzed, along with other characteristics. The manuscript was rejected once more for not being authentic. Later, Dr. W.A. Croffutt, a Washington D.C. newspaper correspondent, put the final nail in the coffin when he traced some of the prayers back at least to the reign of the English King James I, who died 107 years before George Washington was born.

Actually, there’s one other problem with this stunt and it’s one that we hear often from the Christian right. They like trying to disguise their religious declarations with a thin veneer of history. They put up a Ten Commandments monument and claim that they’re just honoring the history of law rather than making an explicitly religious declaration. Even if Washington did say or write that prayer, it has absolutely nothing to do with the constitutional questions in the case.

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  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Since fundamentalists don’t like that liberal, elitist separation of church and state they should recognize Maryland’s founding as a Catholic entity. Protestants’ prayers would therefore be illegal and, perhaps, grounds for imprisonment.

  • eric

    Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier opened up Thursday morning’s Carroll County Board of Commissioners budget meeting with a prayer containing references to Jesus Christ despite a federal judge’s order that the commissioners temporarily stop opening its meetings with sectarian prayers

    Which is kinda like telling the cop who pulled you over for speeding “wanna race?” and then peeling out as you slam on the accelerator.

    There’s going to be a judicial smack down. The only question in my mind is whether it will be to the BOC, or whether the Judge will decide that Frazier was operating so clearly outside the bounds of his instructions that an individual smack down is warranted.

  • Chiroptera

    Frazier, who seemed near tears, began the meeting by expressing her displeasure with the judge’s ruling.

    Seriously? You have about 16 hours during the non-work day to pray, you probably have break times you can pray during work hours, you can pray just before you leave for this meeting…but because there is this one time where it has been determined that it is inappropriate for you to pray in public, this brings you to tears?

    Conservative evangelical Christians: making spoiled rotten children look good for 2000 years now.

  • cptdoom

    One of the named plaintiffs in the case has been blogging about it at Daily Kos. He is a devout Roman Catholic, and one of the reasons he participated in the suit was the Protestant nature of the prayers. You won’t be surprised to learn he’s reported receiving death threats.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I bet they’d be hopping in eye-bulging rage if someone had a muslim cleric say a few words to open the meeting.

    Religious shitheads need to realize that the constitutional protections are there to protect them from eachother, not to oppress them.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    A Talibangelical wanna-be theocrat ended up putting her ignorance on display?

    Gee, imagine my surprise.

  • Larry

    You have about 16 hours during the non-work day to pray

    Jebus requires constant ego stroking, 24/7. You let down on the praising for a moment and he gets all pissy. Either that or its necessary to keep the praying rattling around in the brain constantly. If things get too quiet, pretty soon you might start questioning whether all the bullshit is necessary.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Even if Washington did say or write that prayer, it has absolutely nothing to do with the constitutional questions in the case.

    Don’t forget that their whole epistemology is based on Tradition being handed down from antiquity. Written codes are all well and good, but you have to read them in the light of those who were right there at the Revelation.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    ITS REALLY QUITE SIMPLE. THIS SIMPLE PRAYER TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST REFLECTS OUR NATIONS HISTORY OF JUDEOCHRISTIAN VALUES.

  • karmacat

    When I read about Frazier, I was struck by how narcissistic she seemed. She is quoted as saying, “That is an infringement on my First Amendment rights of free speech, and I think it is a wrong ruling,” The other problem with the ruling is that it allows prayer at all before the meeting, but I guess it has to be baby steps

    Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/carroll/westminster/ph-commish-prayer-20140327,0,531268.story#ixzz2xkf7d5Ss

  • dingojack

    And your problem with: Fundamentalist = liar is….?

    dingo

  • busterggi

    Its been all downhill for Carroll County since Billy-Joe McAllister jumped off the Talahatchee Bridge.

  • rationalinks

    How so very brave of her to stand up to the atheimuslimcommumarxists that are literally executing billions of Christians in the U.S. every year. Brought a tear to my eye.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    @Larry #7 – “Jebus requires constant ego stroking, 24/7.”

    That’s not His ego they’re stroking, which is why He gets unhappy when they stop.

  • eamick

    When I read about Frazier, I was struck by how narcissistic she seemed. She is quoted as saying, “That is an infringement on my First Amendment rights of free speech, and I think it is a wrong ruling,”

    Narcissistic? Maybe. It’s also possible she just doesn’t get that she’s a government official at the board meeting, not a private citizen.

  • John Pieret

    Ah, the religious right’s romantic delusion of martyrdom. I wonder how long it will last.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “That’s not His ego they’re stroking, which is why He gets unhappy when they stop.”

    What? It’s his kitteh?

  • D. C. Sessions

    What? It’s his kitteh?

    I’ve heard it called a lot of things before, but that’s a first.

  • martinc

    Amazing the sheer number of Bibles in the USA that seem to have Matthew 6: 5-6 omitted in the print run: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

    This dullard is apparently committing contempt of court in order to willfully disobey the above Biblical injunction. The judge going to be annoyed, and presumably so will God.

  • eric

    It’s also possible she just doesn’t get that she’s a government official at the board meeting, not a private citizen.

    I think she gets exactly what she’s doing. It looks to me like she wants them to come togther as a group, “turn on” as a government body, and then pray. I think her primary goal here is to do exactly the thing which is illegal – i.e., have this US government body give obesiance to Jesus in their official capacity, before they start their work. Now, maybe she is confused about the legality of that, but I think that’s what she’s trying to do.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues…”

    See, secularterrarist, that’s your problem. You don’t get that GOD was just talkin’ to the JOOZ! He said, “Synagogue”; KKKristians don’t pray in synagogues, they pray in REAL churches!

    Now, now, I know that may sound ridiculous, but it will be a meme on KKKristianist websites within a day or two.

  • eric

    Hemant Mehta has an update over at The Friendly Atheist. Its worth reading in full (and he has links that describe most of these events in greater detail), but here is the short summary:

    After the temporary stay forbidding the BOC from opening meetings with prayer, Frazier opened one meeting with a prayer (as Ed describes). The plaintiffs, American Atheists, then wrote a letter to the judge saying they weren’t going to ask for any additional penalties, IF the BOC stopped praying before meetings. After that, Frazier responded by opening a second meeting with a Jesus prayer. AA responded to that by filing a request with the judge for a contempt charge, asking the judge for a $30,000 fine right away, with an additional $10,000 for any future violations. To make things even more intereseting, evidently Frazier preceded her second prayer with a public statement that insulted the Judge.

    These folks are really ignoring the first rule of holes.

  • eric

    Argh, my apologies, the plaintiffs are the American Humanist Association, not American Atheists.

  • thenaturalist

    The christian right are using this case to try to influence the outcome of the current Supreme Court case on prayer at government meetings. The ideal outcome they are hoping for is that the “Jack booted feds will shut down the freedom to pray” which will strengthen their hand with the SC.

    A better alternative is to have people of different faiths or non stand up at the next meeting and request that they say a prayer . In this case there are two outcomes, both good for separation of church and state supporters: (a) they allow the prayer and are bombarded with many unwelcome professions of faith in false gods (Allah, Vishnu, FSM etc.), (b) they disallow the prayer nullifying their arguments about freedom of speech and blatantly displaying their sense of privilege for just their specific religion. Either way proponents of separation win.