Carroll County Commissioner Defies Court Order by Reciting a (Fake) Christian Prayer at Meeting

Only one day after a judge told the Carroll County (Maryland) Board of Commissioners that they couldn’t pray to Jesus during board meetings, one of the commissioners has already defied the ruling:

Robin Bartlett Frazier

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…

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.

Got that, everyone? Somehow, an order demanding that prayers, if used, remain non-sectarian — a perfectly reasonable accommodation for anyone to make — turned into an order telling Frazier what to think and was the first step in a march to Communism.

I thought Frazier’s biggest problem was that she was defying a court order. Now I realize she has far deeper issues she needs to address…

By the way, the prayer she recited wasn’t even written by George Washington!

John Fea, chair of the History Department at Messiah College, said the prayer comes from the so-called George Washington Prayer Book, which was found in a chest of papers by one of Washington’s descendants in the 1890s. The University of Virginia, which houses the Papers of George Washington, and the Smithsonian Institution have concluded, based on the handwriting, that it was not written by Washington, Fea said.

“It is also far too pious for Washington,” Fea wrote in an email to the Times. “In fact, … George Washington only referenced Jesus Christ twice in all his extant writings and neither of them were in a prayer. This commissioner was not praying the words of George Washington.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent the commissioners’ lawyers a letter yesterday warning them about a contempt charge:

The seriousness of this gesture, and its brazen disregard for the plaintiffs and others who do not wish to have their government endorsing Christianity to the exclusion of minority religious viewpoints, is difficult to overstate. As a courtesy, we are going to refrain from seeking contempt charges against the commissioner in this one instance, in the hopes that today’s behavior was simply an emotional outburst made without the benefit of serious consideration of the rights of plaintiffs and others. She should understand, however, that any continued defiance of the court order will leave us with no choice but to seek a contempt order.

It’s a savvy move on their part, not letting Frazier become a martyr for the Christianist cause. But if she’s unwilling or unable to stop turning a government office into her personal church, then she can enjoy the fruits of her labor in jail. It’s the taxpayers in Carroll County who will have to foot the bill for the damage she causes.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.


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