Carroll County Commissioner Says She’ll Go to Jail Before She Stops Reciting Christian Prayers at Meetings

After a judge told the Carroll County (Maryland) Board of Commissioners that they needed to stop their prayers to Jesus at meetings, they decided they didn’t give a damn what the law said.

A day after the ruling, commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier said a religious prayer anyway (falsely attributing it to President George Washington).

Robin Bartlett Frazier

After the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent the commissioners’ lawyers a warning letter threatening a contempt charge if there was another attempt to defy the ruling, the board went ahead and invited a speaker who also said a prayer to Jesus.

So the AHA demanded the court issue a heavy fine against the board — to the tune of $30,000 immediately and $10,000 for each additional violation of the court order.

While the judge hasn’t said if he will hold the board in contempt, the commissioners voted 3-2 in April to stop with the sectarian prayers.

3-2. So two of the commissioners thought the wise move was to defy the court order, waste their constituents’ money, and continue using the government meetings as personal worship services.

Two of the commissioners wanted to become martyrs for the Christian cause, even if it meant hurting the very county they represent.

This week, one of those faux-martyrs was back in the news, speaking with Christian Today specifically about what she’s willing to do rather than stop those prayers. Just look at how the piece begins:

A local official in Maryland recently announced that she is willing to go to jail because of her Christian faith.

That’s how they’re setting this up: Throw your faith aside or go to jail. How’s that for a false dichotomy?

No one is suggesting Frazier give up her faith. The AHA is only telling the commissioners to keep their invocations inclusive of everybody. If she ends up in jail, it’ll be because she broke the law, not because she was a Christian.

Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier decided that she will continue to defy a federal judge’s order against sectarian prayers in board meetings, and is willing to suffer any consequences.

I think JT Eberhard summarizes that thinking perfectly: “… she’s no more a martyr than someone who stabs herself in the hand and complains that she’s bleeding.”

This is how the Christian Persecution Complex works. Even though there’s an easy way to avoid “persecution” that doesn’t require you to violate your personal beliefs, you choose not to go that route because you want Jesus to notice you. Or something like that.

Frazier can pray before meetings. She can even pray during meetings (privately). She can also invite Christians to deliver invocations, as long as that invitation is extended to people of other faiths and no faith.

The only thing she can’t do is turn the government meetings into a Christian revival. Yet that’s the one thing she refuses to give up. It’s a stand that has to make even right wing groups scratch their foreheads.

You know what? Let her keep fighting this fight. This is a losing battle — and an embarrassing one for Christians at that, especially since people like Frazier would be among the first to flip out if a Board of Commissioners consisted of a majority of Muslims who wanted to hold an Islamic prayer during meetings.

If I lived in Carroll County, though, I would be furious at how my elected officials are wasting their time and my money.

(Large portions of this article were posted earlier)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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