First: thanks everybody for being so patient with light and short content this week. It’s hell week for Reasonfest so…yeah. :P
Second: Hemant wrote a post today about Carroll County (Maryland) Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier. You see, they’ve been opening their board meetings with sectarian prayers to Jesus. Just last week the AHA won a suit against them, resulting in an order to stop such prayers before government meetings.
Well Mrs. Frazier didn’t care for that and defied the court order. The AHA, ever the patient ones, sent them a warning letter. The board responded by having someone else come in to do the prayer and to rip on the judge:
Yesterday, the Board of Commissioners opened their meeting with a non-sectarian prayer, but then invited another speaker, Bruce Holstein, reportedly the campaign manager of one of the commissioners, to speak. He read a statement that was harshly critical of the court order, even saying that he was “overruling” the federal court, then ended his speech with a prayer that expressly referenced Jesus Christ. At no time did the commissioners interrupt or attempt to stop Mr. Holstein’s speech and prayer.
Shock and surprise, the AHA’s ample supply of patience just ran out:
THEREFORE, the Plaintiffs respectfully request that a contempt order be issued against the Defendants, requiring them to pay a fine to the Plaintiff, American Humanist Association in the amount of $30,000. The Plaintiffs further request that the Court order the Defendants to pay the American Humanist Association $10,000 for each additional violation of this Court’s Injunction Order going forward.
Hemant concludes his post with this bit of optimism:
The judge ruled that the Commissioners could not have sectarian prayers at meetings. They’ve now defied that ruling twice. It’s clear they’d rather become martyrs for the Christian cause instead of doing the right thing. Maybe when taxpayers realize how their dollars are being wasted by the commissioners because they just don’t have the willpower to keep their religious beliefs to themselves, they’ll vote these people out of office.
Now granted, in Maryland this might be the case. But for the believers I don’t think they’ll be inclined to vote these people out of office. Oh, they’ll be furious that taxpayer dollars, their taxpayer dollars were pissed away, never to be invested back into their city. But their fury will be directed at the AHA, the ones who won fairly in a court of law and stopped the law-breakers – and who even initially turned the other cheek when the law-breakers ignored the court’s order. The believers will instead pity the law-breakers who broke the law and then tested defied the law again.
I wish Hemant were right, but I don’t think he is. And it’s a damn pity. The type of thinking I described reinforces the idea that you can get away with anything if you flout your piety. The inverse is even more depressing, you can be a villain in the eyes of the faithful for insisting Christians aren’t above the law. Which, if Christianity were such a religion of humility, seems awfully strange.
As someone on my facebook said: It will become part of their campaigns. “Look at me standing up to those evil atheists!” If there was ever a doubt as to how religion can cause people to so perfectly invert reality, cases like this should lay those doubts completely to rest.