AHA Files Contempt Motion in Prayer Case

AHA Files Contempt Motion in Prayer Case April 6, 2014

The American Humanist Association has filed a contempt motion against the Carroll County, MD Board of Commissioners after they explicitly defied a federal court injunction for a second time. I already wrote about the commissioner who read a fake George Washington prayer after the injunction was issued, but then they brought in someone else to say a prayer that intentionally defied the court order.

The judge may have prevented you commissioners from praying to Jesus Christ, but I want you to know that we, the citizens of Carroll County, are not gonna stand for it.

We are overruling Judge Quarles’ objection by offering this prayer on your behalf: Heavenly father, I stand here this morning and ask your blessing on our five county commissioners…. They have received a court Order from a misguided judge who forbids them from praying in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. This Order discriminates against Christians and is a gross violation of our commissioners’ First Amendment Constitutional rights. Therefore I ask you to bless their proceedings today and bless the case about Christian prayer before the Supreme Court and I ask for these blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The AHA issued this statement:

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.

Yesterday’s prayer comes just a few days after one of the commissioners, Robin Frazier, opened a board meeting by expressing objections to the judge’s order and saying a Christian prayer in defiance of the court order.

“We regret this action had to be taken, but the commissioners have now broken the law twice,” said Monica Miller, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “We thought Commissioner Frazier’s recitation of a sectarian prayer was a one-time incident. It’s now clear that she and the other Carroll County commissioners insist on continuing the practice of sectarian prayers at board meeting regardless of the court order.”

Judge William D. Quarels, Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Maryland issued the preliminary injunction on March 26 which prohibited Carroll County officials “from invoking the name of a specific deity associated with any specific faith or belief in prayers given at [Board] meetings” for the duration of the lawsuit.

They’re clearly auditioning for the role of the poor persecuted martyr. I say we give them that role.

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