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You Can Have This Lady's Version Of The First Amendment When You Pry It From Her Cold Dumb Hands
We're always surprised to find out that there are still government bodies all over America that still think it is a dandy idea to start their meetings with a prayer, but only a prayer to Jeebus, of course, because any other prayer is for heathens that are going to hell. Still, it takes a special kind of uber-stupid to keep doing so in defiance of a court order, which is exactly what some ridiculous Carroll County, Maryland, Commissioner is doing, thanks to her rather peculiar and narrow view of the First Amendment as something that protects only Christians, which is based on the Bible or maybe George Washington. We're not really clear on that part. Nor is she, probably.
A county official in Carroll County, MD is defiant in the face of a federal judge’s order that she and other public employees stop invoking Jesus Christ in their morning meetings. According to the Baltimore Sun, Commissioner Robin Frazier opened Thursday morning’s meeting with a prayer that twice mentioned Christ by name.
The preliminary injunction prohibits the practice of beginning county commission meetings with a group Christian prayer. Frazier said to the Sun, however, that the ruling “is an infringement on my First Amendment rights of free speech and I think it is a wrong ruling.”
“If we cease to believe that our rights come from God, we cease to be America,” she explained, adding that she is “willing to go to jail” over the issue.
We are not exactly sure what the charges would be that would land this lady in jail, as there isn't really a "you said Jeebus too much" criminal law that the state can invoke, regrettably. Instead, she'll just cost the good citizens of Carroll County a shit-ton of money as they have to repeatedly defend her dumb misguided view of how freedom of speech and freedom of religion work, because these commissioners are going to go to the mat on this thing, since apparently there are no other issues facing Carroll County.
[C]ommissioners said they disagree with the judge's ruling and will "vigorously pursue the matter to its end."
"Within the next few months, the United States Supreme Court will be issuing a ruling on legislative prayer that the Board believes will supersede and overturn this temporary injunction," board members said in the statement. "If the Supreme Court rules as the Board and its legal counsel believes it will, this lawsuit will soon be over in favor of our county."
Commissioners added that in other legislative prayer cases, "federal court judges have made very different decisions" than that made by Quarles.
The board also stated that it "does not discriminate against anyone based on their religious beliefs or non-beliefs."
They do not discriminate, except for that part where you feel totally excluded and shamed if you have a different brand of skygod or no skygod at all.
This is especially dumb since the court told the commissioners that they could continue to pray to their hearts content -- out loud! -- if they just didn't name a specific faith, but that is not OK by them, which is where George Washington comes in.
On Thursday morning, Frazier said, “This might be a good opportunity to demonstrate how our founding fathers, and leaders all throughout our history, have upheld the idea that we are a nation based on biblical principles. We’re one nation under God and I believe that’s where our unalienable rights come from.”
She then began to recite a prayer from the personal prayer journal of President George Washington that begins, “O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach thy presence. Though not worthy to appear before thee because of my natural corruptions, and the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against thy divine majesty…”
Yes, just because George Washington kept a prayer book totally meant he wanted the United States to be Jesus-y, even though everyone agreed on the First Amendment, which does not actually say "only for Christians" anywhere in it. Weird, huh?
Here's hoping there really is some way for these commissioners to be metaphorically martyred for their beliefs and would get the opportunity to spend a few days in the local lockup. We suspect there would be a mighty quick come-to-Jesus moment after about 20 minutes in the cells, though. But until then, don't stop believin', misguided lady.