“I’m willing to go to jail over it.”
After a federal judge issued a temporary injunction telling Carroll County board members not to refer to Jesus, any specific deity or any specific date during meetings, Commissioner Robin Frazier did just that at the start of Thursday’s board meeting.
“Out of respect for my colleagues — I’m not sure how strongly they feel about it. I’m willing to go to jail over it,” Frazier said during the meeting, referring to Jesus Christ twice despite the ruling.
“(Let) the Lord Jesus Christ to admit me to render these deserved thanks and praises for thy manifold mercies extended toward me. Let thy blessings guide this day, and forever, through Jesus Christ and his blessed form of prayer, I conclude my weak petitions,” she said during the meeting.
After receiving complaints, some Carroll County residents and a group called American Humanist Association issued a warning to the board about “sectarian prayer” during meetings in 2012 and then followed up with a lawsuit in April 2013.
“After the judge has already agreed with us that that’s what’s going on, I think it’s particularly troubling that one of the council members saw fit to violate not only the Constitution but the judge’s very specifically ruling that they can’t be doing this,” said Monica Miller, an attorney for the American Humanist Association.
After Frazier’s prayer on Thursday, the attorneys for the plaintiffs sent a letter saying they would refrain from seeking contempt charges in that one instance but warned that there would be consequences if the defiance continued.
The next Carroll County commissioners meeting is Tuesday, April 1 at 10a.m. Unlike last time, the attorney for the American Humanist Association has indicated they will seek contempt charges if the Commissioner mentions Jesus’ name in prayer again.
The next step is, if they do this again, we will file a motion for contempt.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners has issued a statement articulating its position.
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. 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. In legislative prayer cases similar to this case, other federal court judges have made very different decisions. The only legislative prayer case ever decided by the United States Supreme Court, in 1983, allowed prayers in Jesus’ name at legislative meetings.
Looks like we have a showdown in Carroll County, Maryland.
We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if anyone flinches.
(Featured Image Source: YouTube)
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