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Could Citizens' Prayers Cost Carroll County $10K a Pop?

Carroll County lawmakers face a motion of contempt.

Bruce Holstein said he disagreed with the judge's order and asked Jesus Christ to bless the proceedings. (Credit: Screenshot from Carroll County Government video)
Bruce Holstein said he disagreed with the judge's order and asked Jesus Christ to bless the proceedings. (Credit: Screenshot from Carroll County Government video)
An advocacy group for secular government has filed a complaint against Carroll County in federal court, alleging the Board of Commissioners broke the law twice by allowing the name of Jesus Christ to be used at two meetings in the last week.

The American Humanist Organization is asking the U.S. District Court to fine the Carroll County Board of Commissioners $30,000 for allowing specific religious references in a public forum and $10,000 for any future references.

Last week, a judge barred the commissioners from naming specific deities at their meetings while a lawsuit regarding the legality of Christian prayer at their gatherings gets underway.

The Fourth Circuit said the following phrases would be OK, according to a statement from Carroll County: "Lord God, our creator," "giver and sustainer of life," "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," "Heavenly Father," "Lord our Governor," "mighty God," "Lord of Lords, King of Kings, creator of planet Earth and the universe and our own creator."

However, the American Humanist Organization—a Washington, D.C., based group that advocates for secular government—filed a motion on Tuesday to hold the commission in contempt of the judge's order.

At the Tuesday morning meeting of the commissioners, citizen Bruce Holstein took to the podium during the public comment period to discuss the judge's injunction.

"...we the citizens of Carroll County are not going to stand for it," he said. "This order discriminates against Christians and is a gross violation of our commissioners' First Amendment Constitutional rights."

Holstein is the campaign treasurer for Commissioner Richard Rothschild, according to the motion for contempt filed by the American Humanist Organization.

His remarks implied that the U.S. District Court judge who ordered the injunction was "a liberal activist whose policies have led to evils like abortion," according to American Humanist Organization's complaint.

The motion for contempt states that the commissioners did not attempt to interrupt the prayer or imply that it was inappropriate.

Holstein mentioned "Jesus" six times in his two-minute commentary.

The judge's injunction on faith-specific prayer stated that "the county" was not to invoke specific faith-based references but did not mention citizens.

An attorney for the Carroll County Board of Commissioners was not immediately available for comment.

Related:
Carroll Commissioner Invokes Jesus Despite Judge's Order

JoeEldersburg April 08, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Insightful posts Art & Bryan! From my experience on countless subjects, no amount of reason will prevail or convince Pam, Buck & Cynthia to their obvious misinterpretations of the law or of the Constitution. You will go round and round, but end up in the same place with the same intractable positions. When one side gets all it's talking points from Fox News and Glenn Beck, it's not possible to hold up an intellectual dialog. When somebody doesn't see things like an English-only ordinance as unwelcoming or sectarian prayers as exclusionary, then it is just not possible to reach them on any personal level. These 5 Tea Party Commissioners have one thing in common, they don't listen to anyone that doesn't believe like them and they don't work for anyone that isn't a supporter.
Buck Harmon April 08, 2014 at 07:34 PM
And JoeE.."poster in hiding" spouts a ridiculous cycle of the same old talking points...probably best that he remain in this posture...
JoeEldersburg April 08, 2014 at 09:22 PM
Buck, I agree that Frazier is being her normal intolerant self, but your comment about being elected by a majority is a crock. She's one of 5 and won a pluralty of R votes in a gerrymandered Taneytown district primary. In her last countywide campaign in 2001, she finished a dismal 6th, as an incumbent! This is hardly a showing of countywide support for her. She's consistently one of the most embarrassing and vacuous politicians to have ever served, either term.
Cynthia C. April 09, 2014 at 08:05 PM
Robin Frazier is a brave and principled woman. I'm very impressed with her respect for the first amendment. In her own small way, she's standing up for the oppressed in this country.
PH April 24, 2014 at 09:57 AM
As always, when the liberals know they can't win a debate, they resort to name calling. I've called JoeE out on it many times, but he just ignores me and continues to name call. Because he has nothing better to say. When I was on here using a pseudonym, JoeE, Judith Smith, et al, heckled the daylights out of me. So I shut them all up by using my real name. Voila, no hate mail, no nothing, lolol! Joe E is, well, ridiculous. Sorry, guess that was name calling.

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