America’s latest heroine is Robin Bartlett Frazier. She staged her own Tea Party event last Thursday by tossing an out-of-control federal judge overboard like a trunk of tea, by taking a stand for religious liberty. May her tribe increase.
Ms. Frazier, a commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County, defied a flatly unconstitutional injunction issued by U.S. District Court judge William D. Quarles, Jr., who ordered last Tuesday that no prayer opening a Carroll County commission meeting could mention “the name of a specific deity.”
In a burst of true American patriotism, two days later Ms. Frazier publicly prayed a prayer attributed to George Washington that repeatedly mentions the name of Jesus Christ. Before she prayed, she declared that the judge’s ruling was wrong and contrary to the Constitution and American principle. Good for her.
By exercising her constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion, Ms. Frazier is risking a contempt citation, which could lead not just to civil penalties but criminal ones as well. She could go to jail for doing what chaplains do in the halls of Congress every day. But she declared that she is willing to be thrown into a cell, like Martin Luther King, Jr., if that’s what it takes.
Said Ms. Frazier, “I’m willing to go to jail over it. I believe this is a fundamental of America and if we cease to believe that our rights come from God, we cease to be America. We’ve been told to be careful. But we’re going to be careful all the way to communism if we don’t start standing up and saying ‘no.’”
President Commissioner Dave Roush noted in a statement that the Fourth Circuit, an arm of the federal government, has permitted the commissioners “to continue using the court-approved words in its prayers.”
It is an abomination that any branch of the federal government would arrogate to itself the authority to tell people how to pray. Nothing on planet Earth could be more unconstitutional than for any branch of the central government to tell anyone what words they may and may not use when they pray. The very notion is a constitutional and American obscenity.
If there is any one thing the First Amendment flatly prohibits, it is the federal government dictating the content of prayer. A grosser violation of the “free exercise of religion” would be hard to imagine.
If anyone is in contempt of court here, it would be this federal judge. He himself is in contempt of the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1983 that the name of Jesus may be used in public invocations. Maybe he’s the one who ought to be headed for lockup.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, using an absurdly narrow view of the “free exercise” of religion, wants Ms. Frazier’s religion bottled up inside her home and her church, just like Barack Obama does. Said she, “We appreciate the commissioners’ individual religious freedom, and encourage them to worship as they wish in their homes and in their churches.”
But the Constitution does not protect freedom of “worship,” it protects the “free exercise” of religion. It protects religious liberty 168 hours a week, just as it does the other rights specified in the First Amendment.
Newspapers would be understandably outraged if a judge told them their right to freedom of the press was operational only inside the newspaper’s offices or only in the privacy of their own homes.
No, every First Amendment right is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, everywhere and in every place. No one forfeits any First Amendment right by walking out the door of his house or his church.
What Ms. Frazier has done is shown us how the stranglehold of federal tyranny can be broken: one elected official at a time. Ms. Frazier, as an elected representative, is not acting in defiance of the Constitution. She is acting in defiance of a tyrant who has mangled the Constitution out of all recognition. She is not defying the Constitution, she is upholding it. May she continue to do so.
The Founders said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Ben Franklin loved that phrase so much he wanted it on our nation’s official seal. Thomas Jefferson loved it so much it adorned his own personal seal. Ms. Frazier is a modern embodiment of the spirit that energized the men who bequeathed to us the American republic.
With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, Robin Bartlett Frazier is willing to pledge her life, her fortune and her sacred Honor in the defense of liberty. Who will join her?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.