Maryland Elected Official Willing to Go to Jail for Right to Pray Before Meetings

Carrie Dedrick | Thursday, July 10, 2014

Maryland Elected Official Willing to Go to Jail for Right to Pray Before Meetings

Maryland county commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier has declared she is willing to go to jail if it means standing by her faith. 

The Carroll County commissioner was sworn in in January 2011; since then, she had been praying before board meetings alongside fellow board members. But prayer to Jesus before a government meeting was prohibited through U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles’ ban. When Frazier was told she had to stop, the longtime Christian took a stand. 

“Thinking of what Jesus did for me on the cross, I would not say his name because I might go to jail? I just couldn’t do that,” she said. 

In March, Frazier made a public announcement after a commission hearing. "I think that is an infringement on my freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and I think it's a wrong ruling…But 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. 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.' So, I say no to this ruling."

A lawsuit is ongoing between Frazier and several Carroll county residents that call the prayers “divisive.” Frazier is hopeful that the suit rules in favor of sectarian prayers, as the Supreme Court ruled in June. However, Frazier would no longer be praying as a member of the board of commissioners; she lost to her Republican opponent in the most recent election. 

Despite the loss, Frazier remains true to her convictions. "It was much, much bigger than me, and it made me know that I was in the right place at the right time to be used of God. And maybe that was the full purpose I was in here this four years,” she said. 

Publication date: July 10, 2014