Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 24, 2009

A First Amendment Victory Reveals What Is Wrong

From the Chistian Newswire.   Aug 24, 2009 ” SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Florida — After a 7½ hour hearing in federal court, federal District Judge Casey Rodgers told Michelle Winkler that she would not be held in civil contempt over her husband’s prayer at an awards banquet.”  That looks like a victory for the free exercise of religion and speech in the 1st Amendment.  But, there is more…”

“On September 17, Liberty Counsel will be back in court defending Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman on charges of criminal contempt over a blessing of the meal at a separate luncheon to honor private contributors to the athletic program.

Last year the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County School District. Judge Rodgers entered a broadly worded injunction in January 2009 regarding prayer and religious activities of school employees.”  Where in the Constitution does a Federal Judge get the authority to tell the folks in Santa Rosa County School District what they can and can’t do regarding prayer and religious activities of school employees?   The black-robed priest-kings seized the power.  They made it up.  They keep making up more laws from the bench.  They do it because no one will stop them.  There is power based in the U.S. and state constitutions, but the elected politicians are unwilling to use it.

“Winkler attended a privately funded event off campus at a nearby Naval base, held after school hours to honor noninstructional employees of the school district. She invited her husband, who is not employed by the school, to read a beautiful prayer blessing she wrote for the honorees. The ACLU ran to court, claiming that Winkler should be held in civil contempt of the court order.”  Clearly there is no Constitutional issue.  But, likewise the court should never have taken the case because it is none of their business.

“The courtroom was packed with people, who sat through the long ordeal to support Ms. Winkler. Dozens of additional supporters spent the day waiting and praying outside the courthouse.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The wheels came off the ACLU’s steamroller. While we are pleased with the ruling, we are saddened that a wonderful woman had to spend a day in court, with the ACLU’s crosshairs aimed at her back. Prayer is neither contemptuous nor criminal. It is outrageous that the ACLU sought civil contempt charges against an outstanding woman whose husband prayed a beautiful prayer at a privately sponsored event held off campus. The ACLU needs to take a good dose of the First Amendment and call us in the morning.”  Christians are grateful for the little win.  They should be.  And, they should be more motivated to elect people who will restore the Constitution.  Impeach the judges that abuse their powers.  If a judge unconstitutionally tells someone not to pray, then engage in civil disobedience – and pray.

We have a long road ahead to restore the Constitution.   Education and action await us all.



  1. This is ‘bad behavior’ by the judge. Judges serve only on the occasion of good behavior, so this is cause for a Bill of Impeachment to be filed by a member of the House of Representatives. Far too rarely do any have the courage to do their duty to God and their Country as the Boy Scout Oath, and George Washington’s words direct.

  2. GW: Thanks. Wish you were still here with us.

    • Thanks. Do you know Jim Thorsen and his daughter Catherine Crabill, who is running for Delegate?

      In GW, James

  3. I would think that GW would find it “good behavior” by the judge. After a hearing, he found that the invocation of the husband, despite its authorship, could not be attributed to the wife in a sense that violated an injunction against government imposed or sponsored prayer. I don’t know all the nooks and crannies of the background of the case, but it sounds like a good decision to me.

    If we’re not talking about the reported decision, but rather the initial injunction, there’s not enough information in the post or in any links provided by the post for readers to form an intelligent decision. I do know that, as a striving Christian, I get very upset when government types start monkeying around in my faith. They are no more competent as religious leaders than they are at most other things outside of the provision of basic necessities of government. Religion always gets dragged down when government interferes.

    • Dear No VA Scout,

      Does No VA Scout mean Not a Scout in Virginia, or a Northern Virginia Scout? Remember the words of the Boy Scout Oath, taken from George Washington, are “do my Duty to God and my Country”…

      The judge was way out of bounds in abusing the power of his post. Not uncommon, sad to say. Washington’s Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, said it well, “Judges whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution should be removed from the bench… It may, indeed, injure them in fame or fortune, but it saves the Republic…” (NOT the “Democracy”, a form of government the wise Founding Fathers feared.)

      The ACLU represents folks who “haven’t got A CLUe” as to Truth, Justice and the American Way.

      There is so much more to add, yet I must move on to other work.

      May the Holy Spirit guide you as GW wrote at age 20 in his Daily Sacrifice twice daily prayers, “Daily forge me more & more into the linkness of thy son Jesus Christ…”

      In GW – God’s Will and His Son’s service,
      Aide to GW

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