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Pennsylvania’s first female Muslim lawmaker in the General Assembly accused a Republican colleague of Islamophobia after she opened a legislative session with a prayer that invoked the name of Jesus Christ.
“Jesus, you are our only hope,” Rep. Stephanie Borowicz prayed. “At the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus, that you are Lord.”
Movita Johnson-Harrell, who was sworn into office after the prayer, said the prayer was “highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House.”
Borowicz delivered the prayer shortly before Movita Johnson-Harrell — the first Muslim woman elected to the General Assembly — was sworn in.
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell said in a statement published by the Pennsylvania Capital Star. “I came to the Capitol to help build bipartisanship and collaborations regardless of race or religion to enhance the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth.”
A number of Democrats, including House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, accused the freshman lawmaker of weaponizing her religion to “intimidate, demean and degrade” Johnson-Harrell.
“Let me be clear. I am a Christian. I spend my Sunday mornings in church worshiping and being thankful for all that I have,” Harris told PennLive.com. “But in no way does that mean I would flaunt my religion at those who worship differently than I do. There is no room in our Capitol building for actions such as this, and it’s incredibly disappointing that today’s opening prayer was so divisive.”
So this is the prayer that the Democrats considered to be demeaning, degrading and Islamophobic:
“Jesus, I thank you for this privilege Lord of letting me pray God. That, I, Jesus am your ambassador today. Standing here representing you – the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the One who is coming back again, the one who came, died and rose again on the third day. I’m so privileged to stand here today. So thank you for this honor, Jesus.
“God, for those that came before us like George Washington in Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln who sought after you in Gettysburg and the Founding Fathers in Independence Hall – Jesus – that sought after you and fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on your principles and your words and your truths.
“God forgive us. Jesus we’ve lost sight of you. We’ve forgotten you, God, in our country. And we are asking you to forgive us, Jesus. Your promise in your word says if my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray and seek your face and turn from their wicked ways that you’ll heal our land. Jesus, you are our only hope.
“God , I pray for our leaders – Speaker Turzi, Leader Culter, Governor Wolf, President Trump. Lord, thank you that he stands beside Israel unequivocally Lord. Thank you that – Jesus – that we are blessed because we stand by Israel and we ask for the peace of Jerusalem as your word says God.
“We ask that we not be overcome by evil and that we overcome evil with good in this land once again. I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that you Jesus are lord. In Jesus name Amen.”
In other words, Borowicz prayed the way the Bible commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for our elected leaders and in the name of Jesus.
But Pennsylvania Democrats were clearly triggered by the name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Democrat Rep. Margo Davidson shouted “objection” near the end of the lawmaker’s prayer.
“As an evangelical Christian, I was offended by [the prayer’s] lack of humility or care or, dare I say, love for a human being duly elected by [her] district,” Davidson said in remarks reported by the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. “It was mean spirited.”
House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said the prayer should’ve been more inclusive and inspirational.
“This morning on a very important day, on a day when we’re swearing in a new member, the first woman Muslim serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in history, there was a prayer that was not meant to inspire us,” he told PennLive.com.
Well, if the Democrats wanted a prayer that would have inspired the Muslims, perhaps they should’ve asked an Imam to delivering the opening prayer.
“It was not meant to bring us together, it was not meant to inspire us, it was beneath the dignity of this House,” he told WITF.
It’s hard to imagine that praying in the name of the Almighty is beneath the dignity of anyone – much less a bunch of Jesus-hating Democrats.