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Home / US / Opening prayer called "divisive" when the first Muslim woman in Pennsylvania House swears

Opening prayer called "divisive" when the first Muslim woman in Pennsylvania House swears



State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz was on the ninth "Jesus" of her opening prayer in the Pennsylvania State House when other lawmakers felt uncomfortable.

Spokesman Mike Turzai, their Republican, looked up – but Borowicz glanced at a 100-second ceremony that some of her colleagues dismissed as an offensive, discriminatory and Islamophobic demonstration just before the legislation scolded her first Muslim wife ,

"God forgive us – Jesus – we have lost sight of you, we have forgotten you, God, in our land, and we ask you to forgive us," Borowicz said, followed by a quote from the second chronicle book the Bible, which calls on the devotees of God to "turn away from their bad ways." She then praised President Trump for his unequivocal support of Israel.

"I claim all this in the mighty, mighty name of Jesus, who will bow every knee under the name of Jesus, and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord in the name of Jesus," said Borowicz.

As she said "Amen", Borowicz had called Jesus 1

3 times and put the name between prayer instructions like a comma, mentioning "Lord" and "God" six times each, referring to "The Great I Am" and "the one who comes back, the one who came died on the third day and rose again. "

When The prayer reached a crescendo, at least one member raised objections, and Turzai, standing behind her, looked up again, nudged her elbow and challenged her After that, the protests just got louder.

"It was obviously the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders – leaders who are meant to represent the people," said Movita Johnson-Harrell, the newly sworn, puree limp democrat. Pennsylvania Capital star said on Monday. "I've come to the Capitol to help build partnerships and collaborations, regardless of race or religion, to improve the quality of life for everyone in the Commonwealth."


Pennsylvania State Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat from Philadelphia , is the first Muslim woman to serve in the legislature. (Pennsylvania State House)

Johnson-Harrell brought 55 guests, all there to see their historic moment in the Statehouse. Thirty-two of them were Muslims, she told local news agencies. She later called on the General Assembly to reprimand Borowicz.

Johnson-Harrell's new colleagues also appeared in their defense.

"Never before have we started a prayer that splits us," said the chamber's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Dermody, speaking from the floor of the house. "Prayer should never share us. It should bring us together. "

Rep. Jordan Harris, another high-ranking Democrat who called himself a devout Christian, criticized Borowicz for "arming" his religion.

"I am a Christian and believe in Christ," Harris said in a statement. "What I believe is more than anything Christ teaches, and it would not be about sharing us as a people, but uniting them as a people."

Other state legislators named Borowicz's Prayer racist and said it was "evangelical fire and sulfur prayer" that embodied "religious intolerance".

Borowicz, who responded to a local reporter's question, refused to apologize.

I pray every day. I do not apologize for praying, "she said.

Turzai said this later The house invites religious leaders to direct the invocation To respect all religious beliefs, however, the Patriot News reported that the legislators were not given the same direction.

In recent years, the usual opening prayer – which starts every day in Pennsylvania and has not been historically controversial – has become one another subordinate group in an ongoing struggle for religious representation and the separation of church and state. "Last year, a federal court overturned the rules of the statehouse, the non-theists who did not have a belief in a deity, discourage the opening call.

The judge ruled that the ban violates the US constitutional clause that protects the free constitution exercising religion. Republicans have appealed against this verdict.

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