Pennsylvania Rep. Stephanie Borowicz prayed for God’s forgiveness and praised President Donald trump right before the state’s first Muslim female lawmaker, state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in.
Borowicz seemed emotional as she prayed:
God forgive us, Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us.
Borowicz did not specify who “we” was or how the country had moved away from God, but she did co-opt 2 Chronicles 7:14 for American Christians even though it was specifically written to Jews over 2,000 years ago:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Johnson-Harrell responded to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star:
It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders, leaders that are supposed to represent the people.
We as Republicans and Democrats can find many, many things to fight abou. Prayer should not be one of them.
I came to the @PaHouse to make friends on both sides of the aisle because we need to work together for EVERYONE across the commonwealth. After hearing the prayer given the day I took the oath of office, it’s clear that my presence is needed now more than ever #PeopleFirst pic.twitter.com/dK4I7gO9aY— Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (@RepMovita) March 27, 2019
House Minority Whip Jordan Harris concurred that feeling in a statement.
What we do not need is to see prayer and religion twisted to intimidate, discourage, or subtly degrade any Pennsylvanian, especially one sent by her constituents to represent them in Harrisburg.
Rep. Kevin J. Boyle, a fellow Democratic state representative from Philadelphia, tweeted that he walked off the House floor in protest:
I walked off the House floor in protest during today’s prayer led by a GOP member from Central PA. This fire and brimstone Evangelical prayer was before the swearing in ceremony of the PA House’s first ever Muslim woman @movitajh It is the epitome of religious intolerance.— Kevin J. Boyle (@RepKevinBoyle) March 25, 2019
Andrew Bahl, a journalist for The PLS Reporter, tweeted that Borowicz stood by her prayer:
Rep. Borowicz on her controversial prayer: “That’s how I pray everyday.” When asked to respond to Dems calling for an apology she says “Oh no, I don’t apologize ever for praying”— Andrew Bahl (@AndrewBahl) March 25, 2019
(Sources: Twitter, Pennsylvania Capital-Star)