Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, said “Jesus” 13 times, “God” six times, and “Lord” four times
Democratic state legislators in Pennsylvania have accused a lawmaker of “weaponizing” prayer after she delivered a Christian invocation on the floor of the State Capitol Monday, the same day the first Muslim woman was sworn into the legislature.
The prayer by GOP Rep. Stephanie Borowicz came the same day that new Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat and a Muslim, was sworn in.
Borowicz delivered the prayer shortly before Movita Johnson-Harrell — the first Muslim woman elected to the General Assembly — was sworn in.
Johnson-Harrell called the prayer “highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House,” according to the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell told the newspaper. “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.”
Johnson-Harrell said she had 55 guests in attendance, 32 of whom are Muslim.
The Pa. House traditionally opens up each session with prayer. After a federal judge ruled last year that agnostics, atheists, humanists, and other non-believers should be able to deliver invocations, the House stopped inviting guest chaplains to deliver prayers, relying instead on lawmakers.
Borowicz’s prayer began: “Jesus, I thank you for this privilege, Lord, [for] letting me pray, God.”
“I, Jesus, am your ambassador here today, standing here representing you, the King of King, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the One who’s coming back again, the One who came, died and rose again on the third day,” she prayed.
Borowicz mentioned George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and a nation “founded on your principles and your Word and your truths.”
“Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you. We’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us, Jesus,” Borowicz prayed before quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14.
She prayed for the Pennsylvania legislative leaders, the governor and the president. She asked “for the peace of Israel” and expressed thanks that Trump stands “beside Israel, unequivocally.”
Borowicz concluded her prayer by acknowledging “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord.”
Asked if she would apologize, Borowicz said she would not.
“That’s how I pray every day,” she said. “… I don’t apologize ever for praying.”
The prayer drew immediate outrage from House Democrats and was denounced as Islamophobic by the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group.
Democratic Rep. Jordan Harris said Borowicz’s prayer “weaponized” religion.
Another Democrat, Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, yelled “objection” near the end of Borowicz’s prayer. House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, did not acknowledge the objection but touched Borowicz on the arm. She hastily concluded the 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 a statement via text message. “It was mean spirited.”