Monday, April 01, 2019

Christian Prayer in Legislature--Hate? Or Boldness?

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Local CBS News 21 first reported that a Christian State Legislator prayed an opening prayer that some are calling offensive and weaponized. And hate speech.

Is her prayer bold, biblical and sincere? Or is it a weaponized prayer intended to foster "hate" toward Muslims?

You decide.

Be informed.

Local CBS News TV 21 reported last week that "A Pennsylvania lawmaker is being accused of Islamophobia, after a controversial call to prayer in the PA House of Representatives."

The TV story continues: "Republican Rep. Stephanie Borowicz from Clinton County opened up Monday's House session with a prayer proclaiming her Christian beliefs, and how the nation has forgotten Jesus."

The TV story suggests that the problem is that "the prayer was given shortly after the chamber's first Muslim woman, Philadelphia Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in."

Rep. Borowicz' husband is an associate pastor in an evangelical church.

The prayer.

Rep. Borowicz's prayer invoked the name of Jesus 13 times during her 2-minute prayer, also offering thanks to God for President Trump's support for the nation of Israel.

She declared that Jesus is the "King of kings and Lord of lords, the Great I Am, and the One who is coming again."

In her prayer, Borowicz asked God to forgive America for losing its spiritual bearings. She prayed, "Jesus we have lost sight of you. We're asking you to forgive us...Jesus, You are our only hope."

She went on to pray for the state's and nation's leaders, and concluded her prayer, "in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus."

Some who watched the response during the prayer, said the newly sworn in Muslim woman and other Democrats were "squirming" in their seats.

The negative reaction.

Most Democrat lawmakers and the Democrat governor predictably began condemning her calling her prayer "inappropriate," accusing her of "flaunting" her religion.

Pennsylvania's Democrat Governor Tom Wolf claimed he is "horrified" by Borowicz's prayer. He says, "I grew up in Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn on the freedom of conscience. I have a strong spiritual sense. This is not a reflection of the religion I grew up in."

Johnson-Harrell, the newly sworn-in Muslim woman, says the prayer was very "offensive," saying "to use Jesus' name as a weapon is not 'OK," and "we cannot weaponize what's going on what's going on between Israel and Palestine."

She said, "I thought the prayer was blatantly Islamophobic, Xenophobic and discriminatory."

She added that "the prayer"... "blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some of the leaders that supposedly represent the people"...She also complained that the Borowicz's prayer "amounted to a political statement, and I think we need to be very very clear that everybody in this House matters, whether they're Christian, Muslim or Jew and that we cannot use these issues to tear each other down."

Johnson-Harrell is also calling for Borowicz to be censored by the state legislature.

Democrat House Whip Jordan Harris called Borowicz's prayer out of line, using himself as the kind of Christian she should be---offering himself as the model Christian.

He said,
"I am a Christian. I spend my Sunday mornings in church worshiping and being thankful for all that I have. But in no way does that mean I would flaunt my religion at those who 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."

After all this last Monday...Tuesday was a new day.

CBN News reports that Tuesday, "Another Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia) opened the Tuesday session by reading from the Quran. His invocation was followed by applause."

The positive response.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalf (R) says that his colleague, Borowicz, was merely "walking in the footsteps of our forefathers who would have prayed a prayer very similar." He added, "That the newest member, who is a Muslim, would attack her and say that Borowicz's prayer was an example of Islamophobia, should be offensive to every Pennsylvanian."

Many others have stepped up in defense of Rep. Borowicz's prayer.

Franklin Graham weighed in on the matter. He says:
"She doesn't need to apologize for her Christian prayer. We don't change who we are or what we believe because someone who is present may believe differently than we believe...I always appreciate anyone who has the guts to stand up for Jesus."

Millions of us agree with Franklin.

The Pennsylvania Pastors Network is a state chapter of the American Pastor's Network, which is a group of biblically faithful clergy regarding Scripture and our role as Christians in the culture.

They issued a statement which, in part, said this:

“As far back as the time of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, God’s name and His word have been prevalent in the official representations of our Commonwealth,” Dull said. “In fact, Penn dreamed to establish in Pennsylvania what was referred to as ‘The Holy Experiment,’ in which a colony would be founded that guaranteed religious freedom. But that freedom was based upon the truth of the Holy God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ, as it states in John 8:32: ‘And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
“The preamble of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: ‘We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution,'” Dull continued. “Beyond that, it does not take long for a person to notice when visiting the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg how many Bible verses are posted throughout that beautiful edifice. Certainly, Jehovah Elohim, the God of the Bible, has been respected by many both in word and in voice within those walls over the years.”

And the Pastor's Network said this:

“Often in doing so, Scripture verses are quoted that may be an offense to some people,” he said. “In fact, Isaiah 30:9 says that spiritually rebellious people ‘will not hear the law of the Lord.’ So we should not be surprised when some people object to the Word of God when it is read, spoken or used in our prayers,” he continued. “When a person prays a ‘Christian prayer’ to the Christian God of the Bible, it only stands to reason that Christian and biblical terms will be used in that prayer. That may and will offend some people but that does not mean that such a freedom should be taken away.”
“It has been reported that Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s Christian prayer offended the first Muslim woman to be elected to and sworn into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Movita Johnson-Harrell, and that it was called ‘Islamophobic’ by some. But it was a Christian prayer that was given, and thus Christian words and concepts were used. Obviously, a Muslim prayer, if it was given, would have used Muslim terms,” Dull continued. “In our Commonwealth, as well as in our nation, people have the freedom to pray as they desire, and we all must pray that such a great freedom will last for generations to come. It is this freedom that has caused America to be blessed beyond any nation on earth, and if that blessing is to continue then the freedom to pray in the public square, including in governmental buildings, must prevail.”

Franklin Graham added this: "God bless her for her boldness."

May God bless us all, and help us all to stand for His Kingdom. There has never been a greater assault on Christianity in America then we are experiencing today.

Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Informed. Be Prayerful.