Pennsylvania State House Invocation

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Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Haruo » Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:12 pm

YouTube video of Rep. Stephanie Borowicz's opening prayer

Astoundingly overladen with Jesus' Name (with occasional little twists of grammar making it sound, out of context, like she is claiming to be Jesus). Not nearly as worrisome to me as the rule against non-Christian clergy attending their condemned fellow believers in Texas and Alabama, but still pretty worrisome. The session in question involved the swearing in of PA's first female Muslim House Member.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby KeithE » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:25 pm

Haruo wrote:YouTube video of Rep. Stephanie Borowicz's opening prayer

Astoundingly overladen with Jesus' Name (with occasional little twists of grammar making it sound, out of context, like she is claiming to be Jesus. Not nearly as worrisome to me as the rule against non-Christian clergy attending their condemned fellow believers in Texas and Alabama, but still pretty worrisome. The session in question involved the swearing in of PA's first female Muslim House Member.

Her tone was entirely inappropriate in this secular setting. And her approval of Trump’s “unequivocal” support for Israel is not Jesus-like to say the least.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby William Thornton » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:25 am

I rather think gummit telling people how to pray, whether or not the prayer may include the name of Jesus, how many times, etc., is far worse than what some critics label an inappropriate prayer. These are all adults not crybaby children. Let the legislature either have a prayer and take what they get or not have a prayer.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby KeithE » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:14 am

William Thornton wrote:I rather think gummit telling people how to pray, whether or not the prayer may include the name of Jesus, how many times, etc., is far worse than what some critics label an inappropriate prayer. These are all adults not crybaby children. Let the legislature either have a prayer and take what they get or not have a prayer.

Not advocating for “gummit” telling people how to pray. Just giving my personal opinion that her prayer was inappropriate in that setting.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Haruo » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:54 pm

William Thornton wrote:I rather think gummit telling people how to pray, whether or not the prayer may include the name of Jesus, how many times, etc., is far worse than what some critics label an inappropriate prayer. These are all adults not crybaby children. Let the legislature either have a prayer and take what they get or not have a prayer.

Just so they get an occasional Muslim, Buddhists, and/or
Pastafarian invocation thrown into the mix. But Pennsylvania apparently adopted the habit of having House members do the opening prayer precisely to avoid doctrinal diversity, just as only Christians are allowed to have clergy of their own sect in the chamber with them when they are executed in Texas or Alabama. That systemic preference for our own religion may not be precisely unchristian, but it is both in and, the way I was taught both at school and at home, un-American.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Rvaughn » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:14 pm

The two guys to her right are sort of funny. I may be misjudging them, but it looked it didn't take them long to have had enough of her prayer.
Haruo wrote:Astoundingly overladen with Jesus' Name (with occasional little twists of grammar making it sound, out of context, like she is claiming to be Jesus)...The session in question involved the swearing in of PA's first female Muslim House Member.
I saw a news item on this yesterday morning while eating breakfast at Mr. Taco before going to the Southwest Texas SH Convention. (Karen gave me a report on the singing of NEW BRIDGE.) The reporter on whatever channel was on in the restaurant suggested that Rep. Borowicz deliberately exaggerated the use of the name of Jesus because of the new Muslim house member. Maybe so; maybe not. A possible simple way to check that out would be to see whether she normally prays that way -- some people do -- or whether it was an anomaly. Perhaps too much trouble for reporters to want to bother with? I pray in Jesus' name -- always, even in whatever context outside the church that I might be asked (which is seldom) -- but in my case would normally only invoke his name once. (That's not to say what others should or should not do, must or must not do.)
Haruo wrote:Not nearly as worrisome to me as the rule against non-Christian clergy attending their condemned fellow believers in Texas and Alabama, but still pretty worrisome.
This isn't exactly correct, according to my understanding. For whatever reason (see reason the state gave, below) the privilege applies to Christians and Muslims, but not other religions (I'm speaking of Texas; don't know about Alabama). I think we will find that this will not stand. In a recent Texas case, Brett Kavanaugh wrote, "As this Court has repeatedly held, governmental discrimination against religion, in particular, discrimination against religious persons, religious organizations, and religious speech violates the Constitution. The government may not discriminate against religion generally or against particular religious denominations." Also, in my understanding of the Texas case (which understanding might be wrong), the Texas prison officials did not argue universally against other religious advisers, but in this particular case from security concerns because no spiritual adviser of the prisoner's persuasion had been vetted by the prison system. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court did not accept their argument.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:40 am

Interesting. That's a familiar scene for me. I was involved in legislative advocacy for school choice in Pennsylvania for the last six years I lived there, and have been in that room many times, and I've met both Rep. Borowicz and Speaker Mike Turzai, who is standing immediately to her right. I've sat through several opening sessions in both the PA house and senate, and while I don't think I've heard a prayer that was as blatantly intended to make a political propaganda statement like that, it has become a pretty common practice for those who volunteer to pray to make political statements in their prayers or even to advocate for particular legislation during a prayer. They used to have a rotation of ministers come in to do it, but that was ruled as an unconstitutional establishment of religion. So they have members volunteer to lead the prayer. I'm not aware that the Pennsylvania House has any Muslim members. There are several Jewish members, a scattering of "Evangelicals" and mainline Protestants and lots of Catholics, a couple of Unitarians, a few Quakers and, just a guess, a majority who claim affiliation but aren't active in any sort of practice of their faith. I wouldn't call this a "prayer," since nothing in it was really addressed to God, but its hard to tell how that speaking slot has been used prior to this that prompted her to do the same thing.

This is a pretty good example of why those who are not believers have such a negative perspective of Christians, particularly conservative Christians. They blame the mainstream media for all of the bad publicity but the fact of the matter is that they do this to themselves with stuff like this.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby William Thornton » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:36 pm

Otoh, if you ask a rep to pray who gets to approve or disapprove the prayer? Don't like it? Ignore it. Public prayers for gummit events are mostly throwaways anyway.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:43 pm

Rvaughn wrote:I saw a news item on this yesterday morning while eating breakfast at Mr. Taco before going to the Southwest Texas SH Convention. (Karen gave me a report on the singing of NEW BRIDGE.) The reporter on whatever channel was on in the restaurant suggested that Rep. Borowicz deliberately exaggerated the use of the name of Jesus because of the new Muslim house member. Maybe so; maybe not. A possible simple way to check that out would be to see whether she normally prays that way -- some people do -- or whether it was an anomaly. Perhaps too much trouble for reporters to want to bother with? I pray in Jesus' name -- always, even in whatever context outside the church that I might be asked (which is seldom) -- but in my case would normally only invoke his name once. (That's not to say what others should or should not do, must or must not do.)


If her words were deliberate, knowing she was praying at the opening of a session when the first Muslim member of the legislature was being sworn in, then this was entirely inappropriate. It is my understanding that the members of the house volunteer to open the sessions in prayer and have stopped inviting clergy to avoid having the practice cancelled because it is unconstitutional. This wasn't a prayer, it was taking the Lord's name in vain to make a political point and if it was done because of the presence of a new Muslim member of the house, then it is even more offensive. God is not given any glory by those words (See Ephesians 4:29)and they are certainly not an attempt to "build up." It was a poor testimony and a poor witness.

As to the legislature addressing the content of her prayer, it doesn't take much in the way of discernment to figure out what this representative was doing under the circumstances and whether or not government prayers are "throwaways" or not, anyone in the room, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hottentot or Atheist could tell this was not a prayer. I have no problem with the legislature setting parameters on what can be said by a legislator opening the session with a "prayer."
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Haruo » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:02 pm

My understanding was that the decision to switch from outside pray-ers ("clergy") to members of the House was not in order to avoid having the prayer judicially banned, but in order to avoid having to include pray-ers of religious viewpoints (e.g. secular humanism, atheism, perhaps Islam or Buddhism*) that were intentionally excluded from the rotation in the rotation.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby William Thornton » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:05 am

Sandy: I have no problem with the legislature setting parameters on what can be said by a legislator opening the session with a "prayer."

Now this is shocking.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:40 am

As long as we pretend to live in Christendom, these events will occur.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:47 am

I don't think it is inappropriate for people to pray according to their sincerely held religious beliefs just because someone is present who holds different beliefs. If so, then one would also have to conclude that it will be inappropriate for the new Muslim member of the legislature to volunteer and pray according to her sincerely held religious beliefs. As for Rep. Borowicz's prayer (regardless of what suspicions I might have), I cannot judge whether she prayed according to her sincerely held religious beliefs. I don't know her heart, her beliefs, or how she normally prays. That doesn't keep me from thinking her prayer was weird, according to my own standards.

What is inappropriate to confiscate the paragon of prayer as a platform for political pablum in place of petition to God. With William, I'd agree public prayers for government events "are mostly throwaways."
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:58 am

Rvaughn wrote:
What is inappropriate to confiscate the paragon of prayer as a platform for political pablum in place of petition to God. With William, I'd agree public prayers for government events "are mostly throwaways."


I could not agree more. Such events prostitute prayer.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:36 am

Rvaughn wrote:I don't think it is inappropriate for people to pray according to their sincerely held religious beliefs just because someone is present who holds different beliefs. If so, then one would also have to conclude that it will be inappropriate for the new Muslim member of the legislature to volunteer and pray according to her sincerely held religious beliefs. As for Rep. Borowicz's prayer (regardless of what suspicions I might have), I cannot judge whether she prayed according to her sincerely held religious beliefs. I don't know her heart, her beliefs, or how she normally prays. That doesn't keep me from thinking her prayer was weird, according to my own standards.

What is inappropriate to confiscate the paragon of prayer as a platform for political pablum in place of petition to God. With William, I'd agree public prayers for government events "are mostly throwaways."


Given some of the statements she made during her prayer, I can't determine if her "sincerely held religious beliefs" are Christian, or extremist right wing Republican. And if it's the latter, who's the god to whom the prayer is directed? Guaranteed if a Democrat had done the same, invoking the name of God over a list of left wing propaganda and distorted interpretations of history, the accusations of blasphemy and condemnations of heresy would be unending, and there'd be eight representatives ready to pass a resolution regulating the content of prayers or forbidding that particular house member from ever opening in prayer again.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:10 pm

Sandy wrote:Given some of the statements she made during her prayer, I can't determine if her "sincerely held religious beliefs" are Christian, or extremist right wing Republican.
She may think her "sincerely held religious beliefs" are "both/and" instead of "either/or." In a free society we get to determine whether we think someone's "sincerely held beliefs" are right or wrong, but we don't get to determine what someone's "sincerely held beliefs" are.
Sandy wrote:Guaranteed if a Democrat had done the same, invoking the name of God over a list of left wing propaganda and distorted interpretations of history, the accusations of blasphemy and condemnations of heresy would be unending...
I notice you often defend what the Democrats do or should do by what the Republicans did or would do (or vice-versa). That's a pretty low standard.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:57 pm

Rvaughn wrote: I notice you often defend what the Democrats do or should do by what the Republicans did or would do (or vice-versa). That's a pretty low standard.


I'm not defending what the Democrats do, I'm pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the Republicans. The rhetoric in discussions like this often runs to "both sides are equally bad." But no, that's not the case, that's really a cop-out and a means of exiting a discussion when your own perspective isn't really being carried by the evidence or the obvious. And in the case of the representative's prayer, her intentions were obvious. She made a mockery of the Christian faith, reducing it, in front of the Pennsylvania legislature, to a vehicle for pushing extremist right wing political views.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:31 am

Sandy wrote:But no, that's not the case, that's really a cop-out and a means of exiting a discussion when your own perspective isn't really being carried by the evidence or the obvious.
My, I haven't noticed that I have exited the discussion, neither that your evidence is carrying the discussion. As I see it, your evidence is your opinion that you know what she intended. But do you? My point is that I know what she did/prayed, but I don't know what is in her heart or that she deliberately "over-invoked" Jesus's name and mentioned Israel in order to offend Muslims who were present (which is what I originally heard on the news, and which she did whether or not it was her intent). In this NBC news piece which gives some of her viewpoint and some views of others who disagree, she says, "I prayed as I always did." Do you have evidence that she is lying? If we could find other prayers that she prayed, then we would have evidence beyond our opinions.
Sandy wrote:And in the case of the representative's prayer, her intentions were obvious. She made a mockery of the Christian faith, reducing it, in front of the Pennsylvania legislature, to a vehicle for pushing extremist right wing political views.
Again, as far as her personal prayer is concerned, we can think of it what we will. I didn't notice, though, from your evidence, that you prove she doesn't sincerely hold both whatever are her views on Christianity and what are her views on "extremist right wing" politics. In fact, I'd guess than any number of evangelical Christians have gone into politics to push their "extremist right wing" views which they believe are consistent with their views of evangelical Christianity. I'd be floored, though, if you don't know (or know of) evangelical Christians whose views on foreign policy concerning Israel is based on the views of Israel and the Bible (or their views on praying in Jesus's name, for that matter).
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:02 am

Note that my comment said "by the evidence or the obvious. This is the Pennsylvania legislature, where there is no position on US support for Israel, or for any of the other right wing positions she managed to work into her prayer. "That's the way I always pray?" Maybe so, though I doubt it. But here's what's obvious. She chose this particular legislative session to volunteer to open in prayer, where the swearing in of the first Muslim member was on the agenda. Her words and her body language are sending the message she wants to send. I think she very clearly stated and showed us what was in her heart and BTW, hasn't denied it.

Apparently most of the legislature, including members of her own party, came to the same conclusion.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... d3c8ad728b

Objections to instructions by the legislators as to the content of prayers are unfounded and hypocritical. The Pennsylvania house already had rules favoring those of one particular religion when it came to the content of a prayer, and restrictions on those who would be allowed to recite them.

There's no tongue in cheek smilie here, but tsk, tsk, tsk, look what happens when you let a woman take off her head covering and give her a mic to lead a prayer. ;-)
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:09 pm

Sandy wrote:"That's the way I always pray?" Maybe so, though I doubt it.
You're free to doubt, but in the absence of evidence, it is just an opinion, even if it seems obvious. In this piece at PennLive, a political observer thinks it mirrored the style of her campaign.
Chris Ellis, an associate political science professor at Bucknell University, said the approach in her campaign was similar to the approach people can see in the invocation video.

“I think what happened is not a surprise and I think it plays fairly well for her district,” Ellis said.

Sandy wrote:But here's what's obvious. She chose this particular legislative session to volunteer to open in prayer, where the swearing in of the first Muslim member was on the agenda. Her words and her body language are sending the message she wants to send. I think she very clearly stated and showed us what was in her heart and BTW, hasn't denied it.
I have not read that she chose specifically to volunteer for this particular legislative session, though she may have. Yet, by the time it transpired she certainly would have known it included the swearing in of the first Muslim member. None of that answers whether or not she is praying the way she always prays.
Sandy wrote:Apparently most of the legislature, including members of her own party, came to the same conclusion.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... d3c8ad728b
I'm not swayed that a majority came to a different conclusion. As far as the link is concerned, it apparently is only for subscribers. (I can "keep reading" for $1.)

I view prayer is an act of communing with and/or making a petition to God (or in the case of some others, some other object of worship). If a legislature really wants to have prayer, then let the legislature and its guests suck it up and let each pray-er pray according to the dictates of his or her own heart. If they are just putting on a show with a sham prayer, then just replace it with a moment of silence or something.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:02 pm

After the fact, a few Republicans and supporters defending her is not a surprise.

I do not believe that a prayer at the beginning of a legislative session has to be an empty formality or a sham, putting on a show. If you've been asked to open a legislative session with prayer, then the content of your prayer would be to start by praying for the forgiveness of your own sin so that you are able to be a channel of prayer, pray for God's presence and guidance, for the legislators who are open to his leading to be discerning with their words and their votes, for their safety during the session, intercede for those who need it, or who have family members who need it. Offer up words of praise and worship to encourage and assist those who are also genuinely praying. Pray for the legislature to get to the correct choice on issues, particularly the tough, divisive ones and pray that political disagreement doesn't rupture relationships. Close in Jesus' name if you choose and that's the way you normally would. No problem praying for specific government officials mentioned by name, regardless of party. All of that could have been done here, including praying for the new house member's discernment and peace, and the safety of her and her family, without the prayer being a sham or an empty formality.

Using a prayer to laud the president for his Israel policy, which was just a statement, turned the prayer into a political formality. The Pennsylvania legislature does not have anything to do with national relations to Israel, so why would that be in the content of a prayer in that forum? That would be like pulling out your personal prayer list with all of your sick relatives and friends and personal prayer requests on it and praying for each one by name and their condition in front of your whole congregation.

You can see the reaction of those in the video, including Speaker Turzai, who was standing next to her, and who gave her a couple of looks that said "cut it off" before touching her elbow to shut her up. And as a Christian, under any directive of scripture, she clearly offended the new Muslim house member, who said so, politely and respectfully.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby William Thornton » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:29 pm

Problem here is Sandy: "have no problem with the legislature setting parameters on what can be said by a legislator opening the session with a "prayer.","

Who else here believes gummit should set parameters on legislative prayers?
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Sandy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:51 pm

William Thornton wrote:Problem here is Sandy: "have no problem with the legislature setting parameters on what can be said by a legislator opening the session with a "prayer.","

Who else here believes gummit should set parameters on legislative prayers?


This legislature, along with several others under Republican control, already set parameters on what can be said by a legislator, and on who can actually pray, and you have no problem with those, because they are Republican.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby William Thornton » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:10 pm

Sandy wrote:
William Thornton wrote:Problem here is Sandy: "have no problem with the legislature setting parameters on what can be said by a legislator opening the session with a "prayer.","

Who else here believes gummit should set parameters on legislative prayers?


This legislature, along with several others under Republican control, already set parameters on what can be said by a legislator, and on who can actually pray, and you have no problem with those, because they are Republican.


Actually, I wasn't aware of the composition of the legislature. Show me the rules on prayer that you approve of.
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Re: Pennsylvania State House Invocation

Postby Haruo » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:47 pm

Sandy wrote:This legislature, along with several others under Republican control, already set parameters on what can be said by a legislator,...

Parameters on what can be said by a legislator? Tell me more. I hadn't heard about that part.
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