GOP lawmaker begs God’s forgiveness before the swearing in of first female Muslim representative

Backlash is growing against a Republican lawmaker in the Pennsylvania State House after she said a prayer asking for God’s forgiveness just before the state’s first female Muslim representative was sworn in this Monday, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports.

In an opening prayer just before Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell was sworn in after winning a special election, State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz called out to Jesus 13 times, asking for forgiveness for having “forgotten you, God, in our country,” adding that Jesus is “our only hope.”

“We ask that we’re not overcome by evil and that we overcome evil with good on this land once again,” Borowicz prayed. “I claim all these things in the powerful, mighty name of Jesus, the one who — at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Towards the end of her prayer, Democratic Rep. Margo Davidson yelled “objection,” prompting House Speaker Mike Turzai to signal to Borowicz that it was time to wrap up.

Amidst a chorus of House Democrats speaking out against the prayer, Johnson-Harrell called for Borowicz to be censured.

“[The prayer] blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders—leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell said. “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.”

Also speaking out was Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, who said he was “horrified” by the display. In a speech on the House floor, House minority leader Rep. Frank Dermody said that the prayer marked the first time the House “started out with a prayer that divides us.” House Minority Whip Jordan Harris put out a statement saying the state doesn’t need “to see prayer and religion twisted to intimidate, discourage or subtly degrade any Pennsylvanian.”

Speaking to local reporter Andrew Bahl, Borowicz said that she had nothing to apologize for.

“That’s how I pray every day,” she said, adding that she doesn’t “ever apologize for praying.”

On Monday, Turzai called on state lawmakers to “deliver an interfaith prayer” in future invocations.

“We’d ask that you craft a prayer that is respectful of all religious belief,” he said.

Featured image via screen grab

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.