Even though this country is said to be founded on Christianity, until friend and popular DMV Pastor, Rev. Tony Lee, mentioned on Facebook he was going to offer the opening prayer at a session of the U.S. House of Representatives, I never thought about how much prayer, “in Jesus name,” takes place throughout this nation’s legislative process. With separation of church and seemingly everything, it is amazing that Christian prayers continues to open session after session when our government convenes. This country was also founded on principles of freedom, including religious freedom, creating a society of great diversity. Yet, the majority if not all prayers are still “in Jesus name.” Since we are not a theocracy, is this disrespectful to other religions?
Recently, GOP Rep. Stephanie Borowicz offered an opening legislative prayer where she included the scriptural reference, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.” Any other day, this may have been overlooked as a typical Christian prayer, but this day happened to also be the same day that new Democratic Representative and Muslim, Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in. Needless to say, the prayer was not well-received by many. To be fair, her prayer was also laced with mentions of Israel and President Trump. No wonder Rep. Johnson-Harrell called the prayer “highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House,” according to the Pennsylvania Capital Star.
She went on to say, “It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders; leaders that are supposed to represent the people.” This begs the question, if the people are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, should our public prayers continue to be “in Jesus name” or any name? After all, it was atheist special interest groups that removed prayer from public schools, yet it persists in the seat of U.S. government. As one who professes Christ and who has no problem praying in public, I have my own opinion. However, I would love your introspection, consideration, and comment below. Should public prayers spotlight the beliefs of a specific religion, to the exclusion of others?