Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R) asked God to forgive Americans for forgetting him and invoked Jesus Christ’s name 13 times during an opening invocation performed before the legislature swore in its first Muslim woman.
“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,” declared Borowicz, before interrupting her own litany to praise Donald Trump for his support of Israel.
At one point, at least one member could be heard angrily voicing objections before Speaker Mike Turzai, a fellow Republican, was forced to nudge Borowicz’s elbow and prompt her to end the invocation. Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell (D), who was sworn in following Borowicz’s address, told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Monday that the evangelical Republican was clearly trying to draw attention to Johnson-Harrell’s Muslim faith.
“It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” said Johnson-Harrell. “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 has since called on the General Assembly to censure Borowicz. Her fellow Democrats also came to her defense, condemning Borowicz’s prayer as divisive, racist, and intolerant.
Today we're swearing in the 1st Black Muslim woman to the PA General Assembly. To honor the occasion @RepTurzai invites the most inappropriate, racist, islamophobe to ramble a "prayer" thanking Trump, Jesus, and Israel. Most inappropriate thing ive witnessed in my 4 months
— Summer Lee (@SummerForPA) March 25, 2019
Prayer should never be weaponized, especially on a celebratory day for @RepMovita as she’s sworn in as the 1st Muslim woman to serve in the #PAHouse. This prayer was deeply disrespectful and meant to intimidate Movita & her family. We won’t stay silent on what matters! #LoveWins pic.twitter.com/V7vIepG2Da
— Jordan A. Harris (@RepHarris) March 26, 2019
I walked off the House floor in protest during today’s prayer led by a GOP member. This fire and brimstone Evangelical prayer was before the swearing in of the PA House’s first ever Muslim woman. It epitomizes religious intolerance. Below is the video. https://t.co/pq34UmK2Nn
— Rep. Kevin J. Boyle (@RepKevinBoyle) March 25, 2019
Despite the blowback, Borowicz has refused to apologize for her remarks.
“That’s how I pray every day,” she claimed. “I don’t apologize ever for praying.”
Read the full story at the Washington Post.