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A viral video shows a Republican lawmaker saying a Christian prayer for forgiveness as Pennsylvania’s first Muslim woman representative was sworn in, Jezebel reports.
Newly elected State Representative Stephanie Borowicz pleaded with God during the “opening prayer” portion of the swearing in. “God forgive us. Jesus, we’ve lost sight of you, we’ve forgotten you, God, in our country, and we’re asking you to forgive us,” Borowicz said.
“You think @PAHouseGOP would [choose] someone less offensive to say opening prayer on the day that Pennsylvania’s first Muslim woman is sworn into the #PAHouse,” writer Sean Kitchen tweeted. He went on to say that Borowicz mentioned Jesus 13 times, God six times, and the lord four times. She also made several prayers for President Donald Trump and Israel.
Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell made history when she became the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania House.
“(The prayer was) highly offensive to me, my guests, and other members of the House. It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders—leaders that are supposed to represent the people,” Johnson-Harrell told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.
Other Democratic state representatives have condemned the prayer, and one even walked out of the room in real time.
“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,” Rep. Kevin Boyle wrote on Twitter.
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— Kevin J. Boyle (@RepKevinBoyle) March 25, 2019
“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,” Rep. Summer Lee wrote on Twitter.
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
When asked by Pennsylvania reporter Andrew Bahl for a response to the calls for an apology, Borowicz said, “Oh no, I don’t apologize ever for praying.”
Rep. Borowicz on her controversial prayer: "That's how I pray everyday." When asked to respond to Dems calling for an apology she says "Oh no, I don't apologize ever for praying"— Andrew Bahl (@AndrewBahl) March 25, 2019
Eilish O'Sullivan is an editorial intern for the Daily Dot studying journalism and government at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.