The first Muslim woman member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives said on Tuesday that she was offended by a colleague's decision to open a voting session with a prayer the day before: "On behalf of Jesus, every knee will bow. " Democratic Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell of Philadelphia said she felt the words of the representative, Stephanie Borowicz, shortly before Johnson-Harrell took an oath on Monday to use her religion against her.
"I thought that, on the whole, the invocation was shocking," Johnson-Harrell told reporters, noting that his own religion respected Jesus. "But using Jesus as a weapon is not right."
Borowicz, a Republican wife and pastor's wife, elected to represent a rural district in central Pennsylvania in November, also thanked President Trump during Monday's invocation for. Johnson-Harrell said that she respected everyone's right to praise the president, but "we can not arm what's going on" and Palestine. "
Prayer should not be among the things Republicans and Democrats argue for, she said. "It was directly a political declaration and I think we need to be very clear about the fact that everyone in the House counts, whether it's Christian, Muslim or Jewish – and that we can not use these issues to tear each other apart, "Johnson-Harrell said. "And not only that, it was done during my swearing."
Johnson-Harrell won special elections earlier this month to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Democratic Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown, who was re-elected in November after being found guilty of corruption. The swearing-in of Johnson-Harrell attracted 55 guests, including a majority of Muslims. A Muslim prayer was said from the podium of the house during the ceremony.
Borowicz defended his remarks on Monday saying, "I pray every day, I prayed." She did not immediately return a message requesting a response to Johnson-Harrell's comments on Tuesday.
"In the name of Jesus, every knee will bend and every tongue will confess, Jesus, that you are Lord," Borowicz said Monday. His remarks on the ground provoked a reprimand from Allegheny County Democratic Party leader Frank Dermody, who called Borowicz's summons "to undermine the dignity of this House" and called for the creation of the "House of Commons". a group to review the procedure.
Borowicz's prayer lasted about a minute and 45 seconds. "It was hard for me to watch, but what was even harder, is that the speaker did not stop it immediately," said Maureen representative Madden, County from D-Monroe, to WHP-TV.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday that he was "horrified" by Borowicz's summons and apologized to Johnson-Harrell on behalf of all Pennsylvanians. "I was horrified." "I grew up in Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn on the basis of freedom of conscience. "I have a strong spiritual sense. religion in which I grew up, "said Wolf, a Methodist.
Another member of the Muslim parliament, Representative Jason Dawkins of Philadelphia, opened the session on Tuesday reading the Qur'an. His invocation was followed by applause.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, who controls the daily summoning process, lost a decision of the Federal Court last summer that ended his policy of preventing unbelievers from doing so. the invocations. Turzai is appealing this decision and is currently appealing by state officials.
After Borowicz's comments on Monday, Turzai read to members of the House the advice previously given to religious professionals on the need to keep remarks respectful of all religious beliefs and to refrain from commenting on superfluous topics.