Movita Johnson-Harrell, Muslim Pennsylvania Democrat, offended by prayer utilizing ‘Jesus as a weapon’

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The primary feminine Muslim member of the Pennsylvania Home of Representatives stated Tuesday she was offended by a colleague’s choice to open a voting session with a prayer a day earlier that “on the title of Jesus each knee will bow.”

Democratic Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell of Philadelphia stated she felt the remarks by Rep. Stephanie Borowicz shortly earlier than Johnson-Harrell took the oath of workplace on Monday used her faith in opposition to her.

“I assumed that for essentially the most half, the whole invocation was offensive,” Johnson-Harrell advised reporters, noting that her personal faith respects Jesus. “However to make use of Jesus as a weapon shouldn’t be OK.”

Borowicz, a Republican and affiliate pastor’s spouse who was elected to signify a rural central Pennsylvania district in November, additionally thanked President Donald Trump through the Monday invocation for standing behind Israel.

Johnson-Harrell stated she respects everybody’s proper to reward the president, however “we can’t weaponize what’s happening with Israel and Palestine.”

Prayer shouldn’t be among the many issues that Republicans and Democrats struggle about, she stated.

“It was straight a political assertion, and I feel we have to be very, very clear that everyone on this Home issues, whether or not they’re Christian, Muslim or Jew,and that we can’t use these points to tear one another down,” Johnson-Harrell stated. “And never solely that, it was made throughout my swearing in.”

Johnson-Harrell received a particular election earlier this month to fill a seat vacated by the resignation of Democratic Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, who had been re-elected in November after being convicted of bribery.

Her swearing-in drew 55 visitors, a majority of them Muslim.

Borowicz defended her remarks Monday, saying, “I pray day-after-day. I prayed.” She didn’t instantly return a message searching for a response to Johnson-Harrell’s feedback Tuesday.

“On the title of Jesus each knee will bow and each tongue will confess, Jesus, that you’re Lord,” Borowicz stated on Monday.

Her ground remarks drew a rebuke from Democratic Chief Frank Dermody of Allegheny County, who referred to as Borowicz’s invocation “beneath the dignity of this Home” and requested group be set as much as overview the process.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf stated Tuesday he was “horrified” by Borowicz’s invocation and apologized to Johnson-Harrell on behalf of all Pennsylvanians.

“I used to be horrified. I grew up in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was based by William Penn on the idea of freedom of conscience. I’ve a powerful religious sense. This isn’t a mirrored image of the faith I grew up in,” stated Wolf, a Methodist.

One other Muslim lawmaker, Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Philadelphia, opened the session on Tuesday by studying from the Quran. His invocation was adopted by applause.

Home Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, who controls the each day invocation course of, misplaced a federal courtroom choice final summer time that halted his coverage of stopping nonbelievers from making the invocations. Turzai is interesting that ruling , and presently has the invocations carried out by state representatives themselves.

After Borowicz’s feedback on Monday, Turzai learn for Home members the steering that has beforehand been supplied to spiritual professionals about conserving remarks respectful of all non secular beliefs and refraining from commenting on extraneous issues.


Related Press author Marc Levy contributed.

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