HARRISBURG, Pa. — A lawmaker in Pennsylvania who is also a pastor’s wife is being criticized for repeatedly praying in the name of Jesus prior to the swearing in of an Islamic legislator, while a Quran reading presented the following day by a Muslim lawmaker received applause in the legislative chambers.
Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton County, provided the day’s invocation on Monday, declaring the name of Jesus and Scripture numerous times.
“Jesus, I thank you for this privilege, Lord, of letting me pray,” she began. “That I, Jesus, am your ambassador here today, standing here representing You, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the great I Am, the One who is coming back again, the One who came, died and rose again on the third day.”
Borowicz thanked God that the nation’s founders, such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, sought after God in their leadership capacities.
“God, forgive us. Jesus, we’ve lost sight of You,” she then lamented. “We’ve forgotten You, God, and our country, and we’re asking You to forgive us, Jesus. Your promise in Your word says that if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek [My] face, and turn from their wicked ways, that You will heal our land.”
The pastor’s wife also prayed for Pennsylvania’s political leadership, as well as President Trump. Borowicz’s husband, Jason Borowicz, serves as an associate pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Jersey Shore.
“We ask that we not be overcome by evil, but that we overcome evil with good in this land once again,” she continued, referring to Romans 12:21. “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, amen.”
According to reports, someone in the chamber called out “objection” near the end of her prayer.
Borowicz soon drew criticism in light of the fact that her prayer, being so boldly Christian, preceded the swearing in of State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D- Philadelphia, a longtime Muslim. Johnson-Harrell had a number of friends and family members, who are also Muslim, present to observe her taking the oath of office.
“[The prayer] blatantly represented the Islamophobia, xenophobia, and bigotry that exists among some leaders,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It was planned and meant to be insulting to me and my guests, and was done in the name of Jesus, which is blasphemy.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who identifies as Methodist, said that he was “horrified” by Borowicz’s prayer.
“I grew up in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn on the basis of freedom of conscience. I have a strong spiritual sense. This is not a reflection of the religion I grew up in,” he stated, according to USA Today.
Other lawmakers spoke out against the Republican representative’s prayer in the name of Jesus, and Johnson-Harrell soon suggested that Borowicz should be censured over the matter.
On Tuesday, Muslim Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Philadelphia, presented a reading from the Quran. He provided a brief introduction beforehand, explaining his view that beliefs are more than just words.
“As an American Muslim of this chamber, I’ve always carried myself as an example of what it looks like to be a Muslim,” Dawkins told those gathered. “And I wanted folks to see that from the actual actions of me and not the words that I say out of my mouth.”
He then advised that he wanted to read from the Surah Al-Fatiha, and provide “a breakdown of what it means.”
“In the name of [Allah], the lord of mercy, the giver of mercy: Praise belongs to [Allah], god of all works,” Dawkins read. “The world of mercy, the giver of mercy, master of the day of judgment, it is you we worship, it is you we ask for help. Guide us to a straight path, the path of who those you have blessed, those who incurred no anger and not gone astray.”
While some translations use “Allah,” Dawkins stated the general “God.”
According to an online explanation of the Al-Fatiha by Kamil Mufti, “The Quran begins with the proper, unique, and personal name of God, Allah. “I begin with the name of Allah” means a Muslim begins his recitation seeking the help of Allah. Allah is the God of mankind who alone deserves worship. No one else can take the name Allah.”
“The verse tells us that a Muslim is not allowed to direct any act of worship, like prayer and asking for supernatural, help to anyone other than Allah.”
Dawkins concluded his time at the podium with the Islamic “Ameen.”
His remarks were met with applause in the chambers.
In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven.”
He also warned in Mark 8:38, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”