RICHMOND, Va. — Some Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates reportedly walked out of the chambers on Tuesday after the pastor who delivered the invocation exhorted lawmakers to protect the unborn and uphold the sanctity of biblical marriage. Two of those who spoke against the prayer were also identified as ministers.
Robert Grant Jr. of The Father’s Way Church in Warrenton had been invited by Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier, to lead delegates in the prayer before the start of the new legislative day.
“We pray today that the Virginia House of Delegates would exercise their authority, making right decisions for the citizens of this commonwealth,” Grant began. “I pray that every bill or law be fully considered by both Republican and Democratic delegates, having the bests interests of the citizens of Virginia.”
“I pray that both sides will put down their own selfish ambitions and need for importance, and do their job and stand for what is right in the sight of God,” he continued. “We ask the Holy Spirit to give this House the courage to speak up and do what is necessary for right living and to promote a peaceable, prosperous and safe state.”
Grant then asked that lawmakers would not pass bills that are displeasing to the Lord.
“We pray that all legislation will be done with a spirit of excellence and accountability,” he said. “We, the people, are in desperate need of leaders who can discern the needs of their fellow citizens and engage in the daily problems we face. That you legislate to fix problems and not create laws that create havoc.”
“I pray that we do not provoke God’s anger by making laws that can destroy the fabric of this great state and our wonderful country. God is love and God is merciful. God is holy and God is also judgment,” he prayed. “Please do not provoke his anger and bring wrath upon this state by what you create as law.”
Grant warned that God has poured out His wrath on nations for their disobedience before, and “we are not exempt.” He then began to speak to specifics, referencing prominent societal sins such as abortion and homosexuality.
“I pray that you may understand that all life is precious and worthy of a chance to be born. God is the giver of life and people have no right or authority to take life. The unborn have rights and those rights need to be protected. They should never be denied the right to exist, the right to develop or the right to have a family,” he stated. “The word of God has given us a warning: woe to anyone who harms an innocent child.”
“Please do not ignore their little voices. I pray for a heart change today,” Grant pleaded.
“I pray that this chamber will uphold the Virginia family, that the bills and laws being passed will always protect the biblical traditional marriage as God instructed the first man and the first woman in the Bible — that the two shall be one flesh, that a man and woman shall be fruitful and multiply,” he continued, being interrupted by a voice from the Democratic side calling out, “Is this a prayer or a sermon?”
“We should never re-write what God has declared,” Grant said, proceeding unflinched. “It’s not yours to change or alter its wording. The Bible is the copyright of God’s word. Marriage is to join a biological male and a biological female in holy matrimony, not to provoke the almighty God.”
House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, soon interrupted Grant and ended his exhortation by pounding her gavel and immediately proceeding to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Virginia Mercury reports that some Democratic members also left the chambers in protest of Grant’s words.
“It was totally disrespectful to all of us, all of us in this House,” Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, pastor of First Mount Zion Baptist Church, said of Grant’s invocation.
“In many ways, it felt like condemnation,” Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, associate pastor at New Bridge Baptist Church, also told the outlet.
However, Grant stood by his prayer, stating that it was rather the Democrats who were disrespectful to him.
“I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice,” he said. “If it’s my turn to have a voice, and I am a pastor, what do you expect from me? If you don’t want to hear what a pastor has to say, then don’t invite one.”
Jesus said 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.”