Democratic lawmakers who took over the Virginia legislature last year have been dishing out new controls on the state, including special LGBTQ rights and gun legislation, but proved unable to take it this week when a pastor’s prayer sent them storming off the floor of the House of Delegates.
On the morning of Feb. 11, a pastor who had been invited to give the opening prayer made remarks condemning abortion and gay marriage and said God’s “wrath” would descend on those who don’t obey Biblical principles, WWBT 12 reports.
Incredibly, during the prayer one delegate yelled from the Democratic side of the chamber: “Is this a prayer or a sermon?”
Democratic Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax ended the prayer early by banging the gavel and moving to the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It was totally disrespectful to all of us, all of us in this House,” said Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, a pastor himself.
The pastor, the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Grant Jr. of The Father’s Way Church in Warrenton, had been invited by Del. Michael Webert, R-Fauquier. Grant stood by the prayer and called the Democrats’ reaction “unprofessional.”
“I think that statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice,” Grant 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.” Guests delivering the opening prayers — which are usually nonpolitical and encompass a variety of religious faiths — are typically invited to send in the text of their remarks beforehand. That did not happen with Tuesday’s prayer, according to House officials