Boyle sponsors House resolution for respectful opening prayer

HARRISBURG, March 28 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., today announced his sponsorship of H.R. 184 that would establish that all opening House prayers be crafted with the respect of all religious beliefs in mind.

“What we saw earlier this week was a fire and brimstone Evangelical prayer that epitomizes religious intolerance,” Boyle said. “I walked off the floor in protest. Now, I’m sponsoring a resolution so that anyone who gives the House prayer knows that it must be done with the respect of all religious beliefs, reflecting a mutual human respect and religious tolerance of all of our colleagues and constituents. The opening prayer is not a time to intimidate, demean or degrade.”

On Monday, March 25, state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., was scheduled to be sworn in as the first Muslim woman and newest member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, was given the chance to give an opening prayer.

“Representative Borowicz invoked Jesus, the Lord or God about a dozen times in her one-minute-forty-second prayer. I cannot begin to imagine how uncomfortable that had to make Representative Johnson-Harrell and the 50 guests she had surrounded herself with that day from various religious backgrounds and beliefs,” Boyle said. “In addition, Representative Borowicz has doubled-down on these statements, saying she prays that way at home and would never apologize for praying. This is not your home where you can say whatever you want. It is the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where we show a common decency to one another.”