Legislature Gay Prayer Angers Virginia Lawmakers
by AP from 365Gay.com on the Web, February 19, 2005
Richmond, VA -- It was a prayer that bowed heads and raised blood pressure.
The Rev. Debra Peevey of the Journey of the Heart Ministries in Reston delivered the invocation to open Friday’s House of Delegates floor session.
In her prayer, Peevey took note of legislation the House has embraced this year to ban same-sex marriage and make it difficult for gays to adopt children.
“Holy One, convict those who are using their power not to lead or to guide but to harm the gay and lesbian citizens, a small minority in this commonwealth,” Peevey said.
That didn’t sit well with conservatives in the House. The usual “Amen” chorus at the end of the prayer was noticeably muted.
“I thought it was very inappropriate myself,” said Del. Kathy Byron, R-Campbell County.
“This individual basically said we were using our power to harm gay or lesbian citizens.”
Added Del. John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake: “It’s interesting -– we’re told not to pray in Jesus’ name, but this is OK?”
Clergy whom delegates invite to deliver the House prayer receive a letter from the House clerk’s office to help them prepare.
Most keep their prayers general and free of political tones. A few stray slightly to the left or the right.
“We suggest that it should be ecumenical,” said House Clerk Bruce F. Jamerson.
“We tell them that they’re praying to a mixed audience and that a broad prayer would be best.”