HARRISBURG — The Republican state representative whose prayer on the House floor this week caused a controversy told listeners on a Christian radio program Thursday that she “prayed as I always did” and stood by the invocation she gave.
“I don’t apologize, but I stand by it,” Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, of Clinton County, told the American Pastors Network.
Just before Philadelphia Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell was being sworn in Monday afternoon as the state’s first Muslim female representative, Borowicz had delivered a nearly two-minute prayer that invoked Jesus’ name 13 times, at one point describing him as “our only hope” and professing that, as a nation, “We’ve lost sight of you.”
She also briefly referenced Israel, President Donald Trump, and Gov. Tom Wolf, among others. She said, “Every tongue will confess, Jesus that you are Lord,” and ended abruptly after someone yelled “objection.”
Democrats, including Johnson-Harrell, quickly decried the prayer as offensive, Islamophobic, or both. On Thursday, Rep. Kevin Boyle of Philadelphia introduced a resolution calling on representatives who lead the daily invocation to follow guidelines that ask them to craft prayers that are respectful of all religions.
Critics in theological circles questioned whether Borowicz’s remarks crossed the line from prayer into a political statement.
Borowicz said during her radio interview that she prayed on the House floor as she prays with her family every day. “We pray for our nation. We pray for our president. We pray for our leaders,” she said, adding later: “I had no idea that that would cause controversy. It wasn’t directed at anyone.”
Borowicz said she was nervous to deliver the prayer.
“I was just a weak vessel,” she said. “I was being obedient to the Lord, and excited and nervous at the same time to pray to my Jesus.”