ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports: Congress and state legislatures across the country routinely begin their daily sessions with an apolitical, non-denominational prayer. But in the Minnesota House on Friday, the prayer touched a nerve.
Bradlee Dean, an evangelical Christian leader invited by Republicans to be a guest chaplain, ended his prayer on the chamber floor with a shot at President Obama.
“It’s not about the Baptists, not about the Catholics alone, or the Lutherans, or the Evangelicals, or any other denomination, but rather the head of the denomination, and his name is Jesus, as every president up until 2008 has acknowledged,” Dean said. “And we pray it in Jesus’ name.”
Those words, Dean’s exclusion of Jews and other non-Christians from the prayer, and his record as an anti-gay activist who has suggested homosexuals be executed, triggered bipartisan outrage.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers later publicly apologized to his colleagues, pledging, “You will have my commitment that that type of person will never, ever be allowed on this House floor again as long as I have the honor of serving as your speaker.”
Dean, who prayed as a guest chaplain, runs a ministry program called “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide.”
After he was denounced by Zellers and other members of the legislature, Dean released an unapologetic statement on his blog.
“All I did was simply say a prayer encouraging all of us to honor our veterans, uphold the Constitution, and not forget the principles of our forefathers, upon which this nation is established,” he wrote.
Zellers had the episode struck from the legislative record and reinitiated the session two hours later with a new prayer by the regular House chaplain and another recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.