Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Arizona House Busies Itself with Prayer

cross27-colored-sig-sm72The Arizona State Senate and the House of Representatives begin each session with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

On some level, I understand the inclusion of the Pledge of Allegiance. Since Arizona lawmakers often challenge the authority of the federal government, stating the Pledge of Allegiance may remind them that Arizona is not a sovereign country; it’s one state in the United States.

But a prayer at the opening of an official meeting of US lawmakers?

Apparently, Arizona lawmakers take turns offering the opening prayer, and on Tuesday, all hell broke loose– literally and figuratively— when Rep. Juan Mendez (D-Phoenix) came out (as an atheist), asked people not to bow their heads, and offered this “prayer” to open the session.

“I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of people of our state.”

I think this is a perfectly fine “prayer”, but holier-than-thou Rep. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) judged it a non-prayer. Smith insisted two prayers must be recited on Wednesday “for repentance” and asked everyone to stand and “give our due respect to the Creator of the universe.”

This is fundamentalist hogwash.

Again, I ask the Republicans in the Arizona Legislature: What Would Jesus Do?

1- Jesus would pass Medicaid expansion and stop arguing about the elements that must be included in a proper prayer.

2- Jesus would say to Smith, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

3- Jesus would give Mendez a high five for suggesting that legislators dedicate themselves “to working toward improving the lives of people of our state.”

One comment on “Arizona House Busies Itself with Prayer

  1. Pingback: AZ Voter Suppression Bill Passes in Waning Hours of 2013 Session | Tucson Progressive

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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