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February 11, 2020

Warrenton pastor’s prayer riles Democrats at Capitol

I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice. If it’s my turn to have a voice, and I am a pastor, what do you expect from me? If you don’t want to hear what a pastor has to say, then don’t invite one.
— Pastor Robert Grant
By Graham Moomaw
Virginia Mercury

RICHMOND — Democrats walked off the floor of the House of Delegates on Tuesday morning as the Warrenton pastor invited to give the opening prayer delivered stinging remarks condemning abortion and gay marriage and said God would bring his “wrath” against those who don’t follow biblical principles.

“Is this a prayer or a sermon?” a delegate yelled from the Democratic side of the chamber as the prayer turned increasingly political.

Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) ultimately ended the prayer by banging her gavel and moving right into the Pledge of Allegiance.

Democrats sharply criticized the prayer’s tone, calling it a breach of the normal protocols for guest clergy.

“It was totally disrespectful to all of us, all of us in this House,” said Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William), also a pastor.

The pastor, the Rev. Dr. Robert M. Grant Jr. of The Father’s Way Church in Warrenton, had been invited by Del. Michael Webert (R-18th/Marshall).

Speaking to reporters afterward, Mr. Grant stood by his remarks and called the Democratic response “unprofessional.”

“I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice,” Mr. Grant said. “If it’s my turn to have a voice, and I am a pastor, what do you expect from me? If you don’t want to hear what a pastor has to say, then don’t invite one.”

As he walked off, a man accompanying Mr. Grant asked a group of reporters if they were aware that “sodomy” was once considered an offense worthy of capital punishment. He declined to give his name.

Guests delivering the opening prayers — which are usually nonpolitical and encompass a variety of religious faiths — are typically invited to send in the text of their remarks beforehand. That did not happen with Tuesday’s prayer, according to House officials.

Even some Republicans said they felt the tone was inappropriate.

“I don’t know if he was ill-instructed or didn’t realize what he was here to do,” said Del. Matt Fariss (R-Campbell County). “This wasn’t the place or the time to do all of that. … This is a time we need to be working together and not being divisive.”

Under Democratic control for the first time in decades, the General Assembly is advancing legislation to roll back restrictions on abortion and strengthen laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Other Republicans didn’t appear upset by the prayer. Socially conservative Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun) posed for a photo with Mr. Grant afterward in the Capitol rotunda.

Del. Webert declined to comment.

Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond), a pastor, said most prayers are delivered as blessings for legislators and the work they’re undertaking.

“In many ways it felt like condemnation,” Del. McQuinn said of Tuesday’s prayer.

“Most of the clergy that come here have been very respectful of the opportunity extended to them,” Del. Torian said. “And every now and then you get someone that goes off the rail.”
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kkima68 · February 18, 2020 at 6:08 pm
Pastor Grant, you are 100% right and those who have a problem with it have a problem with God because everything in your prayer is found in the Bible, GOD's word! We are living in the last days and this is to be to expected. Hold your head up high, because many of we Christians stand up and applaud you brother!
Bbcooke · February 18, 2020 at 2:49 pm
Pastor Robert Grant you seem like a great God fearing man! Do not allow political ignorance to silence your praise to the King all kings & the master of all of the universe! ❤️
DonkeyFarmer · February 13, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Slayer, What!? You really shouldn't be posting in your condition.
Slayer · February 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Thank you to the Republicans you even admitted that the tone was inappropriate, they failed to realize the information was false. Still some issues are beyond the United States Constitution, but still the United States government shall not deny the practice of religion or in-force particular tenant of. Invade know that cross the line. We do not want to be dictated by your church especially one with a false god that is counterfeit with role reversal at best and a voted on fictional Anthology at worse. au-dessus de la moyenne git what will destroy him and all the bigots that you cannot reply to in this feed.
Slayer · February 13, 2020 at 2:56 pm
Awful. He is one of the first to be destroyed. Remember before the vote and rear fight is counterfeit Bible. And Bo said that a s h e r a credit your way. Yes she created woman and gave her the authority to recreate bodies and give life. Separate life begins at Birth. That same Bible also calls for the casting out of adult receipts. Disinfect selectively pro-abortion. She want anyone who would discriminate against the person who is a woman for a person to be. Do not use words like innocent. You are born in original sin. And if your mother is innocent you'll inherit innocence, if you are guilty you inherited your mother's guilt. Period this is completely cuz Shay. They said nothing new. What about separation of church and state?
Wessel Jacobs · February 13, 2020 at 2:53 pm
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Truepat · February 13, 2020 at 11:39 am
I believe Mark Warner and 22 other Democrats are up for election in 2020, according to his website....... LOL
Calypso · February 13, 2020 at 11:32 am
Way to go Ms Hayes!!! "O my sweet Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially those in most need of your mercy" (for you Washington Post and all your followers...)
Post Washington · February 13, 2020 at 9:07 am
Truepat you are an idiot and you are not a patriot because you don't know what's going on in your state or your country. The next election for the General Assembly House of Delegates members doesn't happen until 2021.
Truepat · February 13, 2020 at 6:12 am
We need to vote them out in November!!
Post Washington · February 12, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Ms. Hayes. We are on to your evil ways. You are proof-texting. Give it up!
CAROLYN HAYES · February 12, 2020 at 10:11 pm
finally someone has the bravery to forget political correctness and say what God has declared, Sodom and Gomorrah were both destroyed by God because of their homosexuality, there are many verses that declare this, also thou shall not kill (by the way babies have a right to live also) what is wrong with our society that we kill unborn BABIES our country has become depraved and God will punish our land. This country is headed for unimaginable grief and punishment because of political correctness, No one is going to tell me what I can or cannot say.
Silii · February 12, 2020 at 7:07 pm
Listen to it. It wasn't a prayer. It was a political speech. Shame on Michael Webert for inviting him. Also, bear in mind that not all legislators are Christian. So, any prayer should not be geared toward a particular religion. I imagine readers of this would go ballistic if a Muslim had offered up the prayer to Allah. Point made.
kgiordano · February 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm
The pastor is entitled to his views. He was invited to say a prayer, not a speech about his views. There is a time & place, this was not it.
Calypso · February 12, 2020 at 1:57 pm
Way to go Pastor! God Bless You!
bostonite · February 12, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Wow. You guys really hate women.
warfname · February 12, 2020 at 7:47 am
Didn't realize so many Republicans loved big government
mexlee · February 12, 2020 at 1:00 am
If they were uncomfortable, perhaps it was their conscience and God's conviction. I agree that we have the Sexe video, at least for now. I applaud you and I am grateful that you gave a good example of sticking to your beliefs and speaking your mind. Well done, sir.
Post Washington · February 11, 2020 at 9:50 pm
ok. i'm a bot. i live in moscow. vote for mike bloomberg!
Post Washington · February 11, 2020 at 9:49 pm
and choke on this unrelated news bit you fundamentalist evangelical hypocrites. the world is changing for the better!
Post Washington · February 11, 2020 at 9:41 pm
Post Washington · February 11, 2020 at 9:38 pm
bb? what's your position regarding capital punishment? do you know the history of fundamentalist and Catholic political opposition to abortion? It started out as hypocritical cover up to the childhood sexual abuses perpetrated by your type being revealed during the 70's.
bblimber · February 11, 2020 at 6:13 pm
According to House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria “These restrictions were not designed to protect women, but rather to suppress their ability to make their own choices regarding their bodies”

If you've ever seen an ultrasound then you know the some facts. That this second choice the woman is considering will - in truth - decide the fate of not only herself, but the human being inside her.

Her first choice was to have sexual intercourse. The only certain way to avoid the second choice would be to have made the choice not to have sexual intercourse. OK, I know, what about rape and incest. Well since rape accounts for 1% and incest .5% - let's say we allow women/girls in those tragic situations the choice to terminate a human life. Not ideal, but it may be the only compromise that can stem the genocide.

But aside from all that. Isn't an important goal of 'healtcare' to all that posible to make sure the patient - let's assume just the mother for a moment - be fully informed?
Murthia13 · February 11, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Thank you Pastor. If they were uncomfortable, perhaps it was their conscience and God's conviction. I agree that we have the freedom of speech, at least for now. I applaud you and I am grateful that you gave a good example of sticking to your beliefs and speaking your mind. Well done, sir.
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