Virginia Democrats walked off the floor of the House of Delegates this week during a pastor’s opening prayer that condemned abortion and same-sex marriage.
Rev. Dr. Robert M. Grant Jr., pastor of The Father’s Way Church, urged the Virginia House in his prayer not to provoke God’s anger “and bring wrath upon this state by what you create as law.”
House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) ended Grant’s prayer by banging her gavel and proceeding with the Pledge of Allegiance, Virginia Mercury reported.
Democrats walk out in protest when pastor's opening prayer in Virginia House condemns abortion, gay marriage https://t.co/UhuaIgrufg
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Grant said in his prayer:
I pray that you may understand that all life is precious and worthy of a chance to be born. God is the giver of life and people have no right or authority to take life. The unborn have rights and those rights need to be protected. They should never be denied the right to exist, the right to develop, or the right to have a family.
Grant also asked, “Why are there so many abortion clinics near African-American communities?”
“This is planned urban genocide, and you can change this,” he said.
The Virginia House and Senate, now in Democrat control, recently passed bills to roll back all state abortion restrictions.
The State Senate’s Reproductive Health Protection Act (SB 733) rescinds the required 24-hour waiting period, ultrasound, and counseling prior to having an abortion. In addition, the bill allows non-physicians to perform abortions and rolls back building safety standards in abortion clinics that are required of other outpatient facilities.
“I pray that this chamber will uphold the Virginia family, that the bills and laws being passed will always protect the biblical traditional marriage as God instructed the first man and the first woman in the Bible, that the two shall be one flesh,” he added.
As Grant continued his prayer, someone shouted out “Amen,” but a person from the Democrat side called out, “Is this a prayer or a sermon?”
Democrat Del. Luke Torian, who is also a pastor, said Grant’s prayer was “totally disrespectful to all of us, all of us in this House,” reported Virginia Mercury.
“Most of the clergy that come here have been very respectful of the opportunity extended to them,” Torian added. “And every now and then you get someone that goes off the rail.”
Other Democrats were extremely critical of Grant, who, in turn, called their response “unprofessional.”
“I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens,” Grant told reporters. “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.”