January 31, 2020

On Wednesday, the Republican majority in the Florida State House got a prayer that Jesus might have said. It was...uncomfortable for them.

Methodist pastor Andy Oliver has a reputation. His church is decidedly pro-gay, pro-civil rights, and yeah, liberal.

A vandal spraypainted "GAY PASTOR" on their church sign and the church covered the sign with rainbow hearts.

(Screenshot NBC News)

So Reverend Andy's prayer was going to be along Florida State House guidelines, which allowed for advocacy. With a 24 hour warning, the pastor got "new rules" sent to him which prohibited advocacy in opening invocations. Why would someone change the rules the day before HE was set to be there?

His prayer went like this:

Let us pray. Oh God of the oppressed, we have lost our way.

Some O God feel it is acceptable to ask your presence here in this chamber, yet not okay to advocate for the folks whose laws sometimes marginalize?

How is it, oh God, now too political to advocate for the working class and for those living in poverty, folks who increasingly can’t afford Florida? Why is it too political to pray for our teachers and state employees to be paid enough for food on their tables and roofs over their heads?...

Oh God is it now too political to pray for your creation? Calling for regulations to turn around climate change? Is clean water too political?

And why is it, oh God, too political to demand the dismantling of white supremacy and racism? From a state whose laws support voter suppression, target the disproportionate incarceration of black and brown people, and do harm to the undocumented?

When oh God did it become too political for a woman to make her own medical decisions, or for a child to want to attend school without guns?

How oh God is it too political to pray for LGBTQ people, who in the year 2020, simply desire protections for housing and jobs

Is it political to pray for the well-being of transgender children, who are at the greatest risk for suicide, whose colors I wear around my neck today, and who want to be called by their correct pronouns, and be allowed medical treatment.

Remind us, oh God, that you did not create the marginalized and oppressed political, but all your children you created in your image and you called them good. We lost our way when we chose to politicize their very existence.

If we’re not affected by minimum wage or threatened with deportation, if we can afford health care or if the color of our skin or the faith we practice or the person we love doesn’t dictate how we are treated, then it’s easy for us to politicize the lives of others. So forgive us we pray, embold us to speak out for the vulnerable, quiet us to listen to their voices, convict us to put your people before party and liberate both the oppressed and the oppressor in your longing for beloved community. In your name we pray, Amen.

He ruffled some feathers. FloridaPolitics.com said "Oliver’s comments took many in the House by surprise as he delivered a straight forward rebuke on Tallahassee politics." YA THINK?

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