At the start of each session, the Ohio House of Representatives has a ‘guest pastor’ perform the invocation (a short prayer) prior to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The text of the prayer is supposed to be submitted, in writing, 72 hours in advance. As of Wednesday, this rule will be enforced.
That’s because the Reverend Keith Hamblen, pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Lima, provided an invocation on Wednesday that offended many members of the house- Republican and Democrat alike.
Hamlen, the former principal of the Lima Christian Academy and current Executive Director of the Buckeye Christian School Association, not only invoked the name of Jesus multiple times (something that is against the rules) but he also pushed the house members to vote for the strip club bill, among other things.
Reps. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) and Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown) left the floor during the prayer to protest.
“The opening prayer is a time to be mindful of the obligations that we’ve been granted through our voters and gives us a chance to reflect,” Redfern told the Columbus Dispatch in a story published Friday. “It should not be used as an opportunity to proselytize. At times, all we’re lacking is a river to take members down to dip them in.”