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.

According to the dispatch:

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.”

  • There should be no prayers said period. Polititican can pray on their way to work, if they so desire — not on time paid for by taxpayers.

  • I agree. But, for some reason, the supreme court made an exception for state legislatures and congress.

  • “At times, all we?re lacking is a river to take members down to dip them in.”

    …love this!

  • Lucy

    Here is the text of Pastor Hamblen’s prayer. You will notice that he mentions Jesus once at the end of the prayer. Also he only MENTIONS the issues that the house will be voting on and prays for wisdom for those voting on those issues – there were no comments on the issues one way or the other. So come on people – do we believe everything we hear/read in the news? Or do we use our critical thinking skills and find out what is true?

    Prayer given at the opening of the House session in Columbus on May 16, 2007 at Matt Huffman?s request.

    The last words of King David, the great political leader of ancient Israel, were ?he that ruleth over men must be just [do the right thing], ruling in the fear of God? (II Sam.23:1, 3-4), and I want to incorporate those words into my prayer.

    (I also want to pray specifically for my rep. Matt Huffman as a representative of all of you.

    Let us pray (from our hearts),

    ?Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name! Thy kingdom come.? Thy Word has told us (Pro.6:16-19) that the LORD hates ?a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.? We confess that these things are our natural bent, and we ask that You deliver us from the temptations and forgive us wherein we have already trespassed, through the shed blood of Thy dear Son.

    We thank you for that great salvation You offer to whosoever shall call upon the Name of the LORD.

    We thank you for our civil government?s protection of freedom of thought and religion, and we pray that continues. We thank you for the freedom to have church-operated schools in Ohio, and we pray that continues. We thank you for the men and women protecting those freedoms even now, and we ask you specifically for the safety and quick release of the three men (MIA) in Iraq even now.

    Give this Assembly wisdom and blessing to know what the right thing is today, regarding specifically the income tax adoption credit, immunization authority, and regulation of sexually oriented businesses and then to do it. For ?he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God? (II Sam.23:1, 3-4)! We ask of You a special blessing this day on our Representative from Lima, Mr. Matt Huffman.

    In Jesus? Name we pray,

    Pastor Keith Hamblen

  • Thanks for the text Lucy (or whoever). I think the last mention of Jesus given it is in his name the prayer is offered is enough for it to be considered a violation of the rules of the house. I’d say that Hamblen not even knowing of such rules speaks volumes about the need to look at this issue.

    I’m hoping the prior restraint issue brought up by all this might disallow any prayer in legislative sessions whatever. That would be real progress. We don’t pass laws in your church, don’t pray in my statehouse.

  • I really don’t care if he mentioned Jesus or not- to me that isn’t the issue.

    But I do care that he referenced two bills currently in front of the legislature: Charter Schools/Vouchers and the Adult Nightclub/Dancer thing. (as well as “income tax adoption credit” and “immunization authority”)

    He really did, as Chris Redfern said, use his invitation “as an opportunity to proselytize.”

    Which would be fine if Mr. Hamblen was invited to give testimony on those issues.

    But he wasn’t. He was there to do the invocation.

    Also- his unsolicited commentary related to church-operated schools seems quite inapproriate given that he is the former principal of the Lima Christian Academy and current Executive Director of the Buckeye Christian School Association!

  • Oh- and I forgot to say thanks for the text of the speech! Even if I do disagree with your view of his prayer- i really do appreciate the comments and the extra info.

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