Is a public meeting over utility company rates really the right place for a prayer asking God's forgiveness for abortion and same-sex marriage? We doubt it.
A July 17 meeting held by the Alabama Public Service Commission, a state government agency, began with a prayer from a Baptist minister who was introduced as a friend of Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh.
The minister, John Jordan of East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., who is also a member of the Alabama Tea Party, began his prayer by polling those present to see who believed in God. Then he went on to pray for a number of things, including forgiveness from God for the "sins" of abortion and gay marriage.
"We've taken you [God] out of our schools and out of our prayers," Jordan intoned. "We have murdered your children. We've said it's okay to have same-sex marriage. We have sinned and we ask once again that you forgive us for our sins."
Click the video above to watch.
Apparently opening Public Service Commission hearings with prayer is a somewhat regular occurrence. At the start of the video, Cavanaugh explains, "Most of the time the person saying the prayer is from a church or a friend of one of the commissioners."
The meeting, which was first reported by Right Wing Watch, was about the setting of utility rates by Alabama Power, a Birmingham-based electric company that supplies power to a large part of the state.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," a statement that has been interpreted through the years to prohibit governmental preference of one religion over another. While Cavanaugh hasn't returned our request for comment yet, you can see in the full video from the meeting that the commission does not mention any other religions before proceeding with the hearing.
Update Thursday 12:00pm: Cavanaugh has emailed HuffPost with a statement. "My Christian faith guides me in everything that I do, and I'm proud that the Alabama Public Service Commission opens each meeting seeking His divine guidance and thanking God for the blessings He has given us," she writes. "I make no apologies as a Christian elected into public service by the people of Alabama. Without a doubt, our nation needs more prayer, not less."
(Hat tip, Right Wing Watch)