RICHMOND, Virginia, February 12, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A pastor’s forceful remarks about the sanctity of life and the traditional family became a focal point for controversy in Virginia on Tuesday, with Democrat lawmakers walking out on the invocation and the House speaker forcing him to end early with the bang of her gavel.
Invited by Republican state Del. Michael Webert, Rev. Dr. Robert M. Grant Jr. of The Father’s Way Church delivered the opening prayer for the Virginia House of Delegates’ Tuesday session and took the opportunity to remind the legislators of God’s values and judgment.
“I pray that we do not provoke God’s anger by making laws that can destroy the fabric of this great state and our wonderful country,” Grant said. “God is love, God is merciful, God is holy, and God is also judgment. Please do not provoke his anger and bring wrath upon this state by what you create as law. Biblical history is very clear. His wrath upon the earth is documented. We are not exempt. We are not exempt. If he does not grant us mercy for the atrocities that are being done, we will eventually encounter the judgment of the Almighty God, and may the Lord have mercy upon us all.
“I pray that you may understand that all life is precious, and worthy of a chance to be born. God is a giver of life, and people have no right or authority to take life,” he continued. “The unborn has 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. The Word of God has given us a warning: ‘woe to anyone who harms an innocent child.’ Every one of you sitting here today can guarantee these rights to these little, innocent children of Virginia … please do not ignore their little voices. I pray for a heart changed today, and may the Lord God have mercy upon this leadership.”
Grant also prayed “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. That a man and a woman shall be fruitful and multiply. We should never rewrite what God has declared. If a state wants to use God’s law, then it needs to be respected. It’s not yours to change or alter the wording. The Bible is the copyright of God’s word. Marriage is to join a biological male and a biological female in holy matrimony, not to provoke the Almighty God.
“Without laws to protect traditional marriage, Virginia will be reduced to increase fatherless children and welfare victims and homelessness, and tax burden to us all,” he warned, at which point Democrat House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn cut in by banging her gavel and beginning to lead the chamber in the daily Pledge of Allegiance without waiting for Grant to stop talking.
“Is this a prayer or a sermon?” an unidentified Democrat was heard yelling during Grant’s remarks, the Virginia Mercury reported. Democrat state Del. Luke Torian, who is also a pastor at First Mount Zion Baptist Church, complained that the strong pro-life, pro-family remarks were “totally disrespectful to all of us, all of us in this House.”
At least one Republican also complained, with state Del. Matt Fariss claiming “this wasn’t the place or time to do all of that” but rather a “time we need to be working together and not being divisive,” and speculating that perhaps Grant “was ill-instructed or didn’t realize what he was here to do.”
Grant himself is standing firm, however.
“I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice,” he told reporters. “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.” Grant added that Democrats’ response was “unprofessional.”
Virginia has gained national notoriety for its far-left turn after Democrats’ November 2019 takeover of both chambers of the legislature. For almost a full year beforehand, Gov. Northam had been a lightning rod for criticism for defending the prospect of letting a doctor and family decide to let die a fully-delivered newborn that was deemed to be “nonviable” or have “severe deformities.”
The state legislature recently passed the so-called Reproductive Health Protection Act, which would empower various non-physician health workers to commit first-trimester abortions, repeal the 24-hour waiting period for abortion, and eliminate the requirements that a woman seeking an abortion undergo counseling and be offered the chance to see an ultrasound of her baby.
Virginia Democrats are also advancing a litany of pro-LGBT measures, include a repeal of the state’s unenforced, pre-Obergefell statute prohibiting same-sex “marriage,” a ban on counseling minors to help them overcome unwanted same-sex attraction, adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to state nondiscrimination rules, the ability to easily change the sex listed on their official birth certificate, a mandate that health insurance cover sex-reassignment surgery, the creation of a new model curriculum on “social justice,” legislation mandating transgender access to opposite-sex facilities, recognition of “preferred” pronouns, gender-confused boys’ participation in girls’ sports, and more.