News & Media

For Immediate Release:  March 28, 2019

Contact:  Erin Williams | ewilliams@faithinaction.org | 202-748-0699

WASHINGTON –  On Monday, Pennsylvania State Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell made history by being sworn in as the first Muslim woman elected to the State House of Representatives. The ceremony, however, was overshadowed by a prayer delivered by State Representative Stephanie Borowicz, who delivered a prayer that was exclusionary and divisive. Bishop Dwayne Royster, Philadelphia native, National Political Director of Faith in Action and former Executive Director of POWER, the faith based organizing movement based out of Philadelphia, has delivered the following statement.

“This prayer is a display of weaponized faith at its worst. Rep. Borowicz chose to use exclusive, incendiary language about faith and draw into the prayer a call to support Israel. Faith is a means by which people should experience liberation and freedom. This prayer was sent as a message of hate and to intimidate the new Representative. As a Christian Faith leader, I condemn in no uncertain terms the language and message being conveyed by Rep. Borowicz in her prayer.

“One of the guiding principles of Christianity is to love one another. It is plain and simple and clear. What Rep. Borowicz did, implying that the state is in a hopeless place because of Johnson-Harrell’s election, is deplorable and offensive. I was embarrassed by how Borowicz framed the state – my home – as being intolerant and unwelcoming.

“The election of Rep. Johnson-Harrell is one that should be celebrated. She is a Pennsylvanian who represents the many beautiful folds of diversity within the state, and the country. Christianity is a shield, but it is not a weapon, and the theoretical blow that was delivered is distasteful and will not be tolerated. It is my hope that my home state’s leadership will find words and actions to draw the state together in many of the ways Rep. Johnson-Harrell has done throughout her career.”

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Faith in Action, formerly known as PICO National Network, is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.
 
Faith in Action is a 501c(3).  Faith in Action and its affiliates are non-partisan and are not aligned explicitly or implicitly with any candidate or party. We do not endorse or support candidates for office.

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