Democratic lawmakers filed out during the anti-LGBT+, anti-abortion sermon by Robert Grant (right). (Virginia Political Memes/ YouTube)
Democrats staged a dramatic walk-out of the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday, February 11, after a Republican-invited pastor began attacking same-sex marriage and abortion while leading a prayer.
Reverend Robert Grant, senior pastor at The Father’s Way church in Warrington, Virginia, was invited by Republican delegate Michael Webert to deliver the usually non-political opening prayer for lawmakers before they recite the pledge of allegiance.
What started as a general blessing, urging lawmakers to create a “peaceable, prosperous and safe state”, soon turned into an anti-abortion, anti-LGBT+ rant.
According to a journalist present in the House of Delegates, one Democratic lawmaker shouted: “Is this a prayer or a sermon?”
After strongly stating his views against abortion, Grant said: “I pray that this chamber will uphold the Virginia family, 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, the two shall be one flesh, a man and a woman shall be fruitful and multiply.”
Democrats began to file out of the chamber as the pastor continued speaking.
Grant continued: “We should never rewrite what God has declared… 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 increase fatherless children and welfare victims and homelessness tax burden to us all.”
At this point, speaker Eileen Filler-Corn began banging her gavel to stop Grant’s prayer, and encouraged everyone to start saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Dems are furious. Trying to figure out who invited the pastor
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) February 11, 2020
According to the Virginia Mercury, an unidentified man who accompanied Grant also asked reporters if they knew that the Bible called for the death penalty as punishment for “sodomy”.
Speaking afterwards to reporters, Grant stood by his prayer and said that the lawmakers who walked out were “unprofessional”.
He said: “I think that the statehouse belongs to all the citizens. And all the citizens have a voice.
“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.”