Pastor Joe Wright's Prayer
Joe Wright is Senior Pastor of Central
Christian Church in Wichita, KS.
Pastor Wright had been invited to serve
as the House's guest chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who
was also a member of Wright's church. Accordingly, Pastor Wright
composed a prayer, read it at the opening of the legislature on January
23, and departed, unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church
secretary called him on his car phone to ask him what he had done.
Reportedly, one Democrat walked out in
protest, three others gave speeches critical of Wright's prayer, and another
blasted Wright's "message of intolerance." House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer
(also a Democrat) asserted that the prayer "reflects the extreme, radical views
that continue to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing
extremists seized control of the House Republican caucus last year." Rep.
Jim Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright "made everyone
mad." But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place,
claimed that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with
their criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer.
Pastor Wright said afterwards: "I
certainly did not mean to be offensive to individuals, but I don't apologize for
the truth." His staff stopped counting the telephone calls that came from every
state and many foreign countries after the first 6,500. Wright appeared on
dozens of radio shows and was the subject of numerous TV and print news reports,
and his prayer stirred up controversy all over again when it was read by the
chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature the following month. Wright
later explained, "I thought I might get a call from an angry congressman or two,
but I was talking to God, not them. The whole point was to say that we all have
sins that we need to repent – all of us . . . The
problem, I guess, is that you're not supposed to get too specific when you're
talking about sin."
as delivered on January
23, 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright to the Kansas House of Representatives.
Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your
forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. Lord, we know Your Word
says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called
it moral pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it
Search us oh God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some
wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of
Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant
them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of
Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.