While far-right and even-farther-right Virginia Republicans are busy tearing themselves apart, hurling insults at each other like “flaccid,” “toilet paper,” “charlatan” and “fake politician,” this morning the Virginia House of Delegates witnessed a superb opening prayer by Rabbi Michael Rose Knopf of Temple Beth-El in Richmond. I can only imagine what anti-immigrant, pro-gun, anti-Medicaid-expansion/anti-healthcare Virginia Republicans like Del. Nick Freitas (a candidate for the VA GOP U.S. Senate nomination) were thinking as Rabbi Knopf prayed for:
- “eradicating all forms of bigotry and furthering your cause of inclusion and equality”;
- “embold[ing] them to welcome the immigrant, to support the refugee and to uphold the hopes of DREAMers”;
- “soften[ing] their hearts to know the suffering of the poor, the marginalized and disadvantaged”;
- “ensur[ing] that everyone in our Commonwealth has access to quality, affordable health care”;
- “safeguard[ing] us from the millions of guns – legal and easy to buy – that threaten our children at school, at the mall, at the movies, at concerts”;
- “grant[ing] them the will and the courage to put the lives of vulnerable citizens above the concerns of well-funded special interests”
Here’s the full transcript of the Rabbi’s superb invocation this morning, which one can only hope that Virginia House Republicans took to heart. Assuming they have hearts, that is.
Mekor ha-hayyim, somkeh noflim, matir asurim—
Champion of the downtrodden, we ask that, today and every day, You show our leaders how to walk Your paths:
Enable them to see Your image in all people, eradicating all forms of bigotry and furthering Your cause of inclusion and equality.
Embolden them to welcome the immigrant, to support the refugee, and to uphold the hopes of dreamers.
Soften their hearts to know the suffering of the poor, the marginalized, and the disadvantaged.
Source of life, we pray that, today and every day, You empower our leaders to be true champions of life:
Move them to ensure that everyone in our Commonwealth has access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Call them to safeguard us from the millions of guns, legal and easy to buy, that threaten our children at school, at the mall, at the movies, at concerts.
Grant them the will and the courage to put the lives of vulnerable citizens above the concerns of well-funded special interests. Guide them to do everything they can to preserve our health and to prevent shamefully common, uniquely American, man-made tragedies.
God of freedom, we ask that, today and every day, You strengthen our leaders’ resolve to protect the free ideals and democratic institutions that are the glory of our Commonwealth and country.
Grant them the humility to engage in respectful debate and disagreement, forging consensus where possible, yielding when necessary. Above all, remind them of their power to foster the common good, and their responsibility – above ideology, party, and political calculation – to wholeheartedly pursue righteousness and justice.
Hear our voices, God, and with compassion, receive our prayers, for we affirm that you are a God who listens to prayer. And as You bless our beloved Commonwealth and these dedicated public servants, help us all recall that, beyond supplication and petition, above all song and praise, You are a God who loves deeds of righteousness. May the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, and, most importantly, the actions of our hands, be acceptable in Your sight, bringing your love, your presence, and your peace ever closer. And let us say: Amen.