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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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‘Jesus Prayers’ in Legislature Upset Florida’s Jewish Delegates

Can prayer in the name of Jesus be all inclusive just like a rabbi’s prayer? Jewish legislators in Florida say they don’t like being “JCd." Maybe they should get back at them with a few shofar blasts.
Florida Rep. Jim Waldman wants an end to the 'JC' moment in the legislature

Florida Rep. Jim Waldman wants an end to the 'JC' moment in the legislature
Photo Credit: MyFloridaHouse.gov

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Jewish legislators in Florida are seeking an end to prayers that often open the daily legislative session with references to Jesus Christ. They want prayers to be “all-inclusive.”

Rep. Jim Waldman told House Speaker Will Weatherford on Friday the “J.C” moment offends them, but Weatherford’s initial reply was that every cleric, whether Jewish, Christian or other, can pray as he wish. Nevertheless, he will consider the request.

A one-page guide to all clerics suggests that they refrain from “preaching or testifying” and that she should “be especially sensitive to expressions that may be unsuitable to members of some faiths.”

Statements about the “father, son and holy spirit” are too much for Waldman, who said that Jewish colleague Rep. Kevin Rader usually enters the legislature only after the prayer is completed in order to avoid a “JC moment.”

“It’s just not non-denominational. I don’t care that it’s optional. That shouldn’t be the limit test. It should be inclusive. And it’s not inclusive,” he told the Palm Beach Post.

The issue has come up before in the Florida legislature, most blatantly in 1997 when an evangelist took the opportunity in his benediction to attack divorce and abortion and cite Jesus as “the true God, the only God.”

Rep. Waldman said, “This year more so than others, every time the prayer comes up, it’s in Jesus’ name. This is my seventh year talking about it, and it’s getting to be too much. It would be nice to have an inclusive prayer.”

Christian News quoted the Speaker as saying, “Every member, Republican and Democrat, has an opportunity to pick a person to come on their behalf. We had a rabbi last week who didn’t pray in Jesus’ name. …We don’t choose the prayers for them…. I hear your concern but I can’t tell someone how to pray.”

Waldman disagrees and says clerics can be told how to pray. “It’s supposed to be non-denominational. I mean, that’s the law actually, it’s supposed to be non-denominational, not proselytizing, and it’s just not been….For Jewish members, it’s an insult.”

One possible way of settling the issue might be for a rabbi to open a legislative session by blowing the shofar. It would be interesting to see how many Christians would stand solemn with their heads bowed during 30 blasts of the shofar, ending with a long “Tekiah Gedolah.”

Is there a Muslim in the crowd?

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About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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11 Responses to “‘Jesus Prayers’ in Legislature Upset Florida’s Jewish Delegates”

  1. I remember about a prayer made at a public assembly at Brooklyn College starting out, "To whomsoever this may concern"…

  2. Alan Kardon says:

    Prayer is good if it gets these politicians to do their jobs. So far it has fallen on deaf ears.

  3. instead of whining why don't the Jews proclaim loudly in the name of HaShem. stop acting like little babies and stand up and be the leaders in faith that you are supposed to be.

  4. instead of whining why don't the Jews proclaim loudly in the name of HaShem. stop acting like little babies and stand up and be the leaders in faith that you are supposed to be.

  5. Yechiel Baum says:

    so much for seperataion of state and religion!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I remember when I was growing up, which was not that long ago, when America was a place for everybody and evey religion. Now I hear more and more on the radio that this is a Christian country. It is a disturbing trend and I don't see it going away. Why the need to force religion, I never understood. Maybe insecurity,

  7. Philip Vitale says:

    if they don't like it move to israel.

  8. Carl Walker says:

    Jews….what's next? Basically you offend.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You have your Israel. Off you go.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You have your Israel. Off you go.

  11. People don't know that the Six Million had been dramatically proclaimed 158 times between 1900 and August 1939 and 98 times more between October 1939 and December 1945. Finally at war's end the Jews found a prostrate patsy to stick the LIE to.

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