Several House members reportedly left the GOP weekly meeting on Thursday after a Georgia congressman read a Bible passage that characterizes homosexual conduct as sinful.
Rep. Rick Allen, charged with opening the meeting with prayer, used the opportunity to address more than 40 of his Republican colleagues who backed a Democratic LGBT measure the night before.
Last spring, in one of his multiple executive orders regarding LGBT rights, President Obama barred federal contractors from “discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., offered an amendment codifying Obama’s executive order and stripping a religious liberty exception that Republicans included in the overriding bill. The amendment failed by one vote last week, with just 29 GOP members supporting it. However, it passed on Wednesday night, with 43 Republicans joining the Democrats.
According to Roll Call, Allen read two Bible passages to open the Thursday GOP meeting as a clear rebuke to Republicans who had sided with the Democrats. One of them was Romans 1:18-32, which recounts what happened to mankind when it turned away from God and His truth. It reads, in part:
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Advertisement – story continues below
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
The other passage Allen read was Revelations 22:18-19, which warns against adding or taking away from that book specifically, but has been used for the broader principle of judgment that will come on those who turn away from God’s word.
“A lot of members were clearly uncomfortable and upset,” a congressional aide told The Hill.
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., a Maloney amendment backer, said Allen’s comments “were wildly out of bounds and especially inappropriate given that this was supposed to be a prayer,” according to The Washington Post.
“It was f—ing ridiculous,” said another GOP lawmaker who supported the LGBT provision.
Less than 24 hours after the Maloney amendment passed (223-195), the Energy & Water Appropriations Bill to which it was attached was soundly defeated, 112-305.
One hundred and thirty Republicans voted against the bill, likely because of the Maloney amendment, and even more Democrats, 175, did the same, citing provisions within the overall bill itself.
“This is not about LGBT rights. It’s about shipwrecking the appropriations process,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., said after Thursday’s vote.