Is Nancy Pelosi Establishing a Religion?
When the House of Representatives convened for a three-minute session on Monday, the proceedings opened with a written statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"I hereby appoint the Honorable Andy Kim to act as Speaker pro tempore on this day," Pelosi declared.
As recorded by C-SPAN, Kim, empowered by Pelosi, then instantly announced: "The prayer will be offered by Chaplain Kibben."
The Rev. Margaret Kibben stepped to the podium. "Would you pray with me?" she asked with a smile.
"God our creator, redeemer, and sustainer, great are Your promises to us," said Kibben in words now immortalized in the Congressional Record.
Her prayer, as recorded by C-SPAN, lasted about 1 minute and 20 seconds.
"So, may our work be effective and our lives beneficial, as we seek to serve our communities, our country, and You. In the strength of Your name we pray," she concluded.
The House chaplain is not a volunteer. As of 2019, according to the Congressional Research Service, the person in that job is paid an annual salary of $172,500.
So, the House pays a chaplain to -- among other things -- publicly pray in its chamber and, for example, to declare for Congress, as Kibben did Monday, that "we seek to serve ... You."
When Kibben's prayer was completed, Kim called for the chair to lead the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.