A United Methodist pastor in Florida stirred up dissension in the state legislature Wednesday when he openly prayed for the “right” to abort unborn babies.
Florida Politics described the prayer by the Rev. Andy Oliver, of Allendale United Methodist Church, in St. Petersburg, Florida, as “jaw-dropping” and “politically-motivated.”
State Rep. Jennifer Webb, D-Gulfport, invited Oliver to give the invocation to the state House. Afterward, she apologized because his remarks not only caused contention but also broke the rules of the state legislature, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Oliver appears to regret nothing.
His prayer urged God to remind Florida lawmakers that “you did not create the marginalized and oppressed political, but all your children you created in your image and you called them good. We lost our way when we chose to politicize their very existence.”
Though his prayer mentioned protecting the oppressed, he advocated against protections for unborn babies. According to the report, he prayed for “abortion rights” for women instead.
“So, forgive us, we pray. Embolden us to speak out for the vulnerable, quiet us to listen to their voices, convict us to put your people before party and liberate both the oppressed and the oppressor in your longing for beloved community,” Oliver concluded.
Lawmakers said his prayer broke rules prohibiting political advocacy on specific issues. Oliver responded by questioning what a prayer is if not advocacy.
“The idea of saying a prayer that doesn’t advocate is nonsense. The very essence of a prayer is to advocate,” the pastor said.
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However, Webb, who invited him, apologized that Oliver broke the rules.
“I apologized to the Speaker and my colleagues for Pastor Andy’s decision not to follow the rules,” she said, noting that he is a “well-regarded” religious leader in her area of the state.
Oliver claimed to be advocating for all of God’s children, especially the marginalized and oppressed. But unborn babies are killed at an alarming rate in America. Since 1973, more than 61 million unborn babies have been aborted, and almost 1 million continue to be aborted every year.
The Bible clearly condemns the life-destroying practice of abortion. Even in ancient times, babies in the womb were viewed as valuable, as is evident in Luke 1:41. Jesus placed great value on children when others in society did not in Matthew 19:14, and Proverbs 6:16-17 states that one of the things God hates most is the shedding of innocent blood. One of the ten commandments prohibits murder.
Oliver not only broke the state legislature’s rules for prayer, he also ignored the plight of God’s precious creations, babies in the womb.