Church and state collided in the Capitol Tuesday when the opening prayer in the Unicameral asked forgiveness for abortions and the teaching of evolution.
Morning prayers typically are general in nature and do not touch on hot-button social, political or religious issues. Guidelines given to those who are asked to deliver the prayer, sent by the clerk of the Legislature's office, forbid talking about issues that are on that day's agenda for debate, or expressing any sentiment that could be considered political in nature.
The prayer was delivered by Tom Swartley, a minister at First Christian Church in Elm Creek. Standing at the front of the legislative chamber with his comments broadcast statewide, Swartley asked God for forgiveness for abortion, which he called a, "33-year-long nightmare."
"We go to work and school and come home and watch TV while genocide, infanticide and homicide is being committed against our own children," he said.
Swartley also asked forgiveness for "teaching the religion of evolution to our young citizens."
"We put our children in the same category as other mammals and then we wonder why some act like animals," he said.
Nothing like a message of love to start the day's legislation.