Borowicz invocation was unusualJared WhalenBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingMar 29On Monday, Pa.
Stephanie Borowicz gave in invocation on the House floor that started causing backlash before she even said “Amen.
” The prayer, which coincided with the swearing in of the state’s first Muslim female representative, has been labeled as Islamophobic and xenophobic by critics.
What was so controversial?Filled with calls for forgiveness and praise for the Israel-friendly Trump administration, critics say that the invocation felt more like a political statement aimed at Democrats rather than a prayer.
But was this prayer different than normal?While the vast majority of invocations given in the Pa.
House chamber are from Christians, an analyses of more than 400 invocations since 2013 shows that most speakers refrain from using overtly Christian names for god.
Instead, most use more universal names like “Lord” and “Father.
” For example, fewer than 30% of invocations contained the word “Jesus” even once (less than 5% used it more than once) — Borowicz used it 13 times in her controversial invocation.
Data: Session journals from the PA House of Representatives website.
Chart by Jared WhalenWatch the prayer in the video below.
MethodologyUsing the available PA House of Representatives session journals (2013 — June 2018) and a transcription of Borowicz’s prayer, I extracted the invocations and ran a word frequency analysis for common names for god in prayers.
ToolsAdobe — converting pdfs to clean textR — text analyses and visualizationIllustrator — finishing design touchesStandalone chartData: Session journals from the PA House of Representatives website.
Chart by Jared Whalen.