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Controversial Reverend Bradlee Dean is called to make the opening prayer for the Minnesota House. In it, he says every president "until 2008" has recognized Jesus-- apparently referring to long disproven rumors that President Obama is not a Christian.  A few minutes later the regular House Chaplain is called upon  to deliver a more "traditional " prayer. Dean's speech comes hours before the Minnesota House is to consider a controversial constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Minnesota.

"I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this Chamber and it’s not about the Baptists and it’s not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans. Or the Presbyterians the evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination and his name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged. And we pray it. In Jesus’ name."  

Reaction- lots of it after the jump

House Speaker Zellers apologizes for Bradlee "prayer", a man he says he personally denounces. Zellers vows people like Bradlee will not be allowed on House floor again:

Full video of Bradlee Dean's "prayer"

State Representative Terry Morrow’s floor speech in response to this morning’s controversial opening prayer by Bradlee Dean:

“Mr. Speaker, I’m trying to take time to be deliberate and to express a deep level of concern of what occurred in this chamber this morning. Mr. Speaker I will start by acknowledging that you did restart and that you did invite the house Chaplin to speak and I take that as acknowledgment that there is a legitimate cause for deep concern among the members, among the staff, and among the people of Minnesota.

Mr. Speaker, I’ve always thought of the house prayer as an opportunity to contemplate together to come together before the heated battle of what can sometimes be partisan politics. It was an expectation, it was a hope that I thought was fulfilled every day I came into this chamber today. Within the last hour this hope has been crushed by a single person’s words.

Mr. Speaker I do trust and I do hope that every member of this chamber understands the gravity and the severity of the offense that had been given to many people within this chamber and out. It has been my understanding that part of the justification, part of the explanation for starting our sessions with a prayer was that those prayers would never exclude, never marginalize a Minnesotan on the basis of their faith, on the basis of their beliefs, on the basis of who they are and those expectations have been crushed today.

I know that others will join me now or in the near future to express their deep concerns, reservations, comments, and suggestions on how we repair the fabric that has been torn today. Mr. Speaker I do have a hope. I have a hope that the members of this chamber will join me, that we will be able to unite in a commitment and an understanding that all Minnesotans regardless of their faith, regardless of their beliefs and regardless of their lifestyle are indeed Minnesotans and deserve this chamber’s respect and this chamber’s commitments.

Mr. Speaker I could yell. Mr. Speaker I could bang the table in anger right now, but I don’t think that would be fruitful. Some of you who are standing near me can see I’m shaking right now because I’m mad. I thank you for restarting, I thank you for listening, I thank you all as we move forward and renew a commitment that this cannot happen again.”  

First Prayer Transcript
Minnesota House of Representatives
May 20, 2011
Bradlee Dean

When I arrived at the Capitol today I noticed all the writings upon the inside of the walls. On the Supreme Court Chambers you have Moses awaiting the Ten Commandments, God’s divine law. You have George Washington quotes, Thomas Jefferson quotes speaking of unalienable rights given unto us by our creator. And when I looked at that I thought what an awesome building and those in this chamber are very privileged to be here and I’m honored to be here as well.

And if I can give a small preface to my prayer so my prayer has meaning. I remember when I was a young man. I had a friend who founded a company in Fridley, Minnesota. This man built this company from the ground up as he blueprinted everything in great detail. He put his sweat, tears, everything into it until he established a great company. Nobody understood what sacrifice he put into his company except those that helped him along. The company grew in such a proportion that he could now sell the company and he did. On the sale of his company the buyers agreed to keep him on to run the company for them and in the process the company sold. And when it was sold the buyers went against the contract and fired the founder. How foolish could they be? They thought once they had control of the company they could run it their own way and still prosper. And they failed miserably. [Excuse me]

And it sounds much like America today. America has the longest standing Constitution in the history of the world. And might I remind everyone here that we have one Constitution so let us come together and unite ourselves under its directives. Because we all know the problems didn’t come into our country in 1776, they came when we wandered from the founder of the company and tried running it our own way.

So let us pray.

Father God I just thank you Father for what you have bestowed upon us and through the sacrifice of our brothers and our sisters. Father God to ratify the Constitution of the United State. Father God, the fight, the bloodshed, and the sacrifice. From World War One to World War Two to Korea, Father. To Korea and Iwo Jima and Vietnam. And Father God, Iraq and Afghanistan. And I think about their sacrifice when I go, Father God, to Arlington Cemetery and I think that’s the reason I that fight. That’s the reason that I stand, that I encourage my brothers to do the same thing. They died so we could have the freedoms that we have today. And they ratified that Constitution and sacrificed their all for it. And I end with this. I know this is a non-denominational prayer in this Chamber and it’s not about the Baptists and it’s not about the Catholics alone or the Lutherans or the Wesleyans. Or the Presbyterians the evangelicals or any other denomination but rather the head of the denomination and his name is Jesus. As every President up until 2008 has acknowledged. And we pray it. In Jesus’ name.        

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