No Republican has stepped forward yet to admit inviting homophobic preacher Bradlee Dean to give the opening "prayer" at today's House session, but Speaker Kurt Zellers was man enough to take ultimate responsibility for the debacle, and repudiated Dean in comments from the House floor a little while ago.
"I ask for your forgiveness," he said. "That type of person will never, ever be allowed on this House floor again, as long as I have the honor of serving as your speaker."[jump]
Besides the in-your-face move of inviting a raving homophobe to offer an opening prayer of the eve of a House vote to put a gay marriage ban on the 2012 ballot, Dean's appearance was also notable for leaving Jews out of his prayers, and accusing President Barack Obama of not being Christian.
"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."
"There was a prayer given by a man who I personally denounce. The decorum, the dignity of this body is my responsibility. I did not live up to that responsibility today. For that, I apologize to each and every one of you. This is the peoples' house. Each member who comes before this body deserves the respect, the dignity, of all of us."