Part speech and part prayer, it was a slightly revised version of a controversial prayer that has circulated on the Internet for several years. It apparently originated with a pastor in Kansas named Joe Wright and was delivered by him at the opening session of the Kansas House of Representatives on January 23, 1996. Radio commentator Paul Harvey reportedly later aired the prayer on his program and it got a warm response.
Let us pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you today to seek your direction and guidance and ask your forgiveness.
We confess that we as a society of free-willed individuals have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word and we have lost our spiritual compass and have inverted our values.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political entitlement.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
Father, you know the hearts of every man and woman in this chamber. Cleanse us if there be some wicked way or evil within us.
Guide and bless these council members who have been sent here by the people of Memphis and who have been blessed by you to govern this great city. Grant us your wisdom to rule and may our decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask this in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.
Boyd left out parts of the original text including the following lines:
"We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism."
"We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable."
"We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare."
"We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition.
"We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment."
Council members serve as chaplain of the day a couple of times a year, according to council staff members. While Wright's address in 1996 reportedly caused some lawmakers to leave the chambers in protest, there was little reaction to Boyd's rendering other than a few raised eyebrows and muttered remarks in the media seats at the front of the chambers -- a den of known and suspected heathens.