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When senators prayed to 'Our economy sucks'

The state Capitol crowd is still chuckling -- and in some cases complaining -- about the prayer of the day delivered in the Senate on Wednesday by the Rev. Don Roberts, the president of Goodwill Industries of Manasota. The pastor's invocation was intended to be a loving tribute to the late Sen. Jim King of Jacksonville, who was a strong supporter of Goodwill's programs. But, along the way, Rev. Roberts took shots at Sen. Mike Bennett, Gov. Charlie Crist, and said "Our economy sucks, if you will excuse the expression, Lord" -- not the kind of language one normally expects from a man of the cloth.

The good reverend even made a blessed plea to overhaul the Florida tax system, saying: "Our tax system remains mired in 19th Century purgatory with no clear consensus on how to get out of this mess, despite former Senate President John McKay’s best efforts." He even took a lighthearted shot at atheists.

The transcript of Roberts' prayer, excerpted from the Senate journal, is below.

-- Steve Bousquet

The following prayer was offered by Rev. Don Roberts, President, Goodwill Industries Manasota, Sarasota:

As a moment of personal privilege, the members of the Florida Goodwill’s Association wish to dedicate this prayer to the memory of Goodwill’s long time supporter and your colleague and friend, Senator
Jim King. In his memory, let us pray. Holy law giver: The Seder meal has been blessed, Easter’s resurrection sunrise is yet to come. We pause, as the Senate of the State of Florida, to reflect on the Passover celebration of liberty that the laws we create protect us, and we give you thanks for the resurrections that are often required to keep our laws tempered with a holy justice.

In this session, O God, some of our bills have suffered the death of the avenging angels; some of our bills remain hung upon a cross; some of our bills will never leave the darkness of their committee’s burial cave; and some of our bills will experience the miracle of a resurrection. Such is the process we call politics, Lord.

Senator Bennett, being convinced of the rectitude of his legislative initiatives, is sometimes perplexed that his colleagues don’t see the world in exactly the same way. Senator Detert has the joy of trying to fund and fix an educational system whose sole claim is to be the tallest midget in the class. Governor Crist marches to the right in an attempt to be right; experiencing your divine wisdom that you cannot be right and in relationship at the same time.

Our tax system remains mired in 19th century purgatory with no clear consensus on how to get out of this mess, despite former Senate President, John McKay’s best efforts. Our economy sucks, if you will excuse the expression, Lord, and like all the families in Florida, we are trying to figure out how to pay the bills. Other than that, Lord, this session is turning out to be just more fun than any legislator can stand.

So, more than most sessions, Lord God, we need your presence. Our prayers are simple, Lord. By your Passover presence, avert those avenging angels that our bills may not suffer the death of the first born. By your Easter resurrection presence, remind us that a bill’s life always triumphs the temporary experience of a particular chairman’s death; making us particularly grateful for term limits. So, thanks for keeping us company, Lord, as you have promised, even when we would prefer you leave our proverbial smoke filled rooms as we tend to the sometimes less than holy business of legislation.

So, with you, O Lord, we wish our Jewish colleagues the happiest of Passover seasons. With you, O Lord, we wish our Christian colleagues the best of the Easter season. And finally, to our Atheist colleagues, we simply say
“Good luck”.

In Jim King’s memory, we pray. Amen.