WATCH: Republican lawmaker invites prayer group to speak in tongues at Arizona Capitol

kern prayer

A group led by Phoenix Sen. Anthony Kern prays over the state seal on the floor of the Arizona Senate.


By Camaron Stevenson

April 9, 2024

Arizona Sen. Anthony Kern invited a prayer group to the Arizona Capitol on Monday, shortly after the state supreme court announced they would issue their ruling on whether the state’s total abortion ban could be enforced. The group spoke in tongues and knelt over the state seal, praying to “release the presence of the lord” in the Senate chamber. #azpol #reprorights #everythingarizona #abortionaccess

♬ original sound – Copper Courier


State Sen. Anthony Kern escorted a religious group to the senate floor Monday morning and led them in prayer, where he asked for divine intervention in legislative matters as those around him spoke in tongues.

“Let is be so, father God,” Kern said. “Lord right now we ask thee to release the presence of the lord in the senate chamber.”

While prayer is allowed in government buildings, it cannot be sponsored or endorsed by the government or its representatives. Kern’s involvement in the prayer itself, along with allowing the group to pray over the state seal, could be considered a violation of the First Amendment.

The incident comes one week after Republican legislators passed a bill giving the 10 Commandments preferential treatment over other religious texts in public schools, and a month after they failed to pass Queen Creek Sen. Jake Hoffman’s bill to ban one religion’s sacred imagery from public spaces.

While Hoffman’s bill was killed by Republican Sen. Ken Bennett siding with Democrats in voting against it, Kern’s 10 Commandment bill was approved by both chambers of the Republican-controlled legislature.

Neither senator shows any sign of stopping these First Amendment violations, and has expressed support for the total ban on abortion, citing religion as a motivator in blocking access to reproductive healthcare.


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  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.



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