Jewish members of Maryland Senate object to prayers in Jesus' name

Posted: Friday, January 24, 2003

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Baltimore Baptist clergyman Reginald Thomas ended a Monday invocation before Maryland's state Senate with ''in Jesus' name,'' offending Jewish senators.

Jewish legislators complained last week to the Senate president that rules requiring nonspecific prayers had been ignored three times during January.

Two senators asked Thomas to avoid such references but ''that's his conviction,'' said Democratic Majority Leader Nathaniel J. McFadden, who invited Thomas.

Democratic Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld, who is Jewish, proposed having the prayer held before the Senate is called to order -- or before attendance is taken -- making it optional.

The National Conference of State Legislatures urges clergy to follow ecumenical approaches in public prayers.

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