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Nebraska prayer sparks legislative debate.

A guest pastor's prayer before Nebraska's unicameral legislature that included comments blasting legal abortion and evolution drew rebukes from several lawmakers.

Pastor Tom Swartley angered some state lawmakers when his Jan. 24 morning prayer delved into hot-button issues. Nebraska's legislative guidelines on prayer call for religious leaders to give non-denominational prayers and avoid hitting on political topics, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Swartley, who later told the newspaper he was aware of the legislature's guidelines, nonetheless gave a prayer in which he pleaded with God to forgive the nation for allowing abortions and teaching evolution.

"I ask your forgiveness on our people, a people who have killed 47 million of my fellow Americans since the year I was born," Swartley said in his prayer. "We have aborted 47 million babies made in your image, God."

Swartley also asked God to forgive the country for "the teaching of the religion of evolution to our young citizens, a religion that tells us that we are only here by chance; that we are here for no reason and human life means nothing more than any other life; that we will never face a Judgment Day."

State Sen. Ernie Chambers said the legislature "is not a chapel, and this place is not a church. When they bring that nonsense, that political stuff here, they're going to hear from me." He also said Swartley's action was "inexcusable."
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Title Annotation:AROUND THE STATES
Publication:Church & State
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U4NE
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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