GOP lawmaker claims pandemic is 'punishment' for 'sins'

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Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz was criticized after introducing a resolution calling for a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer to solve the ongoing outbreak.

On Monday, Republican Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz introduced a resolution in the state's General Assembly calling for "A State Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer" in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The resolution stated, "We know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world" and the current pandemic may be "punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins."

Borowicz's resolution goes on to claim that Pennsylvanians "have forgotten God" and thus need to "confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."

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The resolution calls for making March 30 the "State Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer," asking residents of the state to "abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits" so that "the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins."

Fellow Pennsylvania state Rep. Kevin Boyle, a Democrat, called the resolution "the stupidest resolution I've ever seen a politician introduce."

"Borowicz, using archaic language specific to her personal faith tradition, simply divides us by forcing her belief system on others," state Rep. Dan Frankel, Democratic chair of the state House Health Committee, told PennLive.

Identification of the new coronavirus at the center of what is now a global pandemic was first reported in China in early January. The first confirmed case in the United States was announced on Jan. 21.

This is not the first time Borowicz has caused controversy by forcing her faith on others. In March 2019, she opened a state House session with a prayer invoking the name of Jesus 13 times shortly before the state's first Muslim lawmaker, Movita Johnson-Harrell, was sworn in to office.

"God forgive us — Jesus — we've lost sight of you, we've forgotten you, God, in our country, and we're asking you to forgive us," Borowicz said, according to the Washington Post.

"It blatantly represented the Islamophobia that exists among some leaders — leaders that are supposed to represent the people," Johnson-Harrell told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star after the incident.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people self-isolate to the greatest extent possible in order to slow the spread of the virus and provides recommendations for keeping people safe.

Individuals should regularly wash their hands with soap and warm water. Further, the CDC discourages those who are feeling sick from going to work; warns against gatherings of more than 10 people; and urges against dining out at restaurants and bars.

As of Wednesday, there are at least 59,502 confirmed cases in the United States, according to the New York Times, and at least 804 people have died. Pennsylvania has at least 851 confirmed cases, and at least seven people have died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.