Nine state senators protest new rule with prayer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Nine state senators protest new rule with prayer

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Protests at the state capitol aren't unusual, but in this case it was the actual lawmakers standing up to make a statement.

Nine senators gathered near the Hawaiian flag on the senate floor, joined hands and bowed their heads.  Espero led the prayer.  Joining him were senators Mike Gabbard, Clarence Nishihara, Glenn Wakai, Michelle Kidani, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Pohai Ryan, Gilbert Kahele and Ronald Kouchi.  They did not have a microphone.  No one in the public gallery was asked to stand or participate.  In fact most probably didn't even notice.  The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds.  Then they made their way to their desks and a moment later session officially began.

"One can call it a silent protest.  We're just saying we're continuing a tradition that's being done a little differently than in the past," said State Senator Will Espero, (D) Ewa Beach, who organized the prayer.  "There are some people who believe we have completely stopped prayer in the senate chamber and that is not the case."

This after the senate decided to end daily prayer during session after the attorney general said the state could be challenged by a lawsuit.  So is the senate caving to opponents?

"I don't think this has anything to do with a threat of a lawsuit or anything like that but we wanted to make sure we continue to respect everyone's individual beliefs," said Shan Tsutsui, (D) Senate President.

The issue got heated last April on the last day of session when Mitch Kahle stood up and objected to prayer in government stating it violates the first amendment of the constitution.  He was physically thrown out.  It prompted a civil lawsuit set to start tomorrow.  So what does Kahle think of the senators impromptu prayer?

"I think religious expression is protected just like any other free speech. I think that the senators have every right to exercise their religious freedom and we support that," said Mitch Kahle, Hawaii Citizens for Separation of State and Church.

Come again? The atheist doesn't mind private prayer?

"I would imagine that prior to the official call to senate, the official call of the gavel senators discuss a lot of different topics, they probably talk about sports, maybe they read their horoscopes I have no idea but it's their personal time and they have every right to do it so we don't have any objections if senators want to bow their heads privately and pray to themselves," said Kahle.

Perhaps there is a compromise to prayer and politics.  Amen to that, so to speak.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • Trump: No statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office

    Trump: No statehood for Puerto Rico with critics in office

    Monday, September 24 2018 10:51 AM EDT2018-09-24 14:51:55 GMT
    Tuesday, September 25 2018 9:54 AM EDT2018-09-25 13:54:11 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the "Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem" at the Un...(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the "Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem" at the Un...
    President Donald Trump says he's an "absolute no" on statehood for Puerto Rico while critics, including San Juan's mayor, are in office.More >>
    President Donald Trump says he's an "absolute no" on statehood for Puerto Rico while critics, including San Juan's mayor, are in office.More >>
  • Forecast: Hot and muggy with more showers possible

    Forecast: Hot and muggy with more showers possible

    Tuesday, September 25 2018 9:43 AM EDT2018-09-25 13:43:34 GMT
    Image: Hawaii News NowImage: Hawaii News Now
    Image: Hawaii News NowImage: Hawaii News Now

    Hot and humid conditions will continue over the islands as a trough stalls just west of the state.

    More >>

    Hot and humid conditions will continue over the islands as a trough stalls just west of the state.

    More >>
  • UN: Excessive drinking killed over 3 million people in 2016

    UN: Excessive drinking killed over 3 million people in 2016

    Saturday, September 22 2018 2:20 PM EDT2018-09-22 18:20:51 GMT
    Tuesday, September 25 2018 8:12 AM EDT2018-09-25 12:12:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, FILE). FILE- In this Nov. 27, 2012 file photo, a customer checks bottles of imported wine at a supermarket in Beijing. The World Health Organization said in a report published Friday Sept. 21, 2018,  that drinking too much ...(AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, FILE). FILE- In this Nov. 27, 2012 file photo, a customer checks bottles of imported wine at a supermarket in Beijing. The World Health Organization said in a report published Friday Sept. 21, 2018, that drinking too much ...
    The World Health Organization says that drinking too much alcohol killed more than 3 million people in 2016, mostly men.More >>
    The World Health Organization says that drinking too much alcohol killed more than 3 million people in 2016, mostly men.More >>
Powered by Frankly