CHARLESTON – Senator Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, condemned the actions of a member of the House of Delegates for sitting during an interfaith prayer at the beginning of the body’s March 8 floor session.
In remarks to the Senate on the last day of the Regular Session, Senator Woelfel said that in the last election cycle, his faith as a Roman Catholic was called into question as a potential disqualifier for serving in the Senate, and he condemns that.
“We represent the Government, and we as members of this body, of the Legislature, likewise in my view, should not favor one religion over another when we are appearing here in our official capacity,” Senator Woelfel said. “But that happened yesterday. We had an interfaith prayer presentation in the House … One of the members of the House took a seat during the interfaith prayer, and to me that’s showing a complete disrespect for those that don’t share a particular faith.”
The House of Delegates opened its March 8 floor session with an interfaith prayer, featuring Ibtesam Sue Barazi, vice president of the Islamic Association of West Virginia, Rabbi Victor Urecki of the B’Nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, and Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia.
“America welcomes Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Christians of all denominations, Hindus, and I condemn the behavior of this Delegate,” Senator Woelfel said. “We have the right to exercise our freedom of religion, but when we are divisive and when we disrespect another religion, when we turn our back on another religion, it undermines our state and our country.”
Video of Senator Woelfel’s remarks is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL_4Lj6Gmfw.