Leading and joining his fellow members of Congress in prayer, House Speaker John Boehner taps into the best of our shared civil religious tradition. In the prepared remarks for this afternoon’s prayer service in the Capitol, John Boehner says:
On the morning of January 8, 2011, an act of unspeakable violence rocked the morning air in Tucson, Arizona, where our colleague, Gabby Giffords, was busy with her staff conducting the business of the people.
The senseless assault claimed the lives of six of our fellow citizens – including that of Gabe Zimmerman, a congressional staffer who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and died while well and faithfully discharging his duties. It left several more citizens, including Gabby, and two of her staff – Ron Barber and Pam Simon – fighting for their lives.
Our Nation mourns for the victims. It yearns for peace. And it thirsts for answers.
As our Nation struggles to comprehend this act of savagery – this fearful assault on all of our sacred responsibilities – it speaks well of our institution that its members have reacted not with a torrent of accusations hurled at each other, but courageously, with a collective embrace – the embrace of brothers, sisters, and countrymen.
It is in that spirit that we assemble here today.
Joining together in prayer can be a source of solace. It can also be a source of healing, strength, and resolve.
As our National Motto indicates, our great and humble Nation places its trust in God. And having placed its trust in the Almighty, our Nation has secured the blessings of liberty against the agents of chaos, madness, and evil.
No assailant’s bullet – no twisted act of violence or cruelty – can silence the sacred dialogue of democracy.
To Father Coughlin – Leader Pelosi – Leader Cantor – members of the majority and minority leadership –
and to all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and their spouses – thank you for being here today.
Let us now join together in prayer for the souls of the fallen, the recovery of the wounded, and the healing of a nation.