Hindu cleric Rajan Zed turns toward protester as he prepares to open Senate with prayer (CNN)
Three protesters interrupted a Hindu cleric today who became the first from his religion to offer the Senate’s opening prayer.
Breitbart.tv has video of Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., preparing to pray when a clear, loud voice came from the Senate gallery.
“Lord Jesus, forgive us, Father, for allowing the prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight,” said a male protester.
The Senate’s sergeant at arms was instructed to restore order, but Zed was interrupted again.
“You shall have no other gods before you. … “
Zed, who was invited by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, finally offered his prepared prayer.
“We meditate on the transcendental glory of the deity supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven,” he said. “May he stimulate and illuminate our minds.”
Police officers arrested the three protesters and charged them with disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor, the Associated Press reported. The male protester told an AP reporter, “we are Christians and patriots” before officers handcuffed them and led them away.
Reid, in remarks from the chamber shortly after the prayer, defended his choice, tying it to the intense debate over the Iraq war.
“If people have any misunderstanding about Indians and Hindus, all they have to do is think of Gandhi,” a man “who gave his life for peace,” Reid said.
“I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing the faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our heavenly Father regarding peace,” said Reid.
The AP said Capitol police identified the protesters as Ante Nedlko Pavkovic, Katherine Lynn Pavkovic and Christan Renee Sugar.