Comments that state Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, made about Islam on the floor of the chamber led to a rare rebuke from the chamber’s chief and sparked a brief but fierce discussion about religious freedom.
Delaware Online “We just heard from the Quran, which calls for our very demise,” Lawson said after a Muslim duo gave the invocation, including a passage from their holy text. “I fought for this country, not to be damned by someone that comes in here and prays to their God for our demise. I think that’s despicable.”
Lawson served in the Air Force and did a tour in Vietnam. He addressed his colleagues on the floor of the Senate. Lawson and Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, stepped out of the chamber for the prayer. They re-entered when the speakers had finished, and Lawson gave a brief speech, saying he “took great exception” to the reading from the Quran.
After Lawson’s comments, the Senate proceeded as normal, debating and passing several bills. But before the chamber adjourned later in the evening, President Pro Tempore David McBride, D-New Castle, halted, saying he felt “there is complicity in remaining silent.”
“I have never been of the mind to censure the words of other members, but I also believe deeply that words have consequences,” McBride said, reading aloud from a statement. “To criticize the sacred prayer of another religion from the floor of the Senate strikes me as antithetical to everything we ought to stand for as lawmakers.”