By Amber Shiflett
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – Virginia’s legislators may not always agree on political issues, but they certainly agree on one thing: the power of prayer.
Public officials from various backgrounds turned out to the 47th annual Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, just hours before the General Assembly convened.
Nearly 1,000 people attended the event including legislators from across the state. The attendees ranged from Gov. Bob McDonnell and a tea-party favorite, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, to Democrats like U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott and state Delegate Mark Keam, who led the closing prayer at the event last year.
The main discussion did not include transportation issues or budget amendments. Instead, speakers stressed the importance of bipartisanship and coming together in faith to resolve issues during this session.
U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina is co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. That group consists of members of Congress who pray each week at the U.S. Capitol.
McIntyre said he believes the Prayer Caucus plays an important role as a place for members of both sides to join together in faith. “We leave all the labels at the door (and) we pray,” he said.
William Howell, the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, said bipartisan groups like the Congressional Prayer Caucus are vital because they bring both political parties together.
“I would really encourage everyone to get involved in a small group; they really are such a tremendous opportunity to increase your fellowship,” Howell said.
Some legislators believe prayer and bipartisanship can help produce good public policy.
“In the public service arena, there will be differences, but none so great they can’t be reconciled through the power of prayer,” McIntyre said.