TOPEKA — A Christian group that ministers to lawmakers is calling on worshipers to target their prayers for "dark spiritual areas” of north Johnson County, Lawrence, Kansas City, Kan., and southeast Kansas.
In a Feb. 7 letter addressing a variety of issues and people to pray for, the Capitol Commission asked its followers to pray for certain areas of the state in addition to the governor, his staff, legislative leaders and the media.
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, posted a copy of it to his Facebook page Tuesday, calling it “truly offensive” and defending Lawrence as a community with deep spiritual roots.
“Do you think it a coincidence that all of these ‘dark’ areas are represented by Democrats in the Kansas Legislature?” Davis asked.
Dave DePue, the Capitol Commission’s state director, said he only hopes that collective prayer can help those “dark” areas, which he said are areas that aren’t prospering, although he noted several positive developments.
“We’re just praying for the economy,” he said. DePue denied he was targeting Democratic strongholds.
“If it was we’d have to be praying for northeast Kansas and Topeka,” he said. “It has nothing to do with politics.”
He said he didn’t intend to offend anyone and apologized.
“It’s just unfortunate wording on my part,” he said.
The Capitol Commission is a nonprofit group based in Raleigh, N.C., with a mission of reaching the “capitol community for Christ, one person at a time.”
It has ministries in 21 states, including Missouri, Arkansas Texas and Colorado. State directors teach weekly verse-by-verse Bible studies for legislators, lobbyists and staff members, according to the group’s website.
The Bible studies are hand-distributed to each legislative office, e-mailed and made available throughout the capitol, the website says.
State Rep. Kathy Wolf Moore, D-Kansas City, called the comments about Kansas City, Kan. “unfortunate” and “unbelievable.”
“Obviously he hasn’t been to Wyandotte County lately. It is one of the brightest spots in the state,” she said.