Inside Politics

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A Hindu priest made history yesterday by offering the U.S. Senate’s morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors’ gallery.

Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., gave the brief prayer that opens each day’s Senate session. As he stood at the chamber’s podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting “this is an abomination” and other complaints from the gallery.

Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them with disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an Associated Press reporter, “We are Christians and patriots” before police handcuffed them and led them away.

For several days, the Mississippi-based American Family Association has urged its members to object to the prayer because Mr. Zed would be “seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god.”

Mr. Zed, the first Hindu to offer the Senate prayer, began: “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. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds.”

Good one

On yesterday’s “Good Morning America,” co-host Diane Sawyer revealed how she was once excused from jury duty, the Media Research Center reports at www.mrc.org.

“The judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.

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