Republicans in Kansas House seek healing through day of prayer, fasting, humiliation

By: - January 13, 2021 4:48 pm

Rep. Randy Garber, R-Sabetha, co-sponsored a resolution that declares Sept. 24 to be a day of prayer, fasting and public humiliation. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Four Republicans in the Kansas House backed a resolution Wednesday to declare Sept. 24 a day of prayer, fasting and public humiliation in Kansas.

The resolution, introduced by Wellington Republican Rep. Bill Rhiley, asks for God “to heal our land of calamities, division, anger and strife” as the “nation cries out in pain, grief, anxiety and worry.”

Rep. Randy Garber, R-Sabetha, Rep. Trevor Jacobs, R-Fort Scott, and Rep. Michael Murphy, R-Sylvia, joined Rhiley as sponsors of the resolution.

The resolution quotes from Abraham Lincoln, who proclaimed Aug. 12, 1861, to be a day of national humiliation, prayer and fasting.

Garber said he believes God listens anytime people gather to pray.

“Fasting is a very important part of faith,” Garber said. “I fast from time to time — probably not near as much as I should — because I think that fasting helps us to focus more on what God wants and not what we want. In my experience, it gets me closer to God.”

People are supposed to humble ourselves before God, Garber said, because he is the creator of the universe.

“My faith is pretty strong,” Garber said. “There are others who will mock me, and they can mock me. They mocked Jesus too. I’m pretty thick-skinned in that area, I guess.”

It wasn’t clear whether the resolution was a response to last week’s riots in Washington, D.C., or why the chosen date is a Friday in September. Garber said he signed the resolution without reading it after Rhiley explained it to him. Rhiley didn’t make himself available for comment.

“We have the confidence that, in accordance with God’s will, our nation and state will be healed and unified,” the resolution reads.

Senate chaplain Cecil Washington, a Topeka reverend, delivers the invocation at the start of the session Monday in the Senate. He asked the Lord to deliver real peace, “not a bogus pseudo peace.” (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

On Monday, the Rev. Cecil Washington, who serves as chaplain for the Senate, delivered a session-opening invocation that touched on the season of division and conflict that has permeated society.

“Here at home and across this nation, the discord is running wild,” Washington said. “Lord, you said in Luke 11:17-18, that people divided in civil conflict cannot survive. So Lord, we need your peace — not a bogus pseudo peace, but the real peace that only you can provide, and only you can sustain.”

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.