Some Republican North Dakota House members have abstained from an opening floor session prayer by a Hindu cleric.

Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, offered prayer as the guest chaplain in the House on Tuesday. He delivered the prayer in the Senate on Monday without incident.

Lutheran pastor and freshman Rep. Jeff Hoverson of Minot sat at the back of the chamber to “protest” the prayer. A few other lawmakers also stood or sat at the back of the chamber during the prayer.

Hoverson says he didn’t want to pray to a “false god.” He says he met with Zed prior to floor session to tell him his protest “was nothing personal.”

The Senate and House convene daily with a prayer by the chamber’s guest chaplains.


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