House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) returned to the United States Congress on Thursday, after three months of recovering from being shot at a Congressional Baseball Game practice on June 14. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) paused a vote to give Scalise time to speak, and Scalise used that time to thank everyone who offered him support and prayer, and to thank God for answering his prayers.
“When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and I couldn’t do anything anymore, I just started to pray,” the congressman said. “I prayed for very specific things, and I will tell you pretty much every one of those prayers was answered — and they were some pretty challenging prayers.”
God “really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith in understanding that the power of prayer is just something that you cannot underestimate,” Scalise declared, to thunderous applause.
“I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” the congressman declared.
He specifically thanked “true angels,” starting with the U.S. Capitol Police, whose very mention received a standing ovation. Scalise singled out Crystal Griner and David Bailey, members of his security detail who also got shot in the attack.
“Jennifer and I truly treat them as part of our family,” Scalise said (shooting down ridiculous liberal attacks that the congressman is “homophobic,” since Griner is a lesbian).
“One of the things I prayed for is that David and Crystal would be successful in carrying out their duties,” the congressman added, describing the police officers as “incredibly well-trained and incredibly professional.”
Right after his prayer, Scalise recalled, “I could hear a different caliber weapon, and that told me that they had immediately engaged the shooter. If they didn’t act so quickly and — even after being shot both themselves — continue to engage the shooter, and ultimately get him down,” many would have died. He noted that these brave officers “saved the life of a lot of other people who are here in this chamber today.”
Addressing Bailey (Griner could not be there), the congressman declared, “David, you are my hero. You saved my life. Thank you so much.”
Scalise also thanked God for “the little miracles that happened that day and throughout the next few months of my recovery.” He thanked members of his congressional district for praying, and he thanked the members of other districts for praying as well. He thanked his colleagues — on both sides of the aisle — for their prayers as well. Even foreign dignitaries expressed their support, and he found that moving.
“That warmth and love gave us incredible strength that you can’t imagine,” the congressman said. “That is one more example of the power of prayer.”
After Scalise spoke, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed him. “Thank God our prayers are answered,” she said, thanking God “for the return of Steve Scalise.”
Pelosi concluded, declaring, “An attack on you is an attack on all. We were all Team Scalise” on June 14, “and today we are all Team Scalise.”
But the outpouring of prayer and support was not the only news to follow shortly after the shooting of Scalise in June. The Young Turks‘ Hasan Piker victim-blamed the majority whip, saying he deserved what he got for his conservative policies. Star Trek actor George Takei joined other liberals in mocking “homophobic” Scalise for being saved by a lesbian cop.
A Democratic Party official in Nebraska was recorded saying he was glad Scalise got shot and wished that the congressman would die. A sociology professor from Connecticut suggested an alternate way for black people to treat people like Scalise: “let them f**king die.”
Finally, it is important to note that the Scalise shooting did not happen in a vacuum. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had repeatedly attacked the majority whip for speaking at a white supremacist rally in 2002. After Scalise apologized for this, and disavowed the group (leading David Duke to attack him as a “sellout”), the SPLC continued to attack him.
James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Scalise, “liked” the SPLC on Facebook. Furthermore, this was not the first time the SPLC may have inspired terrorism — in 2012, a shooter by the name of Floyd Lee Corkins targeted the Family Research Council (FRC) specifically because it was on the SPLC’s “hate map.”
Even so, the SPLC has received a great deal of positive attention from the mainstream media in recent months, and its discredited “hate group” list has led companies to swear off business with mainstream conservative and Christian organizations.
God answered Scalise’s prayers, and the tragic shooting brought Americans together for a brief period of time. But Americans still need to pray for the country — pray that God will calm the anger of divisive tribalism and help conservatives and liberals to reject the temptation to see their political opponents as evil.
Scalise is a walking miracle, a testament to the power of prayer. Americans should take heart, thank God, and pray for the peace of the country. Perhaps God will grant another miracle.
Click “Load More” to see Scalise’s speech.