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Ohio House Clerk Warns Guest Ministers to Tone Down Prayers

The House clerk is warning lawmakers that guest ministers invited to lead prayers in the Ohio House are violating state guidelines by speaking out on political topics and invoking the name of Jesus.

On Wednesday, the Reverend Keith Hamblen, pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Lima, made multiple references to Jesus, spoke favorably of church-sponsored schools and mentioned a proposal to ban nudity in strip clubs after midnight.

That sparked a memo from House Clerk Laura Clemens that asked lawmakers to enforce state guidelines that require guest ministers to submit prepared remarks at least three days in advance.

Hamblen says he was unaware of the rules and is perplexed by the outcry. He says he simply wanted to pray that lawmakers would have wisdom to make their decisions. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)