Giving a Bible to a politician is a bit like giving a blow torch to a pyromaniac, Gov. Mark Dayton told the audience at Thursday’s Minnesota Prayer Breakfast. They just can’t help but do serious damage.

But the Good Book can also provide great comfort, as the governor demonstrated, quoting Bible and Koran in his opening remarks to the assembly. He even had his own spin on the 23rd Psalm: Yea, though I walk through the valley in the shadow of no stadium deal…

The Legislature returns from Easter break next week to wrap up its work for the session. When it returns, Dayton said, "may these words from the Prophet Mohammed guide us: 'What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of a human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.'"

Unity was the theme of this year’s prayer breakfast, which brought together representatives of multiple faiths, and multiple political persuasions. The DFL governor recognized GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers in the audience as he began his remarks.

“A political campaign seems like the antithesis of the theme of this prayer breakfast. There’s very little unity or community. Unfortunately that is increasingly true for so many aspects of our society,” Dayton said. “That’s why gatherings like this breakfast are so important. They give us a chance to step aside briefly from our roles and responsibilities, from our affiliations, opinions and ideologies. They allow us to remember our shared humanity, our common values…they remind us of what binds us together as Americans, rather than what divides us as partisans.”

And if there’s anything that binds us together as Americans, it’s a joke about politicians. So Dayton obliged: A politician and a minister die and arrive in Heaven at the same time. The minister is escorted to his new quarters, which are nice enough; but then he sees the politician being escorted to much more luxurious accommodations.  “Well you have to see it like this,” the angels explain to the minister. “We’ve been having ministers come up here for hundreds of years, but this is the first time a politician has ever made it.”


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