Our Chavez, who art in heaven…

A member of Venezuela’s United Socialist Party delivered a weird prayer at the party’s Third Congress that has drawn criticism from people in the Christian community.

María Estrella Uribe spoke in front of delegates and President Nicolás Maduro, reciting a version of the Lord’s Prayer that placed former President Hugo Chávez at the center of it.

The translated prayer read:

“Our Chávez, who art in Heaven, in earth, in the sea and in us the delegates, Hallowed be Thy name, Thy legacy come to us to take to the people … gives us today your light to that it guides us all days and lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, deliver us from evil, oligarchy and the crime of smuggling, for centuries of centuries. Amen.”
She ended her address saying, “Viva Chávez!” followed by applause.

Many Christian leaders opposed her use of the prayer in such a manner. Rev. José Piñero, the vice president of the Evangelical Council of Venezuela, told CNN that he found the prayer to be an offense to his religious tradition.

“From a Christian perspective, we consider changing the words of the Lord’s Prayer sacrilegious, an act of idolatry and desecration and a trivialization of the sacred.”

President Nicolás Maduro refers to himself as Chávez’ “spiritual son” and said that the church was trivializing the leader’s importance among Venezuelans by attacking the prayer.

“They couldn’t get rid of Chavez while he was alive so now they want to persecute the people’s spiritual love for him,” Maduro stated.