Yesterday we posted an email that C. Peter Wagner had sent out to supporters claiming that he had recently received various commendations from elected leaders in Delaware, including an official tribute from the state legislature.
This understandably raised questions about the veracity of Wagner's claims, but Rachel Tabachnick of Talk To Action contacted several of the legislators Wagner mentioned in his email and reports that he did in fact receive such a tribute:
This morning I contacted the offices of Rep. Daniel B. Short and Chief Clerk of the House Richard Puffer and confirmed that C. Peter Wagner was indeed the recipient of a tribute from the Delaware House of Representatives on January 19.
Tabachnick even obtained a scanned copy of the tribute itself [PDF] and posted an image of it:
UPDATE: The Delaware House Democratic Caucus has sent us an official statement in response to this report, explaining that such tributes are done solely at the discretion of individual members and therefore do not represent an endorsement by the Delaware House of Representatives:
HOUSE STATEMENT ON C. PETER WAGNER TRIBUTE
The Delaware House of Representatives has become aware of a misunderstanding surrounding a tribute recently sponsored by a member of the Minority Caucus and presented to Dr. C. Peter Wagner, a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation.
The following is a joint statement from House Speaker Robert F. Gilligan, House Majority Leader Peter C. Schwartzkopf and House Majority Whip Valerie Longhurst:
House and Senate tributes were established more than 15 years ago as a more cost-efficient and less time-consuming way to honor individuals and groups for various accomplishments. Prior to this process, each chamber had to vote on each individual resolution.
The tribute process was devised to handle items that do not require the vote of the full House or Senate. These topics include but are not limited to:
deaths, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, 50th wedding anniversaries, 100th birthdays, congratulating local sports teams and recognizing the accomplishments and milestones of individual members of the community, nonprofit groups and civic associations.
More than 1,000 tributes are requested each year by the 41 members of the House.
Under the House tribute process, each individual Representative is responsible for making a request on behalf of his or her constituency.
Discretion for what constitutes an acceptable request is left to each individual Representative rather than subjecting each tribute to a review that could be interpreted as partisan or vindictive. The Speaker of the House is elected by the entire House and his signature appears on each tribute.
That signature is a formality and is electronically applied.
To be clear, in no way does a tribute represent nor should it be interpreted as an endorsement by the Delaware House of Representatives. The House does not vote on tributes. They are requested and sponsored by a specific Representative or Representatives.
Unfortunately, Dr. Wagner seemingly has mischaracterized the intent of this tribute to be an endorsement by the Delaware House of Representatives. We want to be absolutely clear that the House of Representatives does not endorse Dr. Wagner or his organization.
Additionally, the Delaware House of Representatives does not endorse any religion or present one above another. It is not uncommon for individual Representatives to request tributes to honor members of the religious community much in the same way that nonprofit and civic groups are recognized. Multiple faiths have been recognized through these tributes throughout the years.
Any questions regarding this specific tribute should be directed to the Representative who requested the tribute, Rep. Danny Short, and the House Minority Caucus at (302) 744-4184.