When The Preacher Black Will Not Talk Smack

Three inaugural prayers.

Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson gave the invocation at the pre-Inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Listen to it and I think you will have no further questions about why the Episcopal Church might be failing in our country. Among other dubious items he prays for the nation to be blessed with the "gift of anger." Which I think we might already have in abundance; he may as well have prayed for the gift of obesity. He managed to make the prayer mostly about gay rights --returning to the theme three times. He did get one thing right, though. He prayed for us to understand that President Obama is a man and not the Messiah. I didn't get the impression the crowd liked hearing that, though.

Pastor Rick Warren's inaugural invocation is drawing mixed reviews. I thought it was fitting (video here for as long as the link lasts), and I liked his asking forgiveness for our nation's sins.

Rev. Joseph Lowery's benediction is being denounced as racist because of these lines:
we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around
when yellow will be mellow
when the red man can get ahead, man
and when white will embrace what is right.
That makes me chuckle. It's just the rhyme leading him, not malicious intent. But it is an indicator of the state of free speech in our nation. A black man can speak incautiously without lasting harm to his reputation; a white man cannot.

Incidentally, WSJ had an interesting piece last week on the history of inaugural prayer. Until relatively recently, there used to be multiple benedictions --one each from a priest, a pastor and a rabbi--and sometimes an orthodox priest to boot.