Benediction

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

Say amen — and amen.

Amen.

(Watch the prayer here.)

Comments

  1. 4chocolate says:

    I loved it!

  2. Best benediction evar!

  3. we could have sworn that we heard him call malia “ralia.” as three people here commented on it simultaneously, the camera cut to michelle obama, who was tilting her head down towards her girls and giggling. did anyone else catch that or are we just delusional?

  4. Aaron Brown says:

    Yes, and thank goodness he used “thee” and “thou”, so we know that his prayer will be well-received.

    Aaron B

  5. Ugly Mahana says:

    I thought the line referencing the black, brown, yellow, red, and white was unnecessarily polemic. And I thought the humorous hopes for the brown, yellow, and red were insulting. Other than that, I found it to be inspiring. I think I’ve decided not to let my criticisms overshadow the good things he said.

  6. Senate Chaplain Black’s prayer at the Inaugural Luncheon was my favorite. It was excellent and his voice was incredible.

  7. Left Field says:

    I would have loved to have heard Lift Every Voice and Sing, but it’s great that the lyrics were incorporated into the prayer.

  8. I would have loved to hear Aretha Franklin humming “Lift Every Voice” as the lyrics of the last verse began the benediction. POWERFUL!!

  9. Stapley, I missed that one. I’d love to read it or watch it if anyone is able to find a link.

  10. I’m sorry, and I know that some parts of the US did it kicking and screaming, but if “white” hadn’t already done a lot that is “right”, Mr Obama still would not be able to eat at many restaraunts in this country. It was clever, but mean-spirited.

  11. I didn’t find it mean spirited at all. I thought it was exceptional. The highlight of the day.

  12. No, not mean-spirited at all. I can’t imagine listening to the whole prayer and thinking the last part was mean-spirited. It was a joke—at my expense—and it was mildly funny and certainly tame because he was mocking the very terms he used. _Context_.

  13. It was spot on. The wonder is that we elected a good man regardless of his color. White is getting it right better than before, and will get it right more and more.

    We whities ever forgave him for his Wright. Wow.

  14. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a prayer with laugh lines written into it.

    I should join a more exciting religion.

  15. It was better than Rick Warren’s nearly General Conference length prayer. He seemed out of place.

  16. What a prayer. What a bright new day.

  17. Amen. Amen without exception or suggestion, addition or subtraction, rewording or retraction.
    So say I, this once. So say I, who was born, not with a silver spoon in her mouth but with a red pencil behind her ear.

  18. I guess I am in the minority. Did people really feel that the prayer had the feel of something being addressed to a higher power? To me, it trivialized the very meaning of prayer, even aside from the offensive comment about whites. I think my biggest problem with it is that it was either meant to be taken as a joke, or it was a comment seriously directed at white America. If the former, see my prior remark about trivializing the essence of what prayer is. If the latter, it was a highly offensive shot at whites. No matter how it was meant, it offends my sensibilities on some level.

  19. Oh, please. Get over yourself Sean.

  20. I learned the common rhyme from my black friends and have heard it cited many times over the past decade. Unlike Johnson’s soaring lyrics to “Lift Every Voice,” it goes to common language to describe common knowledge in the black world:
    If you’re white, all right.
    If you’re brown, stick around.
    If you’re black, get back.

    There was nothing mean-spirited in it. I’d bet that 95% of the blacks listening to that prayer knew the reference very well. Johnson’s poetic words are elegant, but the reference in the last part describes a world many attending the Inauguration fervently hope will be revised–whether revision involves a red pencil,improved policies, a new paradigm–or all of them together.

  21. Adam Greenwood says:

    Disgustingly racist.

  22. MikeInWeHo says:

    I love that over these past few days we’ve heard prayers from Gene Robinson, Rick Warren, and now Joseph Lowery who in my opinion towers over them all.

  23. Sean and Adam, I couldn’t disagree more. Once I was in a Saturday leadership meeting (for Stake conf), and an elderly man who had been temple president for many many years made a very sincere, very frank, and a bit humorous, comment about the temple. The young(ish) man conducting the meeting got up right after and had these huge eyes like he was quite startled by what had been said. His comment was something along the lines of “I only hope that someday I can be half the man that [the older man] is, the kind of man you have to be to get away with saying that.” You seem hung up on respect, but I think maybe what is bothering you is an outgrowth of our culture losing some of our respect for our elders. When we have elders who haven’t simply seen many years, but endured many things, they have purchased a nobility that the rest of us can’t touch. They have earned the right to speak their mind with startling frankness. It falls to the rest of us to say to ourselves that we’re fortunate to have such people around.

    (Could anyone but Hinckley hit a new apostle on the head with a cane during our super-dignified general conference proceedings? :-) )

  24. MikeInWeHo says:

    It’s disheartening to hear that from you, Adam. You’re normally more clear-headed than that, even though I don’t agree with you much of the time. Rev. Joseph Lowery as racist? Oh come on.

  25. My grandmother used what many might call “vain repetions” for her prayers. My dad said of her, “Her life was a prayer.” Indeed, RESPECT must be paid–particular to a great warrior and patriot like Joseph E. Lowrey.

    Just so you know who you’re accusing, this is
    from Wikipedia:
    Joseph E. Lowrey: His property was seized in 1959 along with that of other civil rights leaders by the State of Alabama as part of a libel suit. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the suit reversed. At the request of Martin Luther King Jr., Lowery led the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. Lowery is a co-founder and former president of the Black Leadership Forum, a consortium of black advocacy groups. The Forum protested Apartheid in South Africa in the mid 1970s until the election of Nelson Mandela. Joseph Lowery was among the first five African Americans to get arrested at the South African Embassy in Washington D.C. during the Free South Africa movement. Lowery served as pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta from (1986-92), adding over a thousand members and leaving the church with ten acres of land. He is now retired but remains active in the civil rights movement.

    To honor Reverend Lowery, the City of Atlanta renamed Ashby Street for him. Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard is just west of downtown Atlanta and runs north-south beginning at West Marietta Street near the campus of Georgia Tech and stretching to White Street in the West End neighborhood, running past Atlanta’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Morris Brown College. Perhaps not coincidentally, the street intersects both Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Ralph David Abernathy Freeway.

  26. I was uplifted by this benediction as he offered it. Neither the cute rhyming nor its content bothered my after the last few years of experience in the black community.

  27. Margaret said it best in #20. For those who understand the reference, the final color commentary was both humorous and clearly relevant.

    My dear sainted mother has shared a joke during a prayer more than once. It’s touching, because it’s a sincere expression of her relationship with God. I hope someday I know Him well enough to do so myself.

  28. I was at work, so I missed Rev. Lowrey’s prayer, but just watched it on CNN’s page. Powerful and moving. He had been on NPR last night talking about his life, and the opportunity to take part in today’s ceremony. Rarely do we have prayers like that in church, and I’d sure like to hear more like it.

  29. InsearchofAdam says:

    “Disgustingly racist.” (Adam Greenwood, in 21)

    Seemly unlikey the real Adam Greenwood would stray from his own stomping grounds all the way over here to be obnoxious. So, I’m guessing someone posted with his name.

  30. Now if he could have only given the invocation. I thought Rick Warren’s yelling delivery was awful and the words seemed awfully pompous.

  31. Just to be clear, I loved the benediction.

  32. I watched the inauguration at Cal State San Marcos this morning in a group sponsored by the African-American Faculty Association– that group very quickly caught on to where those lines in the benediction were going, and laughed right along with it.

  33. i kind of buy into sean’s line of thinking. since becoming lds, i’ve had a difficult time with prayer as treated by some. our daughter attends a catholic school and despite having been raised catholic, i really bristle at their morning repititions. rick warren is a professional pray-er and it certainly showed. i think his delivery was more offensive to me than anything anyone else said. (and, as an aside, WHY did obama select him?! SO out of place.)

  34. j. stapley, you’re spot on about black’s luncheon prayer. i was listening and not watching and as soon as he began to speak, my head snapped up. the camera was pulled back and i couldn’t tell whose voice it was. i loved having to run through the crowd to figure out who was speaking. his voice is awesome.

  35. MikeInWeHo says:

    Rick Warren’s prayer deserves a whole separate post here, imo. I thought it was fascinating that he referred to God as “the compassionate and merciful one” which comes from the Quran.

  36. As a person who let out a huge belly laugh with the riff at the end, I will admit that it was deliciously risky. For example, if Rick Warren had made a comment praying for Black people to “get it right”, he would have been roundly criticized.

    However, he also represents a gender, race, and religion who have been privileged in America since before we were America. In our PC world, it is OK for the marginalized to poke the majority, but the opposite is seen as mean spirited. Maybe that’s just, maybe it’s not. But, as a White male, I’ll let my friends of color decide.

  37. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 36
    Amen, Randall. You really summed it up nicely.

  38. Both prayers, Warren’s and Lowrey’s, were in their respective ways beautiful, heartfelt, thoughtful, and true. I would consider myself blessed to attend any church meeting where a man or woman with as much familiarity with the Bible, as much devotion to God, as much creativity and expansiveness in their delivery, gave a prayer. They served as wonderful bookends to a very good day.

  39. Amen and Amen #38 Russell Arben Fox you eloquently expressed my thoughts exactly.

  40. Antonio Parr says:

    Obama once made some comment to their being a righteous wind behind this movement. Time will tell what kind of president Obama will become, but for now, today’s start was absolutely righteous. Look at the pride in the faces of our Black brothers and sisters, and the eloquence of Barrack, and all I can say is “Amen!” and “Amen!”

  41. Latter-day Guy says:

    I think he drew inspiration from this.

  42. Thomas Parkin says:

    It’s lovely, though I doubt it qualifies as a prayer, exactly. It is difficult to pray for a body of people – I often think that prayers in our meetings, even in GC, barely qualify as prayers. Like this, if not quite as haltingly eloquent, public prayers in church often seem more directed at the listeners than at God. Because if a prayer is an exposure of one’s heart to God, as well as a conversation, how does one sum up a collective heart and offer it? And how does this ‘prayer’ sum up our collective heart?

    I suppose I find this benediction a little too political to well reflect the collective heart of this country. I don’t personally mind the politics, and so I don’t mind it as a quasi-religious speech with some moving touches. And it is appropriate enough for the man we elected, I imagine. But I can see someone feeling that they were not well represented in a ‘prayer’ meant to be offered on behalf of all.

    I’m also struck by something I’ve been thinking about moral language. The language of the civil rights movement was wonderfully grafted into our common moral language – but it has become our only acknowledged public moral language. It’s a step forward here out in the light – and thank goodness for it – but where steps backward are taken in the dark. I don’t know how well this benediction well represents the true climate of the nation, which is one of augmenting darkness, in spite of these attempts at good will. ~

  43. Thomas, you know how much I admire you, and I generally agree with pretty much everything you say, but we disagree on this one.

    This is not a “standard Mormon prayer” in delivery method – but it is a standard Mormon prayer in structure. It is heartfelt; it is sincere; it is addressed to God and never deviates from that focus; it is nothing except a supplication for things needed and an expression of thanks for blessings received; there was NO vain repetition. It’s not a personal prayer, as you point out, but it most definitely is a prayer, imo. If it isn’t a prayer, I’m not sure I’ve ever prayed in my lifetime.

    Without going back and reading it once again, if I had offered the exact same prayer in the privacy of my bedroom, perhaps the only part I would have left out would have been the (imo) lame rhymes to incorporate other races into the poem at the end. The political parts don’t bother me, given the political nature of the office and nation for whom he was praying.

  44. Thomas Parkin says:

    Ray,

    And when we _do_ disagree, it is almost always because I’m a far more suspicious person than you are. I tend to think there is a scorpion under every rock, and dead men’s bones in every whited sepulcher. *snort* ~

  45. I am shocked that such a racist, ignorant rant is being held up as a prayer. What are you people smoking?

    If Rick Warren’s prayer would have included a statement that said, “let the blacks stop the attacks” – everyone here would have rightfully lost their minds.

  46. #45 – I just had this argument, and I have no energy left to do it again. I hope someday you are able to read the actual, entire prayer and understand how powerful it is, lame attempt at humor in a couple of lines notwithstanding.

  47. I am 15, so this was the first inauguration that I actually paid attention to. My 14-year-old friend came over and watched it with me.

    As naive as this sounds, we didn’t expect prayers to be at the inauguration, and only listened to Rick Warren’s – once we heard the Lord’s Prayer, we figured that we’d heard plenty. We were also shocked that people clapped in the middle of the prayer, and it was interesting to see the close-up footage that NBC was showing during it.

    But the funniest was the way that Rick Warren pronounced Malia and Sasha – he put so much emphasis on “Sasha” that my friend and I both burst out laughing, because it almost seemed like a joke.

    This whole inauguration thing was definitely an experience that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

  48. Aaron Brown says:

    I think the whole inauguration, and the importance of Barack Obama’s presidency generally, has been cheapened by the realization that Obama isn’t even our first black president.

    http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_01_18-2009_01_24.shtml#1232484721

    Aaron B

  49. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 45
    Few are shocked, however, when an ignorant rant is held up as a BCC comment.

  50. I suspect a few of the complaints are coming from Mormon ears not used to prayer-language in other traditions.

  51. The benediction was amazing — a truly sincere prayer and very eloquent. The black, yellow, brown, white business invoked the spirit of civil rights rhetoric — soundbites from another era and well used in this prayer.

    This prayer was both eloquent and colloquial. It had the right mixture of reverence and informality that one would expect from a real conversation with God. The content was both aspirational and practical, as an ideal prayer, perhaps, should be. What’s the use of petitioning God unless you can shoot for the stars? At the same time, might as well ask for specific blessings on mundane matters.

    The use of rhyme and imagery was didactic and endearing.

    This was one of the best prayers I’ve ever heard (I’ve heard A LOT of prayers).

    From a Mormon perspective, I didn’t detect even the faintest hint of priestcraft in this prayer and felt moved to shout amen each time at the close of the prayer (but I resisted that urge as I was watching the inauguration in the bar at my office) — I expressed my amen and amen together with the televised crowd in my heart.

  52. re # 43, Ray, I really like your comment and agree with it:

    It is heartfelt; it is sincere; it is addressed to God and never deviates from that focus; it is nothing except a supplication for things needed and an expression of thanks for blessings received; there was NO vain repetition. It’s not a personal prayer, as you point out, but it most definitely is a prayer, imo. If it isn’t a prayer, I’m not sure I’ve ever prayed in my lifetime.

    The portion of your comment that I have put in bold above is what really stood out to me while actually listening to the prayer and watching him very closely. This was sincere and heartfelt — it was a real communication to God. I have no illusions about what Lowery surely thinks about Mormons: more than likely he shares Al Sharpton’s view that Mormons don’t actually believe in God and he doubtless thinks all Mormons are indefatigable racists thanks to comments on the record by Brigham Young, Mark Petersen, Alvin Dyer and some of the commenters above, to the extent that comments like their register with the broader American public as typical of white Mormons. Still, I feel all Mormons should feel able to join in to the amens that close that prayer, without reservation.

    This morning we read and discussed the Thirteenth Article of Faith with our little girls. I was grateful for the reminder that if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we Mormons seek after these things. We should seek after the spirit of Lowery’s benediction and in so doing, we will be following the admonition of Paul, as we Mormons should be striving to do: believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things and hoping to be able to endure all things.

  53. From the prayer:

    And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

    I felt the Spirit confirm the truth of this petition when I heard these words during the prayer.

  54. Sorry, one more. I was also very impressed as I listened to the prayer with the following:

    Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

    This was a very meaningful combination of the deep Judeo-Christian biblical heritage (the invocation of Old Testament millenial aspirations of peace) with the American civil religion, adroitly expressed through a biblical reference that was historically used to establish a view of divinely approved private property rights (read, free markets) in the eighteenth century before and at the time of the founding of the nation: every man and every woman under his or her own vine and fig tree (Micah 4:4).

    A skillful prayer that was able to bring some of the best elements of many different periods and priorities into the picture.

  55. I find the race paragraph unnecessarily divisive and in poor taste considering the inaugural context, regardless of who is speaking.

    The terms “red man” and “yellow” are anachronistic at best. Why do people of European and African descent get their own category, but Polynesians, Arabs, South Asians have to group themselves with who?

    Makes what could have been a nice prayer messy and unsatisfying.

    My own teenage nephews and nieces, who are of mixed East Asian and Mediterranean descent scoff at this kind of social racialism. My kids, who are also biracial and attend schools that are completely multi-cultural, know better.

    [Edited]

  56. Jennifer in GA says:

    15- After listening to the invocation, my 10 year old daughter said, “Wow, that’s like a General Conference prayer!” :P

  57. Mikeinweho (#37),

    Thanks for the Amen. In the spirit of risky inter-demographic outreach, you can call me “Breeder” any time you want.

  58. Big Bill Broonzy has a good tune with those lines. It’s not on youtube, but here are the lyrics, drawn from his own experiences of 40 or 50 years ago.

    http://www.lyricstime.com/big-bill-broonzy-black-brown-and-white-lyrics.html

  59. Back in the 70’s while attending college I saw the movie “Jesus Christ Superstar” with a friend from my dorm. We lived in a small “cooperative dorm” and he was the only Jew and I was the only (admitted) Mormon. As we left the theater and walked back to our dorm he said to me, “Maybe Jesus Christ was the Messiah but I don’t think I should be blamed for killing him.”

    A couple of years later when the TV mini-series “Roots” was aired, a local newspaper printed a disgusting editorial tirade accusing network television of “playing to our collective guilt.”

    I couldn’t help but think of those comments as I read the posts above claiming Reverend Lowrey’s benediction to be racist. Maybe after 400 years of oppression he just used that wondrous occasion to say what should have been said long ago. I don’t think any of us who conduct our lives as disciples of Christ have any reason for offense or guilt . We should, instead, join with others in shouting “Amen.”

  60. MikeInWeHo says:

    Thanks, Oh Blogghead, for editing #55 and removing my perhaps too vehement response.

    re: 57 LOL “Inter-demographic outreach” is a really fun phrase. Loved it.

  61. Aleli P. Hernando says:

  62. For all those who were offended by Rev. Lowrey’s closing paragraph, are you offended by this?

    2 Nephi 26:33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

    Obviously, we still have a ways to go, but it seems we have come so much farther today than we thought possible even a year ago. It’s all worth it to see so many who have felt disenfranchised by our blindness finally have hope and feel a part of the process of government.

  63. I am dismayed by some of the perspectives voiced here. It’s a bit heartbreaking to me actually. I must have been feeling extra optimistic, and maybe naive, but it honestly didn’t occur to me that anyone would have anything but love for this prayer. I think I might not have posted it if I knew it would elicit some of the comments it has.

    On the other hand, I am deeply grateful to Margaret, Ray, Russell, Randall, John and others for their beautiful explanations in response to those comments. Amen and amen to their words. Perhaps if I had been so eloquent and added such thoughts to the original post, I could have forestalled some of the reactions we saw in the comments (Margaret’s historical context note is a mandatory primer here). Again, I didn’t anticipate a need (and lets be honest, couldn’t have said it so well as our commenters have collectively done).

    My thought in posting it was that I wanted to seize upon something I thought we could all agree on, as a way of publicly building a bridge between us and those whose worship is in the style exemplified by Rev. Lowery.

    Thanks again to the many commenters who whose kind words added to my celebration of the moment.

  64. Aaron Brown says:

    Just ignore the old farts in this thread who thought the prayer was racist, Cynthia.

    The prayer was excellent. Very moving. Yes, it’s possible to scrutinize the racial passages and use them as a springboard for bitching about reverse racism, and all that, but for those of us not tonedeaf to the significance of the historical moment (even those of us who’re definitely not suffering from an Obama-as-messiah complex), I thought the words were very appropriate. And I can say that even while fully aware that Lowery’s public policy preferences — regarding racial issues, etc. — may very well not be mine.

    AB

  65. Perhaps I should clarify that I don’t begrudge anyone their opinion of the prayer as a matter of taste or preference. But I think a handful of the judgments have gone beyond simple preference to show a lack of charity and cultural/historical understanding. I hope those who feel the style that puts up some roadblocks to their appreciation of it, can begin to process it starting from an acknowledgment of the Reverend’s sincerity.

  66. #64: thanks AB. :-)

  67. If his prayer is sincere, that is all that matters to me.

    On a tangent, I noticed a couple of comments referring to “vain repetitions” that seemed to focus on the “repetition” portion of that term. I think that the key word in the term, and the focus of Jesus’s teaching, is the word “vain.” Thus, I would submit that there is nothing wrong with a “sincere” repetition, but that there is everything wrong with praying with a complete set of unique “vain” (or empty, meaningless) words or phrases – whether beautiful and eloquent or simple and mundane. (None of this is referrning to the prayers offered yesterday – just an observation.)

  68. #18, Sean,

    Does god appreciate irony? I hope so because a few prayers ago my wife and I bust into 5 minutes of laughter.

    This is an ironic world. I think we were placed here partly to learn to laugh in difficult situations.

  69. Although with both prayers I felt like the ministers had the mistaken idea that they were invited to give entire speeches (and, yes, I feel like this at church sometimes, too), in general I liked the benediction. I thought it was mostly heartfelt and thoughtful.

    But praying for the day to finally come when “black will not be asked to get back…and when white will embrace what is right.” was just divisive. And of course it’s racist, by definition. He’s not praying for people who haven’t embraced the right to do so. He’s praying for the day when WHITES will finally do so.

    I understand that he’s lived through real, awful racism and has fought against it. But I didn’t think this was the appropriate venue. Did he miss that in a country where whites constituted 74% of the voters, a black man had just been made the leader of the free world? How much further “not back” does he want to be?

    And rather than beating swords into tractors, he should have asked the swords be beaten into energy-efficient, organic, hybrid earth-tillers.

  70. #56, I am glad I am not the only one. I was in a large conference room with co-workers and was slightly embarrased that I didn’t have enough patience for Warren’s prayer.

    We should totally have him pray at Conference to keep people on their feet. I was seriously waiting for President Uctdorf to do the sustaining of the new president after the invocation. “It has been proposed that we sustain Barack Hussein Obama as the…”

  71. I was initially inclined to give him a pass on openly racial comments during the prayer based on his age and his experiences in the deep south back in the day.

    Then I checked his wiki site and found that he had a couple of years ago politicized a prayer at Coretta Kings funeral. So there is a pattern here of ill-timed and ill-advised comments during public prayers.

  72. I loved the line about beating tanks into tractors.

  73. Me too, john f. That line very much stood out to me. Another example of a unique twist on familiar words (swords–>plowshares being the conventional phrase). The Reverend has a very playful approach to the English language and I just love it. I don’t know if it is possible to be as playful with other languages as it is with English? (our vocabulary is larger) But when someone can clearly make their points while at the same time have this meta-level where they are doing improvisational jazz-like remixing of English itself–I’m in heaven. Awesome.

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