You can please some of the people all of the time,
You can please all of the people some of the time,
and sometimes you just fall through your ass.
Of course I’m disappointed that Barack has chosen Rick Warren to participate in the inaugural ceremonies in January. I’d prefer it if he would dispense with the whole oath-of-office, right-hand-on-the-bible, prayerful-interlude thing and get down to business. Gay, straight, transgendered, or closeted gun fetishist NRA member–I don’t care who Warren admits to his church. Muslim, Mormon, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or Jainist–creationist or evolutionarian–I don’t care who Warren suggests will or will not find eternal life after physical death. I’m pretty sure Barack doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy and I doubt any of us will ever know whether he retains some 19th century romantic superstition about life after death. I suspect he’s more realistic than that, but it doesn’t matter. The form and function of the inauguration remains the same.
On January 20th, 2023, first Joe Biden, then Barack Obama will take the oath of office, swearing or affirming to uphold the constitution and probably adding the embarrassing fillip “so help me God.” This last phrase is not mandated, but given the tenor of these parlous times when as many as 92% of Americans profess a belief in God, to leave out the metaphysical closing would be at least impolitic.
And that should be explanation enough for the appearance of evangelical Christians on the rostrum that third Tuesday in January. So Rick Warren, representative of millions of people who remain uncomfortable with homosexuality and who mask the discomfort with religious conviction, will give the invocation that day.
Missing from our discussion of the religious framework of this most secular event, lost in the progressive outcry about the choice of Warren, is the validating presence of the Reverend Joseph Lowery giving the benediction. When the thought of Rick Warren giving his invocation to open the inaugural makes you throw-up just a little bit in your mouth, consider that his will be the last words from the evangelical right during the Bush administration. Lowery’s benediction will be the first words from the progressive Christian traditions that we will hear during the Obama administration.
This will not be the last time I’ll be disappointed by Obama. That’s the nature of his job. What I hope is that he’ll get us back on course, return us to being a nation of laws. Piddly little stuff like which special Southern California-christian dude with a fastidious little goatee that makes his face look fat gets to invoke his favorite deity at the inauguration has very little to do with the hard choices and commitment we expect of Barack starting that Tuesday afternoon in January.