Like a lot of people, I was concerned about the invocation- and while I publicly asked for people to give it time, I was on the inside pretty worried that there would be some subtle references to abortion or same-sex marriage. However, what we got was something entirely different- a completely generic Christian prayer, something that some of the ideologically secular people- with a likely considerable overlap with the group rallying around that court case to ban Obama from saying "So help me God" in the Oath, might get annoyed about the presence of the words "God", "Jesus", and the Lord's Prayer- and that's their right.
Continued after the fold.
To most others, however, any outrage over the content is purely because of the expectations of something out of a Chick tract being spewed out of his mouth. That was not present. The criticism I have heard is that it was not ecumenical enough- and it was not a massively ecumenical prayer- certainly non-offensive to all Christians, but beyond that it likely had little value, and that he made it about himself too much- this is almost all based on one line- "The one who changed my life"- had this been a pastor you don't hate with the fire of a thousand suns, would you be upset at them talking a little about their lives? Do you think that you would be upset at Gene Robinson talking about the homophobia he had to overcome, Jesse Jackson talking about his experience with race? Certainly not.
The invocation was nothing special. I know there has to be a straw man to pounce on, but make it Roberts for bungling the oath- Warren did no wrong today. If you're upset at his choice because of what he stands for- that's the transition team's fault. No pastor in the country would pass up a chance to perform the invocation at an inauguration. For what Warren is and what he stands for, this is the best we could have hoped for.
For your inspection- the text of the invocation
Let us pray.
Almighty God, our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory.
History is your story. The Scripture tells us, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God. The Lord is One." And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now, today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hingepoint of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.Give to our new President, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you. We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus, who taught us to pray:
"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."