Some Thoughts on the Inauguration Prayers

Today during the ceremonies, I posted the following to Twitter and Facebook:

It wasn’t until I actually saw it happen that I realized how offensive it is to have the lords prayer at the inauguration…Just thinking about the Millions of Americans who were disenfranchised and brushed aside in that moment– so that the majority could have their little pow-wow with zombie-jesus

It definitely stirred up some debate, and I figured I’d transplant some of that here, where it’s more permanent, and there are no length concerns to deal with (that’s what she said).

The first note of dissent came from my good friend Kat:

yeah but obama mentioned non-believers specifically. does separation of church and state really mean ignoring it completely at official functions?

To which my reply was: Absolutely not. To ignore something as crucial and fundamental to so many peoples’ lives would be foolish, and would serve to severely cheapen the foundation of our Government itself– as for good or ill, religion was one of the core tenets upon which it was founded.

Just don’t take sides.

Two exclusively Christian prayers being officially administered at one of the largest and most prestigious Government Sponsored events in history… That’s out of line, in my opinion (and the opinion of the Constitution, but who’s counting?). I don’t appreciate being told who my God is– and especially not by the Government to whom I give shit-tons of taxes and upon whom I rely to speak for me in matters of policy.

My old friend Adam then chimed in reminding me that it’s not really worth it to live life being offended at every turn– which I actually quite valued. It’s a very good point, and I had to retool my argument a bit. I’m not offended, I’m just somewhat disappointed by the doublespeak which we see and accept every day in our society. The double-standards that good, otherwise intelligent Americans gladly swallow on a daily basis.

There is no rational way to reconcile what I just saw with a secular nation founded on separation of Church and State. Absolutely none.

Kat then replied with the following:

There is no way to represent every religious persuasion at an event like this. You risk tokenism on the other extreme of this Christian exclusivity. Obama is a Christian and thus he has the right to choose whomever he likes to deliver prayers at the inauguration.

Also, I don’t believe that America is a “secular nation”. That is definitely up for debate. just look at our dollar bills… yadda yadda yadda

Although it’s somewhat cliche, this is a wonderful opportunity for some role-reversal:

Imagine we had elected a Jewish president (not terribly far-fetched as we very nearly elected Lieberman as our VP). Now imagine that both of those prayers were Jewish prayers. I don’t think you’d find much disagreement that it would be absolutely inappropriate.

The United States is not a nation of Jews, so regardless of the President’s background, exclusively Jewish prayer at the inauguration would not even be conscionable.

Likewise we are absolutely NOT a nation of Christians, and to suggest otherwise is a slap in the face to every Muslim, Jew, Atheist, and Cultist who loves their country. We are a nation of all faiths and backgrounds, and so is it just as inappropriate for the highest public servant in the land to dictate the religion that is broadcast into millions (probably billions) of homes at the behest of the American Government.

Now I’ve gone on for a very long time. There were other branches that the argument took, but I’ll post them at a later time.


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