Archive for the ‘megachurch’ Category

Obama’s Inaugural Mistake: God Awful

December 20, 2008

Barack Obama has selected televangelist Rick Warren, author of  “The  Purpose Driven Life” and an outspoken opponent of  abortion rights and same-sex marriage, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration Jan. 20. Why? What was he thinking when he picked this particular religious spokesman—a publicity hound who fights against causes of great moral importance to many of Obama’s supporters—for such a prominent role in the inauguration?

I consider this Obama’s first big misstep, and not only because of Warren’s stance on abortion and gay rights. He represents a combination of evangelicalism and boosterism , in the tradition of Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham, that is a particularly repugnant part of American religious tradition. Many have suggested that the choice of Warren puts him in a position to succeed Graham as the nation’s  best-known pastor. No religious leader should occupy the role that Graham played in successive  administrations—as an unofficial counselor to presidents, a predictable functionary on all ceremonial occasions, and a spokesman for one brand of religion. It is a brand of religion that has always been allied with American anti-intellectualism, and that is yet another reason why Obama’s choice is so puzzling and disturbing. 

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren participates in a panel ... 
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren participates in a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in this September 26, 2008 file photo. U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Warren, who opposes gay marriage, as a speaker at his inauguration, creating a commotion over what inclusiveness will mean for his administration.REUTERS/Chip East/Files

How wonderful it would have been if a humanist had been included in the inaugural ceremony for the first time.  Secularists, unlike evangelicals, voted overwhelmingly for Obama. It is truly disappointing to me  to see Obama catering those who make up a significant share his enemies and disregarding the views of his friends….

By Susan Jacoby
Washington Post
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Related:
http://sheblogan.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/praying-for-obama/

To Whose God Will Rick Warren Pray?

December 19, 2008

The selection of Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural Invocation raises all sorts of provocative questions.

Has Barack Obama betrayed the left by choosing someone so closely identified with the anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage positions of the Christian Right? Does this mean Warren has succeeded Billy Graham as America’s pastor? Will the 2009 Inaugural Invocation be the first in American history delivered by a man with a goatee?

I think the most interesting question won’t be answered until Warren speaks on Jan. 20. To whom (Whom?) will Warren deliver the Inauguration’s opening prayer? Will his language be inclusive or exclusive? Will he pray to the sort of generic Creator God mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? Will he pray to the monotheistic and paternalistic God the Father? Or will he, as a conservative Christian pastor, pray in the name of Jesus?

Does it matter?

Above: Detail of Sistine Chapel fresco Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo (completed in 1512).

By David Waters
The Washington Post

Billy Graham used inclusive language when he delivered the Inaugural Invocation in 1989. “0 God, we consecrate today George Herbert Walker Bush to the presidency of these United States,” he said. But four years later, Graham ended his invocation at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration this way: “I pray this in the name of the one that’s called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Amen.”

Do you remember anyone complaining? I don’t. It’s Billy Graham, the greatest evangelist of the 20th Century. How else would he pray?

Graham was too frail to deliver invocations for George W. Bush. At Bush’s 2005 Inauguration, Rev. Luis Leon’s prayer language used inclusive language, praying to a “most gracious and eternal God” and closing his prayer by saying, “We ask in Your most holy name.”

But at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001, the pastors who delivered the invocation and benediction created a bit of a stir when both of them prayed to Jesus. The invocation by Franklin Graham ended “in the name of the father, and of the son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.” The benediction by Kirbyjon Caldwell ended with the words, “‘We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names, Jesus the Christ.”

Among the critics was Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in the Los Angeles Times that Graham’s “particularistic and parochial language . . . excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing . . . The plain message conveyed by the new administration is that Bush’s America is a Christian nation, and that non-Christians are welcome into the tent so long as they agree to accept their status as a tolerated minority rather than as fully equal citizens.”

So what will Rick Warren’s prayer say about Obama’s America? What should it say?

Related:
http://sheblogan.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/praying-for-obama/