As a person of distinctly non-Christian faith, I’d be more than happy to see the ritual invocation dropped from the presidential inaugural entirely. But this is a democracy, and since I’ve been conclusively outvoted on this topic, I’d just like to say that this is a waaaaay better choice than Rick ‘Saddleback’ Warren:
President Obama has picked the widow of slain civil rights icon Medgar Evers to deliver the invocation at his swearing-in this month, believed to be the first time a woman and a non-clergy member has been chosen to deliver perhaps America’s most prominent public prayer.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Evers, who was the NAACP’s Mississippi field secretary at the time of his death. Myrlie Evers-Williams went on to become chairman of the NAACP in the 1990s and spent decades fighting to win a conviction of her late husband’s shooter…
Shaun Casey, a Wesley Theogical Seminary professor who has written about faith and the U.S. presidency (and advised the Obama campaign on faith in 2008), said the president is like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in that “he’s trying to unite the nation in the face of deep division and conflict. They are trying to coax more people into the national discussion . . . and this is the last time the entire nation will pay attention to what this guy says in one sitting.”
Some details of the inaugural ceremony have changed over time, including the move to the west side of the Capitol from the east side. But historians say the role of an unspecific deity has been a prominent constant. Lincoln’s address at his second inauguration is the most explicitly religious in history, Casey said….
Apart from party planning, what’s on the agenda today?