Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Invocation

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?

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72 replies
  1. 1
    Schlemizel says:

    How long before the wingnut use this selection to smear Medgar Evers reputations and claim this is the beginning of a call for reparations?

    OR ‘Tuesday’ as we call it in the real world.

    Like my life at the moment: same shit different day.

  2. 2
    David Koch says:

    He should of picked some Mormon preacher. Just to keep fucking with Mittens.

  3. 3
    David Koch says:

    Shaun Casey, a Wesley Theogical Seminary professor who has written about faith and the U.S. presidency … said the president is like Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Does this mean Bill Murray will be playing Obama in the movie?

  4. 4
    Schlemizel says:

    Actually 3 things for today different
    Its my birthday – big whoop, I had actually forgotten that until I looked at my FB page
    I have an appointment with a specialist to see if further surgery will help
    The #2 ranked Notre Dump will be getting thrashed by the #1 ranked Univ of Minnesota in in ice hockey this evening so that will be enjoyable.

  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:


    Happy Birthday, young Schlemizel.

    Very thrilled you have chosen to share it with us.

    And I like the selection of Myrlie Evers. Will make for a more meaningful prayer.

    Take that, Franklin Graham and your “one nation under Jesus.”

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    @Schlemizel: Happy Birthday, Dawg.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    Aw fuck, Mornin Joe and Bama comin up.

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    Mika is SHOCKED that Mooseburger got a woody behind Mc Caren’s girlfriend.

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    I like the idea of a spiritual “kumbaya” moment at the inauguration as a way of focusing on the greater good, but I also like the idea of it being non-religious. If you’re going to be inclusive, then by all means include everyone, and that means the non-religious too.

    @Schlemizel: Many happy returns!

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:


    I’ll admit to terminal cluelessness – whats the deal with the girlfriend? Couple of people commented on it during the game thread but I have no idea what the situation is

    @Ash Can:
    I may be foggy but wasn’t there a shout out to us during the last go-round? I seem to remember some freak out about it, but with wingnuts daily freakouts its hard to keep them all straight.

  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    Former Senator George Allen’s mother, Henriette “Etty”, has died at 90.

    WaPost on her coming to terms with telling her children and friends that she was from a Jewish family:

    After revealing the secret she’d kept from her children for six decades, Mrs. Allen asked her son, “Do you still love me?”

    George Allen said he did. Then his mother asked whether her friends would still like her if they found out.

    “Oh, Mom,” the son replied. “Of course they love you. Why wouldn’t they?”

    “No,” said his mother, “they tell Jewish jokes.” She shook with fear, her son said.

    Henriette Allen was a Tunisian Jew from a family of prominent Sephardic Jews in Tunis. Her father, a wine importer named Felix Lumbroso, was imprisoned by the Nazis.

    So she comes to the US, meets and marries college football coach George Allen, a Roman Catholic who does not want his own mother to know he’s married out of his faith.

    Hetty lives in wealthy Palos Verde, near Los Angeles, settling into a social circle that makes Jewish jokes.

    And raises her children to deny her religious and cultural background. She tells herself it is for their own good. She does not want them to go through what happened to her own father.

    When asked during the 2006 Senate campaign about rumors his mother was Jewish,

    The senator repeated a formulation he had often used: “My mother’s French-Italian with a little Spanish blood in her. And I was raised as she was, as far as I know, raised as a Christian.”

    Allen reacted angrily to the question and told reporters that whatever the truth about his religious background, “I still had a ham sandwich for lunch, and my mother made great pork chops.’’

    I am glad that we live in a country that elected Barack Obama over someone like George Allen, once considered a presidential candidate in waiting; that Myrlie Evers will be featured in the second inauguration; and that a young Henriette Lumbroso today might not choose to obfuscate her family background.

  12. 12
    geg6 says:


    I don’t know how you watch that shit, but I admire your ability to do it. I simply can’t if I don’t want to throw my coffee cup through the screen. I just can’t afford a new tv right now.

    Love the Myrlie Evers pick, though I think picking the Reverend Al Sharpton would have been better simply for the entertainment factor. Wingnut heads would be exploding all over the place for the next two weeks.

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    @Schlemizel: She is Miss Alabama and a beautiful 20 year old. Mooseburger was fawning all over about her and the scolds of the world are “offended”. This will give you an idea of how modest she is and how awful it is to comment on her physical appearance.

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    @geg6: I dunno, it’s on. I used to watch Imus too. The last few weeks of Boortz are interesting too, he is raging about Obama every day leading up to the finale.

  15. 15
    Schlemizel says:


    OH MY!

    Until last night I had never heard of the guy & as of now I sorta hate his guts 8-{D

    I think it would be improper to comment on he physical attributes given that she has chosen to cover herself in a Malibu burka.

  16. 16
    Cowbelle says:

    Has the Right Wing freaked out about this yet?

    Something about Obama being secular and hating America and hating God.

  17. 17
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Schlemizel: Happy Birthday and hope you get some good options re your medical.

  18. 18
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Raven: Perhaps she sent him this and didn’t get a response.

  19. 19
    danielx says:

    Spending at least a few moments gloating over Notre Dame getting crushed like a grape, just because their “doing it the right way” schtick has become so tiresome. Notre Dame football is a profit-making entity just like every other NCAA Division I football program.

  20. 20

    I guess Touchdown Jesus wasn’t happy with the Fightin’ Irish.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    Excellent choice. It’s time america faced up to its ugly past and ugly present.

  22. 22
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Schlemizel: #1

    Good morning to you,
    Good morning to you,
    Good morning dear Schlemizel,
    Good morning to you.
    And many mooooooooore.

    [hug] :-)

  23. 23
    PurpleGirl says:

    I like that President Obama decided to honor Medger Evers by having his wife deliver the invocation. Medger Evers figured prominently in various aspects of the Civil Rights movement and it is good the President honors this movement.

    @Schlemizel: Happy Birthday! Hope you enjoy your day.

  24. 24
    Linda Featheringill says:

    It’s really neat that Ms. Evers will take part in the inauguration. The arc of justice and all that.

  25. 25
    SFAW says:

    I’m waiting for the announcement that, as an attempt to “come together” or maybe just “meet halfway” with the right-wingers of the country, President Obama also invites Rev. Fred Phelps to deliver his own, very special invocation. (“Very special” used here in the same sense as “Tonight! ! In a Very Special episode of ‘Full House,’ the Olsen girls do something semi-cute, and Bob Saget reacts with his trademark mixture of befuddlement and psychotic rage!”)

    I think it would be good fun. Especially when the President, during his own speech, says something like: “OK, America – you know that crazy shit that Fred Phelps was spouting a few minutes ago? That’s the crap I have to deal with from the Republicans in Congress, every f’ing day. You want America to move back to a place of sanity? Well, then, you know what to do. And, not to give you any hints or anything, but I hear Agway has a special, limited-time sale on pitchforks. Just sayin’.”

    I would definitely buy a ton of popcorn to watch that kind of inauguration.

    ETA: Of course, assuming Obama isn’t going to do anything along the lines of my suggestion/fantasy, I think Myrlie Evers-Williams is a great choice, and hope she doesn’t have to deal with too much wingnut rage. She’s had more than enough of that shit in her lifetime.

  26. 26
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Schlemizel: #1

    And by the way, Mr. Fussy Pants, good luck with your doc!

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @Schlemizel: Yes, Obama said something along the lines of reaching out to people of all faiths and of no faith last time. By that time, all the wingnuts were so far into their mass nervous breakdown that I have no idea what they said about it specifically other than “rraaarrrghrgh.”

  28. 28
    SFAW says:

    @Ash Can:

    By that time, all the wingnuts were so far into their mass nervous breakdown that I have no idea what they said about it specifically other than “rraaarrrghrgh.”

    I’m sorry, I must have missed it – when do they say anything else? (Other than the obvious “blackity-black black man in the Black White House riffs, of course.)

  29. 29
    Peregrinus says:


    Happy birthday! Hope it is a big whoop by close of business – if nothing else by getting good news on your health.

    I forget the movie that was based on Myrlie Evers’ attempts to get justice done for her husband. But I do remember it galvanizing nine- or ten-year-old me to support civil rights. This is an excellent pick.

  30. 30
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Schlemizel: happy birthday. Hopefully non-intrusive therapy will help you remember next year.

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:


    But remember the President is “No Drama” Obama. When has he ever done anything that might offend the great unwashed? Sure the wingnuts will explode over this pick but they would explode if he had picked the Savior Himself. Most people will ignore the tantrum if they hear about it at all.

    And before the whiner patrol hits the thread, that is not a knock on President Obama it is simply observation of his past history. This is not a guy given to intentionally provocative or controversial displays. He is subtle and that has served him well, don’t expect a change in his personality now.

  32. 32
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Schlemizel: Happy B’Day.

    Good on President Obama for doing something different for his invocation.

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yeah, that was it! As a person of no faith (unless you count Pastafarianism & most don’t) I very rarely complain about public displays of mock piety, its sort of like the National Anthem before a game, nobody really cares they are just going through the motion because they know it is required. As long as I am not required to join in there is no real harm but it was nice to be included.

  34. 34
  35. 35

    Notre Dame got whooped last night. But was that the most disgraceful thing to happen to this year’s football team? Not by a long shot:

    As unbeaten Notre Dame prepares to play in tonight’s national championship game against Alabama, the sports media have chosen not to discuss the fact that this football team has two players on its roster suspected of sexual assault and rape; two players whose crimes have been ignored; two players whose accusers felt harassed and intimidated; two players whose presence on the field Monday night should be seen as a national disgrace.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @Schlemizel: Oh happy day! I’m thinking good thoughts for your dr.s visit.

  37. 37
    WereBear says:

    You wouldn’t choose a person of no faith to give the prayer, would you? :)

    I agree that this is a fantastic pick. Only the scummiest, least self-aware, hate-filled people would…

    Oh. Yeah.

  38. 38
    dmsilev says:

    Presented without comment, the abstract for a seminar someone is giving at my work tomorrow:

    Using human evaluation of the happiness of words, we analyze a diverse set of large-scale texts which reflect cultural experience including 50 years of music lyrics, millions of weblogs, and billions of status updates from Twitter. We find that happiness rises and falls with age and distance from the Earth’s equator; the 2008 Presidential Election was the happiest day in the blogosphere in the last 5 years; and the written form of the English language exhibits a pro-social bias.
    This talk will discuss the findings in the context of our ongoing effort in the Computational Story Lab at UVM to develop a remote sensor of population level happiness: the ‘Hedonometer’.

  39. 39
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Totally charming diary on DKos, 100 reasons . . .


  40. 40
    Schlemizel says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    Oh but sports builds character!

    Given the number of these stories that leak out about successful college teams it should be almost an automatic assumption that there are some number of thieves, thugs and rapists on every roster and that the operate under the protection of the system they profit.

    Its sad but the evidence is all around. What about the ‘clean’ programs you say? You mean clean like Penn State? Clean like ND? Yeah, exactly like those.

  41. 41
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Gabby Giffords and hubby Mark Kelly are starting a campaign to fight NRA efforts in Washington. The link above is to their web site.

    They have an op ed published in USA Today:


  42. 42
    Baud says:


    And before the whiner patrol hits the thread

    Since it’s your birthday, I’ll let it slide just this one time… :)

    Seriously, however, I thought No Drama Obama referred to his preternatural calm in the face of turmoil, as opposed to his non-confrontational tone.

    In any event, by presidenting while being a black Democrat, everything he does is confrontational. He’s being “in your face” by nominating a conservative Republican to be Sec Def. I mean, c’mon. Can you imagine if he did something really out there? It would cause a rip in the space-time continuum.

  43. 43
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Schlemizel: It does build character. Some of the hardest things we do in life involve cover ups and willful blindness and making easy choices that benefit the status quo. I believe that’s right out of Proverbs 45.

  44. 44
    Schlemizel says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    Well, nobody has ever said it was GOOD character

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:


    Thanks for sparing me 8-{D

    I can’t say his style is wrong, it sure works for him. I also suspect that as a black man in America he had to take this approach or he would never have been elected President.

    There are times I wish he would act more like LBJ or even Boy Blunder and do something totally confrontational (fight for single payer or for Warrens and Rices appointments) but that is not his style and it could easily be argued that he gets more done with that than he would get done trying to make me happy.

    I pointed this out in a thread about the coin issue & you would have thought I was the worst person on earth by a couple of the reactions I got. If I were a gooper I would heavily bet that the President won’t go the mint a coin option because that is not his style. That is neither a negative or a positive about his performance its just a bet based on past performance. I think that not taking that threat seriously give the goopers some additional advantage but then again I am not in the Oval Office having to make these deals so who cares what I think.

  46. 46
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Ben Cisco: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!

  47. 47
    Anya says:

    Lindsay Graham: The choice of Mrs. Evers to deliver the invocation at his swearing-in, is an in-your-face choice by the president to all of us who are supportive of racists.

  48. 48
    ET says:

    I think that is a perfect choice. Especially since the Inauguration is actually falling on MLK Day this year.

  49. 49
    NotMax says:


    Pleasant Natal Anniversary.

    Would that TCM were showing a group of Schlemizel’s movie picks, rather than a birthday showing of 8 Elvis movies back-to-back.

    Also it would be nice if Anne Laurie, maybe just once, wouldn’t ask about an agenda, as if everyone formulates and then dutifully lives by following planned lists of pre-selected items or outlines of same. “What’s on the agenda” is not even close to the same as “What’s happening.”

    Spontaneity forever.

  50. 50
    redshirt says:

    @Anya: I’m suprised President McCain and Huckleberry Hound don’t get veto rights over the choice of Inauguration speakers. IN YOUR FACE.

  51. 51
    Citizen_X says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    this football team has two players on its roster suspected of sexual assault and rape; two players whose crimes have been ignored; two players whose accusers felt harassed and intimidated

    God’s team!

  52. 52
    Schlemizel says:


    GAWD I HATE Elvis!

    Even the young, talented, Elvis was way overrated. I will say it could have been worse – tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the 2nd worst President in American history.

    As it was I was nearly 7 weeks early so I could have shared my day with Rob Riener and Willie Stargell (and he who shall not be named whos initials are GG)

  53. 53
    rdldot says:

    Hope this thread stays active for a while. I am on Cobra insurance right now but that ends in April. Does anyone have any advice about how to go about looking for individual health insurance? I am in Texas (poor me)…

  54. 54
    SFAW says:


    (and he who shall not be named whos initials are GG)

    What, you gotta problem with Glenn Gould? The only thing wrong with him is that he’s Jonah’s favorite pianist – not that Jonah would know good from bad.

    (Apologies for the obscure joke.)

  55. 55
    handsmile says:


    Happy Birthday! Hope your doctor’s visit will give you one more reason to celebrate.


    Thanks for writing such a poignant comment.

    Though it’s only little more than six years ago, sadly I think a “macaca moment” would no longer derail a Republican office-seeker’s campaign. Rather than those facile notions that Obama’s presidency signaled the end of racism in this country, it seems only to have rekindled and emboldened the bigots.

  56. 56

    I know I sound like a a troll, but why hasn’t there been a single post about the horrible case of sexual assault in Delhi which has roiled India.
    Yes, I did write about it on my blog, but it doesn’t have much of a readership yet. You can click my name to read it, if you are interested. BTW the NYT op-ed piece by an Indian survivor of sexual assault is worth reading as well.

  57. 57

    Obama should have chosen Tunch for the invocation, since he is a representative of the Ceiling Cat.

  58. 58
    AxelFoley says:


    Aw fuck, Mornin Joe and Bama comin up.

    President Obama’s gonna be on Morning Joe?

    Oh, wait, my bad. ;)

  59. 59
    Amir Khalid says:

    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.

    Surely someone could devise a secular/non-Christian

    As of today, I have now seen the movie musical Les Miserables thrice in three weeks. (What can I say, I’m a Les Miz fan now.) Good thing I brought tissues, even on the third viewing.

  60. 60
    redshirt says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Are you sure about that? Basement Cat has many faces, and many moods.

  61. 61

    @redshirt: I have been sworn to secrecy by the Great White one.

  62. 62
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Amir Khalid: you’re just a softee.

  63. 63
    Elizabelle says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Very glad to hear about Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly taking on the NRA.

    I’m in. A fresh start on an old problem.

  64. 64
    ruemara says:

    @Schlemizel: Happy Birthday and many happy, rabble rousing, years to come.

    Ever consider getting over Rick Warren at the inaugural? It’s been 4 years. Let it go and celebrate the current choice. I’m pleased by the pick, but since he is not entering office and trying to reconcile the warring states of America, I’m not surprised.

  65. 65
    handsmile says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Good to learn you have a blog. Are those who prefer canines welcome? (another silly question: why does your BJ “nym” have only one “e”?)

    On the Delhi rape matter, as you surely know, foreign news stories absent a direct US connection (e.g, drones, Murdoch) are rarely highlighted on the “front-page” here. It may be a full-service blog, but some things are serviced more often.

    As you probably know, the Guardian’s coverage of this case has been comprehensive and insightful. Also, here are two links relating the Delhi case to Western misogyny and sexual violence:

    The Independent: “Sexual violence is not a cultural phenomenon in India-it is endemic everywhere”

    Guardian: “Delhi gang rage: look westward in disgust”

  66. 66
    Maude says:

    If Obama were different in demeanor, he wouldn’t be him.
    Thank MSM he is calm.

  67. 67

    @handsmile: Yes everyone is welcome, whether you walk on four paws or two. I think BBC’s coverage has been very good. NYT has been pretty good too.

    I will read the two stories you have linked. Yes I know, BJ focuses on US politics but one post would have been nice.

  68. 68
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Joey Maloney: Promotional photo for Mourning Joe – and yes, it was quite a bizarre photo.

  69. 69

    @handsmile: I just read the two articles you highlighted and while I do agree that rape is not endemic to India and the US has its own problems regarding violence against women. The problem in India is much much worse. I have lived in the both US and India and speak from experience. Girl children are not malnourished simply because they are girls, for example. Todd Akin would not have be an outlier in India.

  70. 70
    Kate says:

    Many years ago I produced a tv movie about Medgar Evers.. Worked with Mrs Evers on it. Fascinating story

  71. 71
    xian says:

    @Raven: fake boobs, sigh

  72. 72
    JustRuss says:

    Hope this is an omen of things to come. The Rick Warren pick was a pander to the christian right that got Obama exactly nothing.

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