Obama is a great speaker cursed with bad speeches that are the product of an inadequate view of God. The God of the Liberal Christian can produce a great episode of Barney, but the platitudes of the purple dinosaur are not enough to move nations to greatness.
Posted by John Mark Reynolds, on January 26, 2009 6:51 AM
Happily, to people of my outlook, the inaugural events were not used to fire up the "culture wars." Notably in the swearing-in ceremony, we did not hear words like "abortion" or "same-sex marriage" or the couple of other incendiary terms for issues and, sometimes, non-issues.
Posted by Martin Marty, on January 25, 2009 9:03 AM
This inauguration for many was an event in which an extraordinary oneness was experienced; a oneness demanded by the extraordinary man we chose to lead us. That was what Rev. Lowery was asked to bless or empower for future attempts. In the end, he could not do it.
Posted by Kathleen Flake, on January 25, 2009 7:00 AM
With appropriate devotion to religion, appreciation for inclusion, and insistence on compassion, our new president praises diversity, stresses equality for all people, expresses desire for friendship with all nations, and calls every individual to activist citizenship that is local, national, and global.
Posted by Welton Gaddy, on January 25, 2009 12:43 AM
Barack Obama has been teaching and preaching for close to two years now that blessing obligates one to action and that action itself is an enormous blessing. For right action builds community, makes life worthwhile, and nurtures hope. The new president reiterated that lesson.
Posted by Arnold M. Eisen, on January 23, 2009 9:17 AM
President Obama made positive inaugural mention of a word that rarely crosses the lips of lesser politicos, and the online crowd of religious skeptics went wild. I too was pleasantly surprised to see the President return to his previous practice of extending a rhetorical hand to my community in his oratory.
Posted by Greg M. Epstein, on January 23, 2009 6:35 AM
Yes, he mentioned God, but as an atheist, I have no objection to a president who believes in God making such a reference. What he did not do was invoke a Higher Power as a source of and a justification for public policy. Most important, he is the only modern president to include "nonbelievers" in his litany to Americans of diverse faiths.
Posted by Susan Jacoby, on January 21, 2009 8:38 AM
It's not good enough that he becomes the first African-American President, the first green President, or the first digital President. Nothing less than spiritual renewal is needed across the board, and there is no one of equal stature to lead it.
Posted by Deepak Chopra, on January 21, 2009 5:55 AM
The combination of Pastor Rick Warren's invocation and President Obama's inaugural address set the stage for a new kind of public religion in this country. It is both more inclusive and simultaneously proud of particularity than anything we may have seen before.
Posted by Brad Hirschfield, on January 21, 2009 3:37 AM
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amelia45: President Obama's speech is not remembered after just listening to it one time. I have watched replays and read the text. It grows with ea...
dswhite: I believe in the strict separation of church and state and I think invocations, benedictions, and prayers should not be a part of a governme...