(For my take on the origins of this controversy read my earlier post.)
(Sorry for the commercials that come with the video!)
Did you watch Rick Warren's invocational prayer at the inauguration today? I did.
No surprises. Rick spoke to God (that's what prayer is) about such things as:
1. His sovereignty and being the source of all we have;
2. History being "His-story";
3. His unity, mercy and compassion;
4. Being grateful for our country;
5. Giving President Obama wisdom, humility, courage, compassion, generosity and integrity;
6. Protection and blessing upon the president's family and all in government;
7. Our commitment as a nation to freedom and justice for all;
8. Forgiveness for our shortcomings and failures;
9. Our ultimate accountability before God;
Gee. Are those controversial or what? Yet some are finding fault with those sentiments.
Even more, he is being criticized for invoking the name of Jesus in his prayer - even going so far as to recite "The Lord's Prayer". (I found that interesting and inclusive, since Rick is a Baptist* and Baptists rarely if ever recite that prayer in corporate worship).
The thinking goes like this: "How dare he exclude some who don't recognized Jesus by praying in His name? Isn't this a thumb of the nose at the separation of church and state?
First, Rick Warren is a Christian. Jesus is his God. He was asked to pray. Who is he supposed to pray to or through if not his God? To quote him, "I'm a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray." Why is that so hard to understand or accept? Anything else would be forced or hypocritical.
Second, when government decides it can dictate how anyone can pray, even in public government functions it has violated at least two constitutional rights of every American: the right of freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. Church/state "separation" (not a Constitutional concept, by the way) protects the church from intrusion and control by the state.
Read our Founding Fathers who wrote the document. They talked often and much about God and Christ (they knew no other god) in their writings. If they heard how current culture has distorted their understanding of God and Country, they would start another revolution!
Good prayer, Rick. Thanks for not bowing to the gods of political correctness. May God answer that prayer!
*By the way, on a historical note...It was because of colonial Virginia Baptists, who were persecuted by the government sanctioned Church of England, that religious freedom is part of our rights as Americans. They lobbied fellow Virginian and framer of the Constitution, James Madison, to include the freedom to worship as we please in the Bill of Rights.