Now don’t get me wrong. I was as happy as anyone to see that jerk Bush get into a plane no longer called Air Force One and fly on home to Texas. I am ecstatic that the U.S. has a Democrat as a president again and I am even more so that finally a day has come when a person of color can hold the highest office in that country. Good for you, U.S.A.!
That said….I could have done with a lot less of the church revival at yesterday’s inauguration speech. The inclusion of one homophobic and misogynist religious leader and the notable exclusion of the words of a progressive, queer religious speaker at an earlier inauguration event have made me pause to wipe the pixie dust out of my eyes.
I was in fact offended at the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at yesterday’s inauguration. The man is a hot mess of homophobia and misogyny. Warren’s speech was an evangelical Christian sermon that cast the U.S. as an exclusively Christian state. If the inauguration had to feature a religious speech, something a little less denominational would have been more fitting to a country so diverse. After eight years of Bush extremism, this sort of uber-Christian ceremony makes me a bit nervous. Hello, Church? State?
Not only that, but Obama’s inaugural committee “accidentally” silenced the more inclusive sermon of gay Bishop Gene Robinson’s opening invocation from the televised inauguration celebration and concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. Oops! The queer doesn’t make national television on one of the most monumental days in U.S. history. In fact, the sound system suddenly malfunctioned just as the Bishop was about to speak. But don’t worry, it was back up in time for Beyoncé!
Now Bishop Robinson knew how to give an invocation that was more inclusive of the differences among American people. It’s really tragic that his speech was excluded from the celebration through so-called malfunction and error, as it was actually a really beautiful speech, everything that Warren’s speech was not. I’ll leave you with an excerpt:
O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless this nation with anger, anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort, at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.