Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery's inaugural benediction

[AP Photo]

I have printed the prayers of Bishop Robinson and Rick Warren. The best of the bunch, by far, was the benediction, given by the Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, the man who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and who led the march on Selma so many years ago.

If we must nod to god at government function, Lowery does it better. And the last paragraph is the best, even if the moron, Glenn Beck, thinks it racist and attacks the poor abused white folks.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

Audience: Amen!

Lowery: Say amen

Audience: Amen!

Lowery: And amen.

Audience: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

Below is Glenn Beck's feigned outrage.

h/t to Friendly Atheist


Tommy Korioth said...

Glenn Beck is one of those reactionairy pundits. He doesn't have the time to be inspired by one of the best prayers I've ever heard. Dr. Joseph Lowery isn't a lightweight. He's a man of rare eloquence.

b said...

Rev Lowery is a very courageous man too. He has been beaten jailed, humiliated, etc simply for being black and was willing to risk all to change things for black people. Few people were willing to take the risks he took. We owe him a debt of gratitude for helping to change things for all of us.

What has Glen Dreck done for humanity?

Ward Beattie said...

I loved this prayer, but I did raise an eyebrow at the peroration ... " and white will embrace the right." Rhetorically, it does set up a moral opposition between whites and the oppressed minorities. As a white person who thinks himself prejudice-free, this at first surprised me, because it did not include me.

And yet ... I have to realize that the history of oppression of blacks, hispanics, asians is not so ancient that we can fail to account for it even now. And I have to admit that my own openness to other races is still fraught with some fears deeply rooted in my own ignorance and inexperience.

Jacob said...


Excellent comment and right on target. You may be interested in a new book called "Slavery by Another Name" by Douglas A. Blackmon, which documents the enslavement of blacks following the Civil War into the 1940''s an incredible read and gives one new perspective on the Black "experience" in this country.

Thanks for writing.


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