Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Appraisals of the Language of 2009 Inaugural Prayers

Mark Silk's comment on Warren's prayer are here.

There are lots of other comments on out there. If you see one you want me to refer to the class, let me know.

See this site for previous inaugural prayers, including those by Billy Graham.

National Prayer Service

The "National Prayer Service" at Washington National Cathedral was held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21. It involved representatives to the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu traditions. The cathedral's website hosts a video of the service the service leaflet (i.e., bulletin or program), and much more information.

If you want to compare this service to the one held after George W. Bush's second inauguration on January 21, 2005, see click here for the service leaflet.

Given our discussion today, you may be interested in this news story: other Orthodox Jewish Rabbis have criticized Rabbi Haskel Lookstein for participating in the service.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayers at the Inaugural Ceremony

Monday, January 19, 2009

History of Inaugural Prayers

Steven Waldman of Beliefnet.com has provided a fine overview of the history of inaugural prayers. The surprises are that according to his research they only started in 1937 at F.D.R.'s second inaugural and that the clergy asked to give the prayers have become less denominationally diverse over time.

F.D.R. also gave us the tradition of presidents attending a church service on the morning of their inauguration (Nixon is the only one of his successors not to follow this practice).

In addition to his article he also has compiled an helpful archive of inaugural prayers.

UPDATE: Mark Silk explains why F.D.R. began the tradition in 1937.

Bible Passages Used By Previous Presidents

Many Presidents have sworn their oath on a Bible opened to a particular passage. Christianity Today has basic information with a link to the Wall Street Journal's excellent interactive.

The Library of Congress hosts the most complete list I have found.

Bishop Gene Robinson's Prayer at the Lincoln Memorial

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, famous as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was tapped to give the invocation at the concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. Many saw this choice as a counterbalance to Obama's choice of Rick Warren for the invocation at the inauguration itself. The prayer, however, was not carried in the HBO telecast of the concert. The text is available on the Boston Globe site.

UPDATE: Video and Text are available at Christianity Today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

On the Sunday before the inauguration, the Obama family attended the 11 a.m. service at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. The Washington Post story includes a video. On Sunday afternoon the church website suggests that they had moved the service from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to accommodate the president-elect.