Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Public Prayer at the Inauguration

I have had the opportunity to pray in public forums on many occasions. Not long ago the administration asked me to pray at my daughter's high school graduation. This was the second time, two years earlier I did the same thing for my son's graduation. I was told that there would be those in the auditorium that do not believe, so "be sensitive."

My thinking at the time and and now is that I am a Christian pastor, and they have asked a Christian to pray. So I prayed to the Loving God, and I prayed in the name of the one who died on the cross for me.
I will never be called on to pray for a president's inauguration. I am glad the Baptist pastor Rick Warren has been. He has been criticized because our new president is blatantly pro-choice. We are Biblically commanded to
 pray for our leaders - and my hope is that Rick will be like Mother Teresa when she spoke at the President's Prayer Breakfast years ago, standing right beside pro-death/abortion president Bill Clinton. She boldly called the country and him to repentance for his stand against life. Ask Mother Teresa to speak and she spoke the truth. So pray for Pastor Rick.

Here is her speech from 1994. Here specifically is what she said about abortion.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against
the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we
 must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.

And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

She ended the speech with:
If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world.

From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!

Recently,  according to the NY Times, president elect Obama has also asked the gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson to pray at the kick-off event before the actual inauguration.  I am sure it will be more "air time" than Pastor Rick's prayer. Here is what he said about his opportunity to pray.

I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation.

–Gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, explaining how he will approach the task of praying at one of next week’s presidential inaugural events.

In recent years, and especially during the inaugurations of President George W. Bush, ministers gave explicitly Christian prayers. Bishop Robinson said he had been rereading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

Bishop Robinson said, “I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

He said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language he said he learned from the 12-step program he has attended for his alcohol addiction.

And this is from The Living Church:

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has accepted an invitation to offer a prayer at a Jan. 18 inaugural event to welcome the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.  Bishop Robinson said he has not yet composed the prayer he will offer, but said he will not use a Bible.  “While that is a holy and sacred text to me,” he said, “it is not for many Americans. I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation. It won’t a happy clappy prayer.”

My last word - pray for our leaders to the God who will answer!

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