Tuesday, January 20, 2009

God Stuff at the Inauguration

Pastor Rick Warren: his tripe wasn't as bad as I had come to dread -- no explicit bleating about blastocysts, no comparisons of gay marriage with man-dog couplings -- but it had its flaws. "[W]e know today that Dr. King, and a great cloud of witnesses, are shouting in heaven." Do we know that, Pastor Rick? We know that Dr. King is shouting, of all things? Is it a gleeful sort of shouting, or is it perhaps shouting words to the effect of "don't you dare invoke my name you fat white sack of crap!" And Pastor Rick got very Jesus-y toward the end, mentioning the "one who changed my life -- Yeshua, Isa, Jesús, Jesus." Uh, yea -- George Bush famously said the same dude change his life, too, and look how well that worked out for us.

Reverend Lowry: his benediction was more or less boilerplate groveling, but at least he was engaging; he sounded like he cared about the words coming out of his pie-hole. He convinced me to say "amen" along with him at the end.

Chief Justice Roberts: oddly, he posed the superfluous god chatter as a question -- "so help you god?" -- which I immediately and maybe unfairly took as an expression of doubt about Obama's belief in god and thus as a sop to the FOXNews wingnuts crying in their bags of Fritos over the event.

President Obama: he mentioned "nonbelievers" in his inaugural address, and not for the sake of ostracizing or castigating us! We exist! However ...

NPR's Mara Liasson: in the name of the perfect balance that all beltway gasbags perceive at the root of all things, Liasson saw fit to claim that Obama's mention of nonbelievers was matched by exactly similar utterances made by former President Bush in the past. Really? When did George W. Bush ever speak of nonbelievers as though we exist and belong in this country? I could be wrong, but I don't recall that ever happening.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Rick Warren: I was both amazed and unsurprised at the astounding banality of "Rev" Warren's invocation. Just a bunch of un-passionate words arranged around The Lord's Prayer. He looked like a toddler who somehow got in with the big kids accidentally. I wonder if this was a canny move on the part of the President's team to let that crowd hang itself with its own rope, in the rhetorical way. In the end, everyone will remember what Obama said. Nobody will remember what Paster Whiter-than-everyone-else-I-know said.

Rev Lowry: There's a reason people love black preaching. It got even non-believers to say "Amen". The coda to it, that reached back to civil rights slogans, was note-perfect. It's high time White embraced what was right.

Chief Justice "Bob" Roberts: WTF was that? D'you suppose that, after the ceremony, he got with the other conservative judges and went "yeah! we made him look bad!". Nice way to handle an historic moment, Bob.

The President: Finally in my lifetime a leader whose words really inspire. And he may or may not agree with "non" (and I would say "semi" believers) but he's not going to disrespect them. They're part of the community too. Equal part.

Mara Liasson: There's a reason why the wags call NPR "Nice Polite Republicans".

Dale said...

SJKP, thanks for the comment. Truly, nothing in the ceremony bothered me. There were irksome moments, and as I've made clear, I was not a fan of Pastor Rick going in, so it's not as though he let me down. If anything, I'm slightly disappointed he didn't come out there spewing fire and brimstone on behalf of the angry Yankee Taliban out there. Whatevs.

It would have taken quite a lot more than all this to ruin a day like that one. It's one I'll remember fondly no matter what comes after.

And yes: Lowry really was great. I really liked the guy, admire his work, respect his journey, and love that he got to be there. He moved me.