Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

If I Were Invited to Offer the Inaugral Prayer

So when Rick Warren or some other religious figure offers a public prayer, what does it mean? Isn't the whole notion really kind of silly? I read Franklin Graham's prayer at Bush's inauguration. It is mostly superstition. As we have been discovering, Warren, like Graham, have objectionable views and have actively worked against basic freedoms and rights for American citizens.

Their actions against sexual and gender minorities, science, reproductive choice and so forth are connected with their superstition. Which comes first: religious superstition or ignorance? Hard to know, but they do feed off each other.

My real objection to the whole thing is the mixing of religious superstition with public ceremonies. Is the nation well-served by a bunch of preachers parading about at national events?

The political reality is that our nation is made up of superstitious people whose superstition compels them to foist it on others. We will have to live with this for some time to come. Perhaps having to endure the dangerous superstition of Warren will wake us up to the danger of superstition itself.

If Obama had done the right thing and invited me to give the invocation, here is what I would have said:

I offer no prayer to any deity. Those who wish to pray may do so on their own. Instead, I invite us to celebrate and to contemplate the virtues of reason, justice, equality, and compassion that are available to all human beings.

The challenges we face are immense.

May we put away selfishness, greed, and short-sightedness.

May we work together against all forms of tyranny.

May we seek as our highest and our common goal the well-being of future generations.

May we work as tirelessly for the rights of others as for our own.

May we find a way to live within our means, with one another, with our non-human relatives, and with Earth.

And may we discover the courage, intelligence, imagination, and compassion available within us and among us to face the great work that lies ahead.