Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Rick Warren’s Invocation

posted by kstormer

Let Us Pray:
Almighty God, Our Father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of You alone. It all comes from You, it all belongs to You, it all exists for Your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one’ and You are the compassionate and merciful one and You are loving to everyone You have made.
Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African Immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.
Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes–even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations, and all people will stand accountable before You. We now commit our new president and his wife Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life–Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus–who taught us to pray:
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.



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L. Bowman

posted January 20, 2009 at 3:19 pm


Rick Warren blew it.
He was given an opportunity to be included and acknowledged as an Evangelical Protestant Christian to offer a prayer to God on behalf of the people of the United States, a country that consists of believers of many faiths and non-believers, upon the inauguration of a new government. The United States government is constitutional secular and non-sectarian, favoring no faith over another.
Warren, however, prayed the Lord’s Prayer, the central New Testament prayer of Christianity, uttered by Jesus. He forced his listeners at that point to either join him or step out of the inaugural program. He introduced this prayer by referring to “Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus” as the God to whom he was praying and that this Jesus is the one to whom “one day, all nations, and all people will stand accountable.”
No, Rick, I don’t think so. I think your beliefs are hogwash, but I’d have the decency not to imply this in the midst of a national inauguration. I really would.
Warren reinforced the stereotype that Evangelical Christians just want to stuff their faith down everyone else’s throat, that they are unwilling to consider themselves part of the religious mix of America, that they see themselves rather as the members of the Truth and if you aren’t on board the only other ride is to hell.
This was totally out of step with the nature, tone and message of the entire rest of the service. I suspect that Obama was embarrassed and chagrined by the prayer and now understands why people were so upset at the selection of this popular pastor who is apparently the same firebrand as all the others that keep placing themselves on the national stage. Obama is responsible for this pick, though; the responsibility lies with him. As one person said to me, Warren was just being who he was.
The problem is, however, that Evangelical Christians such as Warren still don’t know how to talk or interact outside of their own ilk. They don’t know how to share the sand box. They think it is there sand box and the rest of us are just pretending to be there.



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Minnaar

posted January 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm


L Bowman above is imposing his minority religious, or anti religious feelings onto an America that is predominantly believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, not acknowledging the fact that his views are those of a tiny but very vocal minority.
Mr Bowman, it is impossible for a Christian not to pray to Christ…wake up and smell the roses! It is also impossible for a Christian not to be grateful for what Christ has done in his or her life and it is impossible for a Christian not to acknowledge God and Jesus, the Creator God, in history and destiny… That’s that…anything less would not be Christian..
Live with it pal, no one forces you to accept it.. and no one wants to shove it down your throat.. it’s just the way it is..



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RJohnson

posted January 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm


Minnaar: “Live with it pal, no one forces you to accept it.. and no one wants to shove it down your throat.. it’s just the way it is..”
I wonder…would you be as accepting had the invocation been given by a Muslim Imam, Jewish Rabbi, Wiccan Priest, or Humanist Celebrant?



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Minnaar

posted January 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm


I’m South African, so I probably wouldn’t have bothered airing my view, but It would have struck me as very odd and peculiar, that a country with a 76% Christian population tolerates such small insignificant minorities to impose their religious rhetoric on such a great majority…..



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Scott R.

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm


We’re hardly insignificant (Jews) and we are by far not the only minority.
The beauty of our nation is that ALL are included as equals. therefore, exclusively Xian prayers exclude us.
Live with it pal.



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Minnaar

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm


Scot R, I can live with that, because we Christians know that our Prayers to the Jew, Jesus, does impact you and does have a lot of significance to you and does definitely not exclude you, but has great significance to all mankind.



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Jae Jun

posted January 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm


FYI, as a Christian, it IS our duty to pray for Israel.



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Harry Haller

posted January 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm


“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. Fo they think that they will be heard for their many words.
“Therefore, do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask him.
Matthew 6:5-8 (The part Rick Warren didn’t read before he recited the Lord’s Prayer.)
Warren characterizes himself as America’s Pastor. He isn’t mine.



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Your Name

posted January 20, 2009 at 9:34 pm


Dear Harry, I am not a BIG fan of Rick Warren. You are being unfair to try to compare Ricks prayer to what the Lord is saying here.
Matt 6:5-8 was about humbley going before the throne of God.
Rick was asked to VOICE his prayer for our President, Rick did just that, AND IT WAS THE WAY JESUS TAUGHT US TO PRAY!!!!!



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Gary

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm


We all need to stand together as one nation to get through these times. I am Jewish, but accept anyone at my table to eat bread. Let us take a moment to see how we can all help each other, no matter what color or faith.



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madgebaby

posted January 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm


Was this a prayer, or a sermon? I sort of lost track. He had wierd intonation, too.
I wish Obama had picked someone less inflammatory, less hateful about gay and lesbian people, and someone who doesn’t think that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together. The content of this prayer was decent, however.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 2:42 am


Wait!is what I’m reading in these posts from my brothers? What about “judge not”. It is amazing to me how we are so divided when we are called to love, justice, and foregiveness. Rick’s prayer was a prayer..simple. I don’t know him personally and don’t know much about him,maybe thats a good thing because I’m not judging him for what I know he did just for a good prayer..



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Mark

posted January 21, 2009 at 11:17 am


The prayer was great. It is easy for people to be overly critical. I think Jesus wants more from us than a overly critical spirit. His prayer was honest, sincere, biblical and humble. Most of us would completely blow an opportunity like that. He handled it very well.



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PL'Oh

posted January 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm


L. Bowman, your assumption that all religions worship the same God is incorrect. Christian and Jews worship the same God Almighty. However, Islam, Buddhist and other religions, don’t. Minnaar is biblically and historically correct. And, it is who we are, Christians. We cannot acknowledge any other God. For our God is a jealous God and there shall be no other gods before us. It is noteworthy that a South African knows more about us than many who hail from the U.S.



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L. Bowman

posted January 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm


And therein lies the problem, PL’Oh. You can not enter into the public square and engage others unless you are willing to do so in an humble spirit, willing to consider that you are only grasping for the truth, rather than assuming you have a full purchase upon it.
It is this religious hegemony that causes the suffering due to religious strife throughout our planet and why the founders of our country wisely created a secular state which does not grant your god and your religious practice any preference or consideration. You are free to worship on your own with others of your own persuasion but upon entrance into the public square you must deal in a secular fashion. You can quote the Bible and your claims to truth all you like, but it must be an argument which is intellectually persuasive, not one based upon revealed or received truth.
BTW, I know quite a bit “about you.” I grew up a Christian, son of a pastor, attended Christian college, very sincere Christian. I realized in time that Christianity is a path but not a path for me.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm


This is not a problem. This country was built on Christian principles; it’s in our laws. The only problem I see is that you are trying to change our country’s values and beliefs to suite you. Attending Christian college doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than me standing in a meat shop makes me a ham. Chrisitanity by in large don’t cause people to suffer. Our God is giving, kind and long suffering. Your perceived suffering is your own mental state. Faith is not intellect. Another error on your part is your intellectualizing Christianity, which is why the college was of no value to you. You will never understand Chrisitianity and I know that us writing back and forth won’t change you or your intellect on the subject. If you really want the “truth” about God, it is very simple. Just ask Him to show you. Are you bold enough?



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Lynn Willis

posted January 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm


Rick Warren’s prayer was inappropriate for the occassion. I got the impression that he was using it as an opportunity for evangelism.



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Your Name

posted January 21, 2009 at 7:10 pm


If we rely on intellect to analyze this situation, how does
anyone expect a Rev to omit God from any sermons?
Or SILENCE SPEECH of words that are inherently meant to be
lifted by the highest of voices, and a consequential embraced
freely by a Judeo Christian Nation..
Are you really suppose to contain something that is meant to be free?
I have no problem with Buddha looking out for China,
or if Zeus protects Greece. Over here Bowan, GOD Bless America!
Take care M.Dmon



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different paths

posted January 21, 2009 at 11:15 pm


To those who believe that we are not worshipping the same God if we are different religions, that is only your belief. There is no proof of that. We can’t prove anything from religion. We can only believe it (or not, which is a valid choice as well).
And in my non-Christian religious tradition, I believe that all major religions do worship the same God. And you cannot prove me wrong on that, either. I believe Christianity can be a great religion, and I know great Christians. As can Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and all others. But I don’t believe that those people who treat me as lesser than them (because they proclaim to somehow know that I am not going to heaven because I am not one of them) are practicing the best side of their religion, whatever it may be. Those people are acting divisive, not unifying, which surely is not the intention of God for any religion.



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Your Name

posted January 22, 2009 at 6:38 am


A tradition, habit or relatively new positive endorsement of such an important democratic institutional change / reinstatement of the presidency has /is provided benediction(s). If securalist or religious is not as important as inclusively acknowledging the moment positively. Either side competing can be divisionist or inclusive depending on your perspective. I reverently accept we are spiritually equal.



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PL'Oh

posted January 22, 2009 at 8:25 am


Different Paths.
What I wrote is not “my” belief. It is apparent that you have never studied the different religions to note that these gods are not the same. Some worship cows as their god. Are you then saying that my God, God Almighty, is a cow also. Buddah is not God Almighty nor Jesus. Buddah’s bones lie in his tomb; so does Mohammad. So how do you arrive at your conclusion then?



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Gena

posted January 23, 2009 at 8:23 am


The benediction was wonderful, and as a Catholic, I have to say it was nice to see the words in our hearts spoken by another with the same passion for equal justice for all and greatest faith in God.



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Get Jesus Out Of My Government!

posted January 26, 2009 at 12:15 am


I have no problem with Rick Warren praying in the name of Jesus (or Yeshua, or whatever). I have no problem with anyone else praying to whomever they want, either. I *DO*, however, have a problem with having a violation of the US Constitution at the presidential inauguration. America was founded on the principle of Separation of Church and State. A great many of our ancestors came to this land seeking religious freedom. But that freedom will never truly be complete as long as the government continues to endorse one specific religion, for in doing so it automatically marginalizes and oppresses all those who do not subscribe to that religion. What an ironic contradiction, to follow Obama’s inclusive inaugural address (he even mentioned non-believers!) with such an explicit reminder that this country is still ruled by followers of Jesus, leaving the non-Christian minority uncomfortable, wary, and left out.



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PL'Oh

posted January 26, 2009 at 9:55 am


Well, you have it backward.
“Get government out of my Jesus” was the part of the 1st amendment you chose to forget — prohibiting the free-exercise thereof in public. Thomas Jefferson writes: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their “legislature” should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
And the saga goes on —



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