Wed, 21 Jan 2009 01:51:27 +0000 – Pastor Rick Warren's invocation was probably the most Christian prayer delivered in recent inaugural history. Not only did he pray in Jesus' name, he also recited "The Lord's Prayer", the prayer Jesus taught his disciples.
The one thing this certainly shows is that Pastor Warren does not shrink from conflict or controversy. He had been blasted by liberals over his rejection of gay marriage and support for California's Proposition 8. And President Barack Obama was heavily criticized for asking Warren to give the invocation.
Pastor Warren declined all interviews before the inauguration, saying there were too many requests to accommodate them, and that his prayer would speak for itself. Did it ever.
And by "spreading" it that means living it as well as preaching it. Every prayer I've heard him offer always ends in homage to Jesus Christ.
Linda Douglass, spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said that none of the clergy involved in any of the inaugural events were told what the content of their prayers should or should not be. They were never asked to water down the religion or make the prayers more generic or ecumenical. So it couldn't have been a surprise that Pastor Warren would be forthcoming and direct.
There had been much discussion in the blogosphere and elsewhere in the media after Warren was selected to deliver the invocation, about whether he would pray "in Jesus' name." In 2001, at President George W. Bush's inauguration, Rev. Franklin Graham did offer his invocation in Jesus' name, as did Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell in the benediction. Both preachers were rebuked by Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, who said that it "excluded tens of millions of American Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, Unitarians, agnostics and atheists from his blessing."
Pastor Warren declined all interviews before the inauguration, saying there were too many requests to accommodate them, and that his prayer would speak for itself. Did it ever. If there had been any doubt about to whom he would pray, he repeated the name of Jesus in Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish:
"I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life --Yeshuah, Isa, Jesus..."
If that didn't make the point, he then recited the Christian prayer found in the New Testament books of Matthew (6: 9-13) and Luke (11: 2-4):
"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."
Pastor Warren would only say before the inauguration that he would pray the only way he knew how as an evangelical minister. That alone should have been a clue.
I expect there'll be plenty of criticism, adding to an already full plate.
Lauren Green currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief religion correspondent based in the New York bureau. She joined FNC in 1996. Her new book is "Lighthouse Faith: God as a Living Reality in a World Immersed in Fog."