Evangelical Protestant clerics are delivering the invocations at the inauguration of President Barack Obama Tuesday night (noon EST). Rabbis, who have been bumped off the stage since 1989, and Muslim clerics were not given the opportunity to bless the new president, whose campaign revolved around the slogan "change."
President Obama, the first-ever black American president, is being sworn in with the same Bible that egalitarian Abraham Lincoln used in 1861. The invocations top off of several days of parties and ceremonies, costing approximately $150 million.
One million people are braving sub-freezing temperatures to witness the inauguration where, TIME magazine noted, "They'll hear the Queen of Soul sing and Yo-Yo Ma play. They'll listen to hear if Rick Warren gets preachy when he prays. But there's one thing they won't hear: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha'olam," the Hebrew introduction of prayers which declares the Almighty as the Ruler of the world.
The blessings are being delivered by preacher Rick Warren and Afro-American evangelical Rev. Joseph Lowery.
Even liberal Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt did not include a rabbi in his first inaugural in 1937. However, in 1957 Dwight Eisenhower invited reform leader Samuel Thurman to share the podium with Catholic Father Patrick O'Boyle.
John Kennedy also invited a rabbi to state a prayer in 1961, when Catholic Archbishop Edward Mooney delivered the benediction. Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter invited rabbis to say prayers, as did George Bush Sr.
Bill Clinton reversed the trend in 1989, when Rev. Billy Graham was the only cleric on the stage. Outgoing United States President George W. Bush also reserved the inaugural prayers and benedictions for Christians.
Jews were offended by the inauguration benediction for President Bush in 2001, closely identified with the evangelical Christian movement, when Billy Graham's son Franklin prayed in the name of Catholic deities and used the first person plural "we."
TIME writer Amy Sullivan noted that if someone did not agree with the prayer, "There was apparently nothing for you to do but shuffle your feet."
However, most Jews, whose voting pattern showed 78 percent support for President Obama, celebrated the inaugural events. Nine Jewish groups sponsored the major Jewish community inaugural event in Washington, which was not an official inaugural event.
The official events will include rabbis of the three major streams of Judaism, including the National Prayer Service on Wednesday, the day after the inauguration
Personally, I don't care - it's just that one religion got special attention today - and it was disgraceful:
Obama Grovels to the Muslim World During Inaugural Address....
Not only grovels, but "inclusive" to Hamas supporters:
Spencer: Obama selects a Muslim with ties to Hamas to pray at the inauguration
Hope and change - but please notice for whom...