News broke today that the popular Atlanta preacher Obama had invited to give the benediction at his inauguration, the Rev. Louie Giglio, has bowed out in reaction to the very negative public reaction to his mid-1990s sermon that was harshly critical of homosexuality.
Putting aside the possibility that in the intervening ten or fifteen years the man may have changed his mind, I would like to float the point that just what the hell are we doing with elements of religious ceremonies being used in a Federal government sponsored event? This isn't just sponsored by the Feds, it is the inauguration of the head guy, essentially the CEO (for those of you who only understand plutocratic terms)!
As mentioned in "Inaugural Imbroglio: Controversial Pastor Pulls Out Of Presidential Swearing-In" by
Rob Boston on Talk to Action, there will be a private religious ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral, which is always held in conjunction with the inauguration. Why can't we just do the religious stuff there? What's the matter with you folks, don't you understand what the First Amendment means? (No, not the part about newspapers!)
This a serious issue. These elements are not "traditional" in the sense of having been there since Saint George Washington was sworn in. They were added in the 1930's. Not even a hundred years ago, so don't pull that "traditional" crap on me.
It is past time that a President dumped the religious crap and got serious about Separation of Church and State. What could be a better time than for a second term inauguration? There's no second election to worry about losing, plus that 47% who didn't vote for Obama this time isn't likely to vote for another Democrat in 2016, even if Obama loads up the inauguration with an appearance of the Pope himself! They just won't, so why worry about it?
Do the right thing! Dump the religious drudgery from the schedule, nobody's going to stay awake for it! Long prayers (and public prayers are always long!) just put people to sleep anyway, and believe me, you don't want to put the crowd to sleep and get blamed for dozens of cases of frostbite as a result!
Heck, remember whats-his-name? You know, the President who died after a couple of weeks upon catching cold when he gave an inauguration speech that was an hour and a half long? I'd like to know the casualty figures for that one! Imagine how much worse it would have been if they'd had an hour long prayer on top of that!
Good thing they didn't...