Having heard the two prayers at today’s ceremony, I’m sticking to my guns—no prayer at the presidential inauguration. (See my earlier post on this topic).
The Dallas Morning News' religion blog said Warren’s prayer was “inclusive,” but I don’t see how one vague reference each to Judaism and Islam—and ending the whole thing with the Lord’s Prayer—counts as inclusive. I liked Joseph Lowery's benediction better, but only for reasons of personal taste—far more poetic than Warren—but that little poem at the end with its conclusion, “when white can embrace what is right,” is going to draw fire from certain areas.
That's not to say religion shouldn't continue to make contributions to our society--as in the case of the Civil Rights Movement. But I think it is better for religious groups to be wary of being seen to support a politician, even one such as Barack Obama who has energized so many. From a critical distance, religions can offer a prophetic voice. But that edge can easily be coopted when religious figures or groups connect themselves too closely to political power.