20 January 2009

A godless prayer for USA Presidential Inauguration

My version of the godless prayer. It is based on The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. via Contextual Criticism

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to reflect upon our nation and our next president.

O Goodness, O our many understandings, we wish that we will…

Care with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Fight with anger – against discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Debate with discomfort – against the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Ponder with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Act with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Treat other with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Embrace others with compassion and generosity – remembering that we judge ourselves by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And thank Goodness, for we have elected Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Let us wish him wisdom beyond his years, and be inspired by Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Wish him to have a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Moved by him as he speaks stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Encourage him to be color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Remind him his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Grant him and support him to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, for goodness sake, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, however since we have elected him, O goodness and great American Constitution, to keep him safe. Mr President, be reassure that the American people are behind you – that you might do the work we have called you to do, that you might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, you might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


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