Regardless of who wins a presidential election, the inaugural ceremonies are always interesting. What I was struck by yesterday was the devotional adoration poured out for a man, by those who, I guess, have no other object of devotion. Rulers, kings, and political regimes have always viewed Christians (rightly so) with suspicion because they worship another King and their very core belief and confession is that, “Jesus is Lord.” This was and is a political statement. When we remove the belief in a God who kings and regimes are also under and will answer to one day, we lay the fertile bed for tyranny and totalitarianism because a man, a ruler, can then become god. Do I think such is happening with Obama? No. Perhaps with a few in their deluded giddy minds, but in general Americans worship themselves and the first mistake Obama makes or the first time he calls Americans to account or to sacrifice, they will no doubt begin their usual grumbling. It won’t take long for the bloom to come off this rose.
Rick Warren’s prayer was moving and powerful. It is important to note that regardless of what we say about our supposed secularity, we still ask pastors/priests to pray for our new leaders and nation, a new president is sworn (“So help me God”) in on a Bible, and our new president ended his address with the prayer, “may God bless America.” President Obama’s frank discussions of the importance of his faith in Jesus Christ in the months leading up to the general election was also interesting and will be something to watch.
One indeed did have to be struck by the historical moment. Only about 150 years ago, one could own a slave in America if that person was black. Through the efforts of that other black man whose birthday we just celebrated, the Reverend Martin Luther King, yesterday was possible. Again, the importance of faith and the gospel that drove King’s efforts and gave them wing. Yesterday was possible not because of secularists (they only jumped on the bandwagon created and pulled by King), but because of a pastor and his faith.
But for all those breathless and fawning (this applies to Bush fans too) true believers (I’m reminded of the little girls who would wet themselves upon seeing the Beetles) this might best sum up yesterday’s events.