So when I read sometime last week that Bishop Robinson was going to give a speech
at the presidential inaugural festivities, I figured it would be a good subject to discuss in Sunday school. I gathered a bit of biographical info, since I figured some of my students wouldn't even know who the guy was.
Did you know the famous Bishop is the son of tobacco sharecroppers from Kentucky? The family had no running water in their home until Robinson was ten. (Tangent: Neither did my mom!) Bishop Robinson also racked up thirteen years of perfect Sunday school attendance--pretty impressive!
To me, the controversy was not about Bishop Robinson's sexual orientation, but rather his decision to offer a non-sectarian prayer. "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation."
This has always bothered me. I'd honestly rather have no prayers at public events, rather than clerics invoking Nicholas Von Hoffman's 'mush god'. If a Christian can't pray in the name of Jesus, then really what's the point? It almost seems as if a Christian is expected to be embarrassed to invoke their Lord's name.
Apparently Islam, Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, and Judaism will also be represented during President Obama's inaugural celebrations. This is a good thing, as far as it goes. I hope the rest of these religious leaders will feel free to offer prayers that are true to their beliefs, however controversial those tenets might be. I'm pretty sure Rick Warren won't water down his prayer; he'll catch hell from his Evangelical flock if he does!
I'm afraid praying to Allah is probably an even bigger public no-no than praying to Jesus.
I'd like to see other faith groups represented, not just the Abrahamic religions. After all, the 'whole nation' has a whole lot of religious diversity. Maybe President Obama will invite clerics of other religions to offer prayers at future events--real prayers that don't try to conceal their beliefs.
Either that, or stop including prayers in our public ceremonies altogether.
Ironically, HBO bought the rights to broadcast the concert that Bishop Robinson opened in prayer. So that 'prayer for the whole nation' turned out to be a prayer only for those who subscribe to HBO.
Except not, because HBO didn't deem it worthy of broadcast.
Maybe if the Bish had prayed in Jesus' name it would have been racy enough for Home Box Office.
Tags: church, rant