ABC News reports that Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor who faced criticism for his anti-gay views in the weeks leading up to the inauguration, today delivered an inclusive but deeply religious invocation that celebrated the first African-American president.
"As we face these difficult days, give us clarity and responsibility for our actions and humility in our approach and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ," said Warren, perhaps referring to the ongoing disagreements about who should lead the nation in the symbolic moment of prayer.
He also urged Americans to "seek the common good for all" for a "more prosperous nation and peaceful planet."
"We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha into your loving care, in the name of one who changed my life & Jesus," he said, ending with the Lord's Prayer, the bedrock of Christian worship.
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The Atlantic reports some of Rick Warren's prayer:
Today, we rejoice not only in America;'s peaceful transfer of power; we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States. We are so grateful!....We know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven! Give to the new president Barack Obama the wisdom to lead us with humility; the compassion to lead us with generosity; bless and protect him..."
The New York Times live blog reports on Rick Warren giving the invocation.
The audience was silent. Heads were bowed. Most eyes looked closed. He was the most, if not the only, controversial person on the platform for his work against same-sex marriage. He invoked the name of Dr. King, and he invoked the name of Jesus as well, as he lead into the Lord’s Prayer.