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January 20, 2009

Inaugural Benediction Draws Laughter

The end of Joseph Lowery's prayer drew laughter across the mall: "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

I'm looking for the final transcript, but here's a YouTube video:

Update: Here's the transcript

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand -- true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you're able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around -- (laughter) -- when yellow will be mellow -- (laughter) -- when the red man can get ahead, man -- (laughter) -- and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

Audience: Amen!

Lowery: Say amen

Audience:: Amen!

Lowery: and amen.

Audience: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

Comments

I lit

I literally wept when I heard this prayer. Nothing against Rick Warren, but his prayer was so stilted, so contrived. I think the pressure of the critcism got to him. I applaud Obama for making the choice, though. What an historic day!

Luther Seminary professor Christian Scharen notes about the 87 year old Lowery's prayer:
"I cried as he began with the powerful words of the great hymn Lift Every Voice and Sing. I laughed as he ended with the corney 1970s rhymn about not keeping brown down, yellow being mellow and white doing right."

http://faithasawayoflife.typepad.com/blog/2009/01/reactions-to-the-inauguration-they-all-cried.html

what a racist...

I find it unusual to be offended by a prayer, but this one did it. The closing paragraph and the closing line were truly offensive. The lack of class among those on the left is unbelievable. You can sometimes understand "Poor Losers" but how can you understand "Poor Winners".

Perhaps it was just a continuation of lack of class shown by the people who booed and mocked President Bush when he entered the platform.

I pray that President Obama is a good President and that he leads the nation in the right way. That does not mean that I will agree with whatever he does. But I does mean that I hope anytime he implements a policy that it is the best for the country weather or not I agreed with it. I want the best for our country and I hope he provides it.

I felt this was a wonderful benediction, until Rev. Lowery spoke the last paragraph. As a Caucasian in a mixed race marriage for over 18 years, I was very insulted by the all inclusive statement regarding the white race. "we ask you to help us work for that day / when white will embrace what is right." This is a statement of future tense, meaning according to Rev. Lowery, that Caucasians in general have not, nor currently do embrace what is right. Although I believe Rev. Lowery has a right to feel and speak as he feels, I do not believe such a statement has a place or should have been included in the inaugural benediction. With this last paragraph, Rev. Lowery not only managed to mar a wonderful benediction, but also mar a defining moment in history.

This was what we needed, a prophetic blessing that calls everyone to action, especially those of us who have power to make a difference.

Well said Brother Lowery. Amen.

This indeed was the highlight of the inaugural!

WHERE DOES OBAMA FIND ALL THESE RACIST SO CALLED REVERENDS?

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day
Black will not be asked to get in back;
When Brown can stick around;
When Yellow will be mellow;
When the Red Man can get ahead, man;
And when White will embrace what is right.
That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen'..."
OBAMA IS THIS ALSO YOUR OPINION OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS?

It has become quickly evident that those who offered their "prayers" today at Obama's inaugeration forgot that from Jesus' instruction on prayer, prayer is only for Divine consumption and not human consumption. In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:5-8, He gives us instructions that when we pray, we are to go into our closet, or inner room, and shut the door, and pray to our Father who is in secret...".

What did we experience today? Ministers, each creating their "prayer", to be delivered to millions of people in attendance, and around the globe, rather than to Jehovah God; words couched in the form of prayer, but actually words to tickle the ears of the audience; words to be debated and argued over, so that those who heard could give a 'thumbs up', or a 'thumbs down' on the prayers. Is it possible that what we actually witnessed today was the taking of God's name in vain in an attempt to deliver a politically correct speech in the form of a prayer???

Just food for thought!

Bill Simpson
San Antonio, Texas

Part of the lyrics in the opening paragraph is incorrect, or at least different from later in the article.

On top it says "give" back.
In body it says "get" back.

I heard (and reason) "get" (to the) back.

I also was in tears as he drew from MLK's deep sermon/speech legacy and his own well of experience... the reference to "the mountaintop"... the "difficult days ahead" (both from King's last speech)... the "justice roll down" quote from Amos 5:24... the whirlwind reference... the creative use of opposites as in "high office at a low moment"... similarly "to turn to each other and not on each other"... the quotes from Micah 4:3-4 (parallel quote in Isaiah 2:4)... the quote from "For All The Saints"... the petition for forgiveness for our greed...the reference to Matthew 25:31-46 "the least of these"... Micah 6:8. and the US constitution and the last stanza of "Lift Every Voice And Sing" which was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

And then he began the rhyme "when black will not be asked to get in back..." and IMHO lost it until the Amens.

And what nugget did the news media pick to replay from this speech? You guessed it... the rhyme.

(sigh)

Such a rich choice of quotes from the bible and King's legacy. I pray these words may stir the hearts of all who hear or read them (and may they forget the rhyme.) May they kindle within a thirst for the hearing of God's Word. And may the Church be bold enough to preach it.

Amen.

(written by a Canadian WASP who counts Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as one of his great spiritual mentors)

I think the color rhyme is a reference to this blues song from the pre-civil rights era: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZLw5ahxm-Q

My small-person detector is going off. Lot's of them in this room here.

What a brilliant speech! That final paragraph the small people are
having trouble with. That's the one Jesus would have spoken.

And you know it.

I was unfortunately not surprised to hear his satisfaction that God is being sought in churches, temples and Mosques. People are certainly free to try and find a god in a mosque, but they won't find the God of historic Christianity.

I was very disappointed in his benediction

I cried during neither prayers. Neither was I offended, although Lowery's rhyme-thing there was a bit contrived and juvenile.

RE: Closing fake prayer
That was not a prayer that was his personal speech. And a racist one at that. That minister should hang his head in shame right now for ruining what could have been a time of uniting people. His heart is hard and there is no reason to criticize people in a prayer to our God. That type of minister is what real Christians call "Dangers Christians". Better off to be a non-believer. If Obama knew the contents of his fake prayer he should also be shamed. Unbelievable. I am highly offended and embarrassed for all Christians.
Did that minister even know what year it is????

His statement about whites was racist.

I am from Thai descent, call me yellow, you are going to get punched. I did not like the racial slurs of this so called benediction.

I think it's "get" back. Thanks to F. Harrison for posting the YouTube blues song. In that song,

if you're white, you're right
if you're brown, stick around
if you're black, get back

(or something like that)

I personally found the benediction a true "good word." As a white person, I didn't take any offense. Just like most (but not all) African Americans are not told to "get back", most (but not all) whites embrace what is right (in terms of race).

I guess I took it as a poetic license to discuss racial equality, and did so in a way that used language from pop culture of the black community.

Better that than a prayer to the "God of our many understandings"

I love that those of us who were offended by Rev. Lowery's racism at the end of his benediction are considered "small people" according to qmc. It's nice to know that Jesus would have said the same thing. Thanks qmc for telling me what I should already know.

HOW SAD THAT A MAN WOULD CALL HIMSELF A CHRISTIAN AND UTTER SUCH BIGGOTED ,SARDID ,SHAMEFUL ,
HATEFILLED SPEECH AND CALL IT PRAYER .ANY THREE YEAR OLD COULD SEE HE WAS TALKING TO MAN AND NOT GOD .I SUPPOSE HIS PRAYER MADE ABOUT AS MUCH SENCE AS THE SODOMITE ROBERTSON .

The benediction was...interesting to say the least. President Obama certainly knows some...interesting ministers. Honestly, it was like a sitcom moment.

I googled part of the "black will not be asked to get in back" but found nothing other than references to Lowery's speech.

Thanks to another post I have now found Lowery was making reference to the chorus of an old Big Bill Broonzy song titled "Black, Brown & White". Broonzy's song complained about how being black meant that he was always discriminated against. "What you gonna do about old Jim Crow?" was one of the lines. Lowery in paraphrasing it was showing how far we had come since Broonzy wrote the song - but the lines regarding red and yellow were not part of the original song.

King's dream was that no one would be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. Hence Lowery's inclusion of the song fell far short of King's dream, despite his intentions. But it did elicit laughter from the crowd so perhaps they were familiar with the song. I wasn't, and took offense at it - now I know a little more about it and can see what he was trying to accomplish.

BTW if we were to eliminate reference to skin colour from popular music one of the first to go would have to be John & Yoko's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" since it refers to "the yellow and red ones".


Another racist preacher.

Probably, as a Pastor and Hospice Chaplain, the best prayer I have heard in a long time that contains the seeds of healing in it.
I've read enough blogs, posts, etc., to know that there are, indeed some people one can never, ever, please because they don't know what THEY, THEMSELVES, want. Until that happens, nothing will please the naysayers!
Rev. Lowery, you are, and were, inspired by God. Don't worry about the negative people...they don't listen to God or the Holy Spirit either. With that in mind, what could one expect?!
Blessings, Peace, Joy, Hope
GMMelby, Pastor/Chaplain (Dak!)

It's obviously that you're not Black. this is an old saying in the Black community that originally went this way: if you're black, get back, if you're brown stick around, if you're yellow and you're white you're alright. What Rev. Lowery was doing as he has in the past is make fun of how we divide people up by their color. The white referred to is not "white people" but blacks who looked white. Remember we live in a nation that says if you have one drop of black blood you are black. Interestly, no one including the so-called non-racists objected to President Obama being called the first black president. I'm a black woman who stayed around for the crack in the wall. His election is just a small change. The church has a long way to go.

Wow guys, I'm surprised at the offense taken in these comments. I'm white American, didn't vote for Obama over abortion & gay marriage, but this prayer will be remembered as a high point, especially the rhyme! And since when are prayers only private to God?

Rev. Lowery's use of the chant was a fitting end to his Benediction. The original rhyme was a rope skipping chant that young girls on the south side of Chicago used for sidewalk rope skipping. As best as I can remember, it went like this:

If you're White, you're alright
If you're Brown stick around.
But, if you're Black, oh brother,
Get back, get back, get back.

"Big Bill" Bronzy (I'm not sure of the spelling) used this chant for the chorus to a song he wrote, containing several verses, about the Black experience, prior to the civil rights era. Rev. Lowery's reversal of the lines of the chant is brilliant, on this historic occasion.

I am male, white, 61 yrs old and was moved to teers byI was moved to tears by the passion, power and poignancy of the prayer. I pray with Pastor Lowery I as one long time evangelical pastor will do what is right and never sit silently while racism flourishes around me.

I did what was wrong by doing little or nothing to change the racism in our church culture in the 70’s. I was a part of the “Christian” school movement which flourished in the South because the Supreme Court required integration in public schools.

As someone in the white majority I feel deep shame for participating in the wrong we did in the name of Christ in those days. May being a part something like the so called “Moral Majority” never again help seduce me into being blind about being an immoral white racist.

The prayer was what I expected, buy the last few lines about race were on the offensive side. So much for President Obama's bringing people together.

None of the prayers said were what Jesus would have said as he said only one prayer, the Lord's Prayer.
These "prayers" were political. The media, the prayers, the speeches, etc. all had little sneaky inuendos if you listenend very closely. For ex: since when is O'bama African-American or any other citizen born in the USA an African-American. And, what happened to his Mother, I believe she was white so why is everybody referring to him as A.A. I don't refer to myself as anything other than American yet that's the only term the media seems to be able to use. Such racism usage in the media and very much by the O'Bama's followers nobody seems to notice. It was a very good technique to get him elected. Lets be more atune to the language being used by the Media and by certain segments of this society. We right now are telling the world what the enemy is telling the world which is that our country which gives more freedom to everybody than any other country is NOT THE great democracy which the world needs to emulate. We are saying we need to "change" to be like the truly ugly societies including those in Africa and the Middle East. We need to be careful what we say to the world when we yell racism, change, capitalism is bad, greed, etc., to define the one country that is the freest in the world. It draws peoople to it not away from it like our enemies want everyone to believe. That's what we need to be saying and not these sneaky political words. We just might end up paying for all this political crap.

Lighten up, fundies! God is laughing and that is all that matters.

I LOVED his little rhyme! Why did everyone take offense so much? I smiled warmly (as I later saw on news footage that President Obama did too) during thos silly words which were meant to be clever and ligh hearted and to put a smile on folks faces while making them realize that we still have a ways to go with equality. BTW, I'm caucasion. I think Pres. Obama made a good choice in having Joseph Lowery give his blessings. Amen. Amen. Amen!

As a long time "haole" from Hawaii, I was inspired by the reverend's words and laughed at the last lines. Here in Hawaii we don't take our ethnicity or race too seriously. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves, not take ourselves too seriously. Amen and amen.

My question for Bro. Lowery concerns all the white folk who voted for Obama. Did they embrace right? What about those who did not vote for Obama. Was Lowery suggesting they embraced something else, like racism. Out of respect for Obama as a man and what he stands for, I did not vote for him. Out of conviction about what is right, I refused to vote for him. But, according to Lowery, in that decision and all others, I am not embracing right. All the while, I thought Obama's election heralded the official death of racism. Lowery attempts to perpetuate racism. He should know better.

Are these comments from Christians????? Seems to me they better take some tie to read their Bibles. I guess it is human nature to not want to be called for your mistakes, but in my opinion (and I am white) white has seldom been right and the blacks have had to get back and pity the poor red man - they were all but exterminated - gee, by whites, oh
my!!

"These "prayers" were political." ????

All prayer is political since our appeal is to the One to Whom all authority and power has been given.
We are asking Him to intervene in our world, over and against the man-made political, social, and economic structures. That these structures have tried to co-opt God for their own purposes is nothing new. God laughs in derision at their efforts. (Psalm 2:4)

"Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done." is the most subversive prayer one can say as it rejects the authority of any and every man-made political system, in favour of the One true Lord and King.

I don't believe God laughs over racist, hateful prayers. Let's be honest, a large part of racism, hatred and refusal to leave the 60's mentality in this great nation by the blacks is because of the bitterness and vileness coming from those in the pulpits in the black churches.

If anything, this election is a step back, certainly not forward.

BTW, did Lowery comment on infanticide in his political prayer? I must have missed it.

As an African-American I didn't like the ending of the prayer. It ended in flesh and not spirit. But just the same, as I read these blogs calling this man a racist and feeling insulted simply due to his mear words; can you imagine what ALL minorities had to endure and suffer through not only with words, but with deeds and actions that literally cost them their lives for over a decade! Your FEELINGS were hurt due to mear words, when minorities and immigrants who literally have died over more than mear WORDS! Minorities and immigrants who were MORE than inclusive in BUILTING this country (including the white house) from the ground up! Thank God only your feelings are hurt and you are not being HANGED for it! Whether we voted for this man or not, can we just work together in UNITY! Can we please?!

Anna, Jesus prayed many times and not just the Lord's prayer. He got up early in the morning to pray when nobody else was up. He prayed agonizing prayers in Gethsemane. He prayed on the cross for his enemies. He prayed over people for healing. He also prayed for us that we would be one as he and his father were one. That one is kind of sad given some of the comments posted here.

Statements that villify 'whites' as a class of people do not promote diversity, and are NOT good PR.

Take out the 'white=evil' message created by the implication that 'whites continue to embrace wrong' resulting from the phrase "when white will embrace what is right" and you've got a totally different rhetoric.

The fact that it is poetic form, and not simply some off-the-cuff comment tossed in shows that, this speaker gave considerable thought to making this statement and to precisely how it was crafted. In short, the message that 'white=evil' is in my view not a coincidental one but a quite intentional one.

There are definitely racist people in America, and people who, whether they are conscious of it or not, suffer from a variety of biased or prejudicial thinking. I hypothesize that one's so-called 'racial identity' exhibits virtually zero association with their degree of racism or other forms of social-identity bias.

Indeed, I am afraid to say that, because of the continuation of resentful, and vindictive if not hateful philosophies of racial conflict (e.g., Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan) and the insinuation, if not mainstreamization of ideas from these philosophies into everyday contemporary American culture (particularly African American pop cultures), the degree of association between 'race' and 'racism' seems to be as likely to be associated with 'black' identity as it is with 'white' identity.

A lot of us 'whites' already embraced what is 'right' in our view, and we are alienated, and indeed disappointed when African American rhetoric falses attributes us with bias, racism or 'wrong' simply because we are 'white' in their eyes.

Or perhaps some of these folks think they know our minds, our behavior, and our lifes better than we know our own, simply because they are 'black' and they got us 'whites' all figured out? Now if that is not a reversal of bias portraying itself as the correction/removal of bias, I don't know what is.

I voted for the man, I have high hopes that he will do a lot of good, and I would LIKE to believe in him. But if this is the sort of thing that will be tolerated in Obamaland I cannot say I am impressed whatsoever. I guess I should not be surprised given his 20 years in Wright's church.

Implying that all whities are racists is simply not implying something that is likely to be empirically true, much less socially progressive and useful.

In all honesty, it offends me when someone just calls me WHITE, much less that they infer that I am a racist based on their perception of my belonging in some particular social category that they erroneously and ignorantly think is validly labeled 'race.'

I am of mixed ancestry, and I am from a disadvantaged background; I would say at least as disadvantaged as our 'black' President. But by virtue of labeling me white and him black, I am automatically placed stereotypically into a historically dominant, more powerful, oppressive social group, which I would tell is simply not the case.

I look down at my arm . . . I see no white here! Beige, tan, pink, even some greenish in the veins . . . "WHITE" is simply a useless term, just as is "BLACK" "YELLOW" "RED," and all the other nonsensical terms to divide humanity into racial clumps.

We should be working to ELIMINATE these concepts from our minds, and from life on Earth. We are all HUMANS, PEOPLE, PERSONS, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, NEIGHBORS, etc. When we automatically think of one another, talk to one another, and refer to one another with these non-segmentary conceptions of joint membership instead of those tired and frankly evil racial typologies, THEN we will be making real progress toward the world that Dr. King and others dreamed about.

I have no doubt that Lowery was a hero in his day, and fought the good fight for Civil Rights. But the Civil Rights movement is over, we are in a new phase of the evolution of true liberty and equality in our society, and to burden ourselves with unnecessary references, and false attributions to past divisions among us is simply not helpful.

Very bad idea to have Lowery give your benediction Bama, or at least very bad idea not to have a look over his speech before you let him say it. But then, you did smile when he said it, so maybe you agree with the idea that you and I really are different because you are 'black' and I am 'white' and that those labels really do adequately describe our life experiences, our views, and our predispositions.

Given your membership in Wright's church for so long, I really do fear that this is what you believe, and I fear for what this means for our nation and the world, not to mention for your safety and well-being.

Honestly, I think all the hoopla about Obama has made me just a tad bit depressed. No joke; while all you people have been having the time of your life cheering and shouting, and passing through waves of ideo-politic-ecstascy, I have been progressively cringing more tightly and worriedly with each CNN video and each blogosphere scan I endure.

It is so discouraging to be so poignantly reminded of how simple, emotive, and pliable people are. I'm not saying he is 'the Anti-Christ,' but I would like to point out that: the cult of personality which has steadily grown, and most recently erupted into Krakatoa proportions is disturbingly similar in some basic social psychological dimensions to those which surrounded some very sketchy past leaders. For example, Hitler and Mussolini . . . yes, yes I know, 'good guys' have also had massive cult followings too (JFK comes to mind, but beyond that . . . hmmmm, can't actually think of any others) . . . but there is just something that is honestly [to me] rather creepy about how people feel about Obama.

He strikes me as a very smart, very capable, respectful and thoughtful man who will surround himself with people who are highly knowledgeable in their chosen disciplines. I also do not doubt that he really is a visionary with an inspired mission to 'make the world better,' who has an incredible charismatic ability to inspire people that whatever the specifics of that 'mission,' they believe in it, and are devoted to it.

With the exception of every single one of those descriptors except respectful and to a certain degree thoughtful, you could use the paragraph above to describe Adolf Hilter. He was very smart, very capable, 'thoughtful' depending on exactly how you want to deploy that word. He surrounded himself with people who are highly knowledgeable, and he clearly was a real visionary with an inspired mission to 'make the world better,' and who had an incredible charismatic ability to inspire people that whatever the specifics of that mission, they believed in it, and were devoted to it.

I am NOT saying that Barack Obama is the latest incarnation of a genocidal maniac despot who is going to usher in a period of massive bloodshed, suffering and catastrophe. I am simply pointing out that, many of the dynamics of a Great Leader with the capacity to inspire people are not mutually exclusive with megalomania, prejudice, vindictiveness, even callous inhumanity and hatred.

I guess if he had been in the Senate for 20 years, and we had more of a history of how he actually thinks and feels, how he tends to vote, and what he really believes in, I might feel differently.

But we don't have that. What we have is a past that is hard to pin down with any particular term except 'ambitious, tending to be liberal, populist, litigiously-competent and eloquent.'

How many times is it that he voted 'Present' during his legislative days?

Add to this the whole Rev Wright connection, some comments he has made during his campaign, his response to the Lowery benediction . . .

'Uneasiness' sincerely describes how I feel about this man at this point, and I am DEFINITELY not a 'conservative.' I am pro-Gay Marriage, I voted for Clinton, Gore, and Obama, and I tend to think that socialized medicine is a good thing.

Understand, I am not saying that I am dead-set against Obama; I am not firmly convinced that he is malignant force, and I am not [yet] opposed to him . . . but just uneasy, a bit wary, and very much skeptical.

This latest incident with Lowery's Benediction is IMO, just the latest "blip" in a series of blips that indicate a kind of megalomaniacal elitism and vindictiveness as a person of color. Perhaps we are on blip #11 or 12, but we are not yet on blip #20.

Barack Obama still "IS MY PRESIDENT." I voted for him. I hope for the best for him, and for us; and I very, VERY much _WANT_ to believe in him, and place my trust in him that he will always do what is right for the greater good of America and the world. After 8 years of Bushes general incomptence, bullheaded stubbornness and arrogance someone who really had the characteristics of diplomacy and skill which Obama seems to have would be a refreshing change.

But when I see repeated instances of his complicity if not agreement with what I consider to be racist views of Black-White relations in the U.S., I get very uneasy . . . VERY uneasy, and I am reminded of just how inspiring Adolf Hitler was to the German people.

In the present PC climate, in which reversal of bias is all too often portrayed as 'leveling' or 'righting wrongs' or as reforming bias, I am planning to keep my head down . . .

Stop and consider this: If McCain had won, and they got some aging born-again preacher from a holdout racially segregated white privilege district of the South. Say for example, a Jerry Falwell type of caricature.

What if, during his benediction, this joker gave some poetry something about like this . . .

Would you think that that was equally as 'trivial?'

Or how about this, leave everything the same as in Lowery's original transcript

[quote]
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.[quote]

But just change "when white will embrace what is right" to "when non-whites will embrace what is right."

Would THAT be trivial?

No it would NOT be trivial, and neither is implying that "whites embrace what is wrong!!"

Why would a civil rights leader denounce white people and then turn around and speak of justice and mercy in virtually the same breath as he did after the sound bite that so many are passing around? I would not think that possible. It amazes me the rabble-rousers that cash in with their talk-show and media venom somehow want to deconstruct and turn the people who have spent basically their whole lives' work fighting racism as somehow being the "real racists" while they remain pure and white, untainted by the stain of sin that they feel they should not have to confront. One that existed and still does.
I am proud to be white to the extent that we should all feel blessed to be given the corporal bodies that temporarily house our souls, and at the same time I know that white people have been hateful and arrogant. I am suprised that we are all not more outraged than we are, and I know we are destined to more forward instead of backward. Racism in whatever and any form has victimized everybody and turned us against each other. It is time, past time, for us to come together instead of apart. If that makes me (or the reverend) a race traitor or a racist for simply making that point, I fail to see how. Let's solve instead of snark. Let's make plans for unity again instead of making ourselves dirty with sleazy shennanigans.

I understand that some of Lowery’s colorful comments are designed for a response, or perhaps uttered with tongue-in-cheek, but I would like to approach his statements with the same sober analysis that those on the opposite ideological side so frequently get.

During the historic inauguration of a black President elected mainly with white votes, Rev. Lowery, after implying that people of color were the ongoing victims of white oppression, said he looked forward to a day when “white will embrace what is right,” the implication being that today’s whites are still largely doing wrong.

As a white person who saw minority students offered college scholarships ahead of him for no apparent reason other than race, and who, out of Christian conviction, has donated much personal time and effort to provide better healthcare to minority communities, I found Rev. Lowery’s comments deeply offensive.

But this is really not an isolated incident. Not long ago Rev. Lowery helped turn Coretta Scott King’s funeral into a Democratic political pep rally.

Forgive me, but I find these words and actions of Rev. Lowery to be shameful.

Rev. Lowery deserves our respect for his courage and leadership during the civil rights movement, but he seems to be living in a self-imposed time warp. If he is truly interested in bringing people together he needs to educate himself more fully about what’s happening in 2009.

Rev. Lowery indicates repeatedly that he has deep concern and compassion for the poor. What has Rev. Lowery done to address the escalating unwed birth rate in the black community, something that is more responsible for the cycle of poverty than any other single factor?

This is the "benediction" I'll remember:

"In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, / anything can be made, any sentence begun. / On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- / praise song for walking forward in that light." Elizabeth Alexander


Say, amen.

It was one of the best parts of the whole thing for me. It was a moment of levity after that dreadful and painfully long poem. I do think that some of the posts on this site are being extraordinarily hypersensitive. You're offended by words of a man who has seen a whole of lot of discrimination, segregation and injustice ? A man who marched for his rights ? I think he gets to send a gentle rebuke. Get over yourselves. Lest we forget the unspeakable evil of the majority whites in America before the 60's. Slavery, segregation, water hoses, unequal access to justice, health facilities, education. Pure evil, the kind the devil rejoices in. Cruelty that sought and in many cases, seeks, to maintain economic, educational, intellectual power for themselves.

Yes we should forgive and move on but lets not, in a bid to extend this kumbayah moment, forget what the blacks went thru at the hands of the whites. God's healing heart provided this moment to heal psychological wounds that are generations deep, wounds that still hurt till today when we are confronted with the insidious and ingrained discrimination which are the fruits of the seeds of slavery. The outpouring of joy, hope, healing of African Americans should gladen the hearts of every spirit filled Christian. This is not to undermine whites who rebelled and marched alongside us. Who have wounds just as deep as African Americans do but they were the minority then and they still aren't the majority now. So maybe Rev Lowery should have said some whites must embrace what's right - perhaps that would have been fairer.

Unlike other posts I am never shocked at the close mindedness, legalism and judgementalism of some Christians. Thank God we have Jesus. I expect lots of rude comments in response so God's peace I leave with you. May His spirit that made this day possible continue to heal and bless us all.

Let's see if you get this. If you want to unite people you stop pointing out the differences. You don't mention, race, religion, mistakes, grievances, or anything else they makes them seem different or uncomfortable. True Christians see other people as God's children. That's it - point blank. The "world" see's people as something they can destroy/and or control. When people really want to serve one another, with a loving heart, they learn to keep their big mouths shut about what makes them different and focus on what they have in common. Watch the little children when they want to get along you might learn something adults.

RE: Elizabeth's comments above:

As in the "benediction I'll remember": Me too Elizabeth. As the biggest Christian Blunder of the Century!

I read the prayer above and find it brilliant.

The phrases at the end, at one time, are representative of times when Blacks, Asians, Native Americans, as well as others, were actively discriminated against and were often told they could go nowhere in society because they were not white.

Even in it's brilliance I could find it offensive but I choose not to. Someone once said that when a society forgets the mistakes of the past, that society is condemned to repeat those mistakes.

While the end of the "prayer"(I use that term loosely here) seems tacky at best, the sad thing is that this prayer is the least of my worries. This is just the beginning folks. Just look at the the players being cast in this drama. We will pay dearly by voting according to our wallets. As for our family we will "render to Caesar what is Caesar's", but as for me and my house we will serve the LORD! The most we can do at this point is to pray for our new Commander in Chief. There is still hope: "if My people who are called by My Name........