Wednesday, January 21, 2009

God does the Inauguration

Ok, I'm an atheist, but can't we objectively say that the inauguration was chock-
full of holy invocation?

At first, it didn't bother me. AP was pretty pissed (he unapologetically hates God nods), but I justified it. It was Obama's choice to say "so help me god" in the oath and I thought he deserved the right to add a little personal flavor. But dammit if it didn't just keep on.

Looking back, the ceremony resembled a mass. Not a Sunday variety, but a kind of church wedding--a special occasion with a divine thread. Two holy men, "GOD" bandied about, bibles (however cool)*

In fact, some atheist and non-religious groups did try to file lawsuits to keep those many references out of the ceremony. They were unsuccessful. This just from Obama's speech:

"remained the words of Scripture...enduring spirit...the God-given promise...We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers...satisfying to the spirit...God calls on us...God's grace upon us...God bless you...And God bless the United States of America."

I understand that it's impossible not to slight somebody when you make such a sweeping speech, but I do take issue with the phrase "non-believer." It seems a decidedly negative term. If words like "belief" and "faith" and "spirit" can exist outside of religion (I am doubtful), then they are surely positive. Well, I'm a "non." That chaps my ass.

I imagine an America where there is no separation between church and state and it looks a lot like this one.

*Note about the Lincoln Bible: Obama was the only president to use it since Lincoln's first inauguration in 1861. The man who administered the oath back in the day: Chief Justice Roger Taney. Four years earlier, Taney wrote the Supreme Court's decision to upholding slavery. (Awkward!)


  1. It's true that a real triumph would have been for Obamz to just firmly use the word "atheist" but I thought it was pretty bangin' to hear the president acknowledge the fact that something besides Christian Americans even exists. Baby steps, I guess.

    But Rick Warren can jump in a lake.


  3. Good point. I was just bothered by the influx of holy talk regardless. I just don't want to have hear that all the time from my American government.

    I am just glad this thing is over.