So, we just witnessed history. Barack “H.” Obama is now the President of the United States. Exciting times are ahead!
His inauguration address was a bit stirring, and I appreciated his earnestness.
He did not mention the LGBT community at all, but that’s okay.
He did mention nonbelievers, but he also mentioned God in three “inclusive” ways:
The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
If “all” is determined by a “God-given promise,” does that mean that those who do not subscribe to a belief in God are not included in the equality? It sure feels that way sometimes.
What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
Does this suggest that those of us who pursue service and citizenship do not have the necessary confidence to do so if we do not do it in the name of God? Which is more important: serving for the sake of others, or serving at the beck and call of God?
Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Senator Feinstein said, “God Bless America.”
Both justices added “So help me (you?) God” to the oaths, which is not written in the Constitution.
Both Obama and Biden responded in accord.
The ceremony featured two prayers. The invocation was given in the name of Jesus and included The Lord’s Prayer. The benediction concluded in a rousing group “Amen.”
All of these wonderful sentiments could have been delivered without invoking a belief in God, yet that was the expectation of the day… that all people pray to God for His blessing upon our nation.
It is so challenging to witness a day that is so moving, so powerful, so monumental, and to feel that I am not wholly a part of it, because of how I do not conform. As Richard Wade wrote over on Friendly Atheist today, I have to be thankful for Obama’s three little words: “and non-believers.” It was an important consolation to the religious hegemony that dominated the rest of the entire event.
It’s not that we atheists are lonely and whiny. No need to point and laugh. I just think we’re misunderstood and not respected. That’s not our fault.
Obama’s got great plans and great energy for our great nation. If progress is made, we will only have our own hard work, dedication, and compassion to be thank. That is the promise I am going to try to live up to.