Much of the gay community and many others are upset by Barack Obama’s choice of evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation (prayer) at Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony, but perhaps this is the wrong issue to complain about?
Some religious zealots feel that not only is it unquestionably right to have their (supposedly America’s) religion exclusively represented in government events, but that the only question we should be asking is whether or not what we’re doing will be good enough for God.
It is unlikely that anything short of a Christian theocracy would be enough for people like these, and for others nothing but a Muslim theocracy would do. Neither of these views is worthy of consideration for our explicitly secular government, and attempting to appease these people by including their religions in official government events can do nothing but encourage them to push forward with their theocratic ideas and to widen the gulfs in our already divided country.
Given the secular nature of our government, prayers, blessings and oaths to gods are out of place. Religion is extremely important to many people, and if they wish to pray for their president and their country then they are and should be allowed to do so, but an official government ceremony is not the place for it.
Not to trivialize the feelings that many people have about their faith, but to many people something else such as football can be almost a religion too. Would it be appropriate or useful for Lovie Smith, coach of the Chicago Bears, to speak at Obama’s inauguration? It might make Bears fans cheer, it might make the fans of other teams angry, but it would add nothing of relevance to this secular government event.
In the end the most questionable action here is not choosing a controversial pastor to pray at the presidential inauguration, it is choosing to have a prayer at the inauguration at all.