President Obama marked his second inaugural ceremonial speech with talk about the nation's destiny and how theology and a biblical vision will play a major role. Part of the President's biblical vision involves equality for all citizens, including sexual orientation.
Obama is, by far, not the first to conjoin his faith with his role as President. According to a story filed by the Religion News Service, his references to his faith and the bible were made in reference to a 'God-given equality extolled by the “founding creed” of the Declaration of Independence — to essentially reconsecrate the country to the common good and to the dignity of each person.'
The President referred to some of the darker moments of American History, particularly race relations, which he tied into the Rev. Martin Luther King's birthday. Obama touched on everything from the Emancipation Proclamation to King's march on Washington, covering a one hundred year span. He rounded out this portion of his address with a call for unity in several different areas.
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
The most well received part of his speech was his inclusion of equal rights for the LGBT community, which was solidified by his choice of Episcopal Priest Rev. Luis Leon to give the benediction. Leon is the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church across the street from the White House. The Episcopal church welcomes gay clergy and couples.
Obama's speech called for both a spiritual and communal unity for all American citizens, stating the nation has,
"…always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
The invocation was delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, who is the widow of Medger Evers, a renowned civil rights activist who was assasinated by a white supremacist in 1963. Evers-Williams stated in her prayer,
“As we sing the words of belief, ‘this is my country,’ let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included.”
The story also reports on Obama's support of American exceptionalism and added in his belief that the future of our nation is the will of the Christian God’s. This was made more apparent in the musical choices that were made for the event, which included The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Kelly Clarkson singing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” and Beyonce performing the national anthem.
Rounding out Obama's faith-filled inaugural event was his inclusion of “So help me God” at the end of his oath, something that is not required by the Constitution, but has been included by Presidents for generations.
For more information, relevant commentary, important links and other pertinent items, please read the whole story at the Religion News Service