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Rev. Robinson’s Prayer Hits the Fan

The bald eagles didn’t bitch.

Seriously, one of the most moving moments of the event was the moment Challenger, then Mr. Lincoln, both majestic bald eagles, were brought on stage, preceded by military representatives, before Obama made his speech. No one said a word when HBO cut that moment out of the rebroadcast. The bald eagle, symbolism of our beautiful country, the importance of protecting it, as well as the grandeur beyond what is human.

I am evidently one of the very few unmoved that Rev. Robinson’s prayer was also not part of the HBO rebroadcast of Obama’s concert on the mall. …and I’m an Episcopalian.

HBO says it was Obama’s people. But they say no, to the contrary.

“We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan — but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.” — PIC communications director Josh Earnest

It was a musical extravaganza. The only prayer required should have been one in honor of the power of the arts. Hoping that they may once again be a larger part of our national identity and spirit. Not just to educate and inspire young and old, but as a reminder of our common creative nature, as well as the redemptive power of music and song.

Instead, the prayer by Rev. Robinson took us into the spiral of bless us with tears… with anger.. etc. as so many prayers do, choosing to remind us all of the hardships of living on the mortal plane. With one exception, that like everyone else, protecting President Obama comes off my lips at my every daily meditation. But for me, Robinson’s prayer was organized religion at its worst. With all the talk about how dire things are today, which no one will doubt, the preacher ignored the lofty purposes of song and jubilation, while forgetting the event his prayer was to kick off. Tone deaf religious importance in the place of exalting the human spirit we were to celebrate through song.

It just proves that gay or straight, organized religious leaders have forgotten the place music plays in the divine, beyond a preachers’s reminder of our daily drudgery. A prayer before a festival of music should set a much different tone. But that’s how far the arts have fallen in America.

Where’s Dr. Wayne Dyer when you need him?

Another point is that we are in the throes of allowing the remarkable ordinariness of the transfer of power in this country to be catapulted into something it should never be. The deification of the presidency itself, the office, but especially the current occupant about to take the oath. Barack Obama is just a man to whom our hopes are pinned, but in whom expectations are now set far too high.

America is “we the people.” Thomas Jefferson would gag.

Why am I coming over all queasy this week? Oh, yes, it must be coronation–sorry, inauguration–week in the federation of the United States. So this is why you booted us out a couple of centuries ago. You simply replaced the pomp and ceremony of hereditary monarchy and with the pomp and ceremony of elected monarchy. [...]

Thank goodness for the day of service.

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