Pastor Rick Warren delivered his invocation to the masses on Tuesday. It was a huge crowd on a historic occasion- but it was a small and narrow prayer. And it made the man that delivered it seem even smaller and more divisive than ever.
After the soaring moments or the inauguration- like Aretha singing, the crowds chanting, and Bishop Robinson's blessing- hearing Warren's prayer made it clear that he was indeed out of place at this global time of change and moving forward.
The smallness of the man and his words became even more apparent when compared to Joseph Lowery's moving benediction, which matched the history, hope, and seriousness of the occasion.
But perhaps Warren's prayer was simply a symbol and reflection of the previous chapter of our nation's history and politics, one that is hopefully coming to a close.
While I admit to be being predisposed to disliking Warren's prayer, actually watching it made me shake my head in shame. It represented everything that has been wrong with our country. Warren completely ignored other faiths and those that are non-believers, instead giving a long oratory on evangelical values and catch phrases.
And while he may have thought otherwise, saying "Jesus" in spanish doesn't make it an "inclusive" prayer.
There was no "meeting half-way" or open-mindedness to his invocation, only his way and his beliefs. While he may have been invited in the spirit of unity, according to Obama, it was apparent that there was truly only one side reaching out. Unity takes action on both parts, respect towards the differences we all have.
Warren showed none of that.
And while his prayer, and his very inclusion in the inauguration, reflected poorly on us as a nation, I think it perhaps reflected most poorly on him. Warren had an agenda, a purpose, with his prayer. It wasn't a celebration of our common moment in history, or a sincere blessing from a grateful heart.
It was a purpose driven prayer.
And Warren seemed that much smaller and more insignificant because of it. He had his moment, his chance to rise above and become a player in history. But all he did was show his true self, a narrow-minded man who will be easily forgotten. He will be a small footnote in the celebration, listed somewhere far beneath Aretha Franklin's hat.