Who should step in to pray at Obama’s inauguration?

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obama inauguration

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Barack H. Obama, with his hand on the Lincoln bible, during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington, DC on Jan. 20, 2009. RNS photo by Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger

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Here's our list of (real and imagined) possibilities. Some are obvious, some less so. For our betting dollars, we're banking on someone in Louie Giglio's profile: unique but not necessarily a household name.

  • Sam

    I would like to vote for United Methodist Bishop Minerva Garza Carcano, who was born and raised in Edinburg, Texas. Bishop Carcano supports comprehensive immigration reform and is also fully supportive of LGBT rights in the United Methodist Church and in civil society. I love this woman. I think we should have a Latina giving the benediction and a gay Latino man reading the inaugural poem.

  • Gaile Krause

    Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, a nationally-known organization in Los Angeles that gives gang members new options for being positive contributors to society.

  • Evolve

    I would like to invite the pastor from the flying spaghetti monster church after all it was his noodle appendage that created the earth.

  • Mike in Wisconsin

    How about nobody at all? I don’t mean to be anti-religious, but this is a secular political event and the addition of any kind of prayer is purely “ceremonial deism” done only for show. Why do it at all?

  • Catharine Henningsen

    Sister Simone Cambpell, without a doubt!

  • Catharine Henningsen

    Sister Simone Campbell, without a doubt!

  • bluejbluej@yahoo.com

    I agree with Mike in Wisconsin. There should be no religion in the ceremony.

  • W. Lotus

    I recommend Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, president of Healing for the Nations Foundation and senior minister emeritus of The Riverside Church of New York. He can represent the understanding that our nation needs healing in many ways.

  • W. Lotus

    I take offense to statements like, “There’s already another black person praying on the program.” I don’t recall white presidents limiting the number of white folk on the program for the sake of black people’s sensitivities.

  • P. Lane

    The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington. Pro-LGBT rights, women’s rights, immigrant’s rights, economic justice, social justice, anti-war. Plus, she is local. It’s happening just down the street.

  • michael

    How about this… how about when we get to pray again at football games and high school graduations, the president can have someone pray at his inauguration?

  • Fr. John Morris

    Why were no representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Church on the list? In the past a representative of the Eastern Orthodox Church, usually the Greek Orthodox Archbishop was always invited.

  • JUDE

    I have to agree with Mike…It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that obama doesn’t believe in God anyway, so why make a continued mockery of God by having some ‘so-called prayer’ at the ceremony. obama is doing everything he can to make himself the god and disperse with the real truths of the bible. obama is ruining the USA but God will always have the upper hand – I just want to see that happen, when the Holy Spirit knocks him off the pedestal.

  • JUDE

    P.Lane–That sounds like a real satan worshiper…perfect for obama

  • Fr. John Morris

    She would be a perfect choice. She rejects traditional Biblical moral teachings, so does Obama. Neither one is really a Christian. Obama’s preaches inclusiveness, but really means that only those who reject Biblical morality are welcome. Why should the Inauguration be an example of hypocrisy, because only those who pass the politically correct test are welcome. The rest of us are not worthy of inclusion.

  • Sam

    How about we–and I mean everyone, regardless of tradition–show some love, compassion, hospitality, and charity in our remarks? Let’s love our neighbor.

  • Why not the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Shori? Among other things, she presides over the National Cathedral, which will soon be conducting same-sex marriages.

  • Fr. John Morris

    Shori would be perfect because like Obama she has rejected traditional Christianity. We are living in an age of a new politically correct McCarthyism, in which anyone is suspected of ever having failed to support political correctness is black listed the way that suspected communist sympathizers were black listed in the early 1950s. Only this time the new McCarthyism is an even greater threat to freedom because it has official governmental support from the corrupt and immoral Obama administration which has shredded our constitutional form of government and turned America into a third world dictatorship presided over by an arrogant and not too intelligent testimony to the mistake of affirmative action.

  • clasqm

    Here’s a radical idea. Instead of all these religious powerbrokers, how about a humble (wo)man of God from the back of beyond that NOBODY has ever heard of?

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  • gilhcan

    No one should step in. Why do we need someone praying at a purely civic event? Let Obama and everyone else who wants to pray do their own praying, separately, privately. Keep the churches and religion out of government. Those who ignore this separation are ignorant of the horrors that resulted throughout history whenever churches and government mingled, and they are defiant of our Constitution that orders a separation between the two. This is the second time in a row that Obama invited a preacher who is ignorant about homosexuality and obviously hates gay people to pray at his inaugurations. Just as with his bold coziness with Wall St., in his word with the voters, Obama turns 180 degrees when it comes to governing. He is not the grand compromiser, he is the convenient deal maker–with the wrong people.

  • gilhcan

    What, exactly, is “traditional Christianity?” And how would you know the intimate thoughts and feelings about religion that are held by Shori, Obama, or anyone else–unless you had spent a very long time conversing with them or studying their positions? What is your presumed alternative to “traditional Christianity?”

    And, “pray” tell, why do we need anyone, church person or anyone else, praying at our civic events?

  • gilhcan

    How about no one, no praying? That can and should be done in private, at home, or in church. Inaugurations are civic events–and they are a waste of a whole lot of public money. They should be simply done, and they should be done at the White House, the seat of the Executive Branch, not at the Capitol.

  • Fr. John Morris

    We need prayers at Obama’s Inauguration because if there is a time that our nation need God’s help it is now. The 1st amendment was never intended to secularize our nation. From the very beginning our nations has sought God’s blessing and guidance for our leaders Congress opens with a prayer every day. Our Presdients have called for prayer in times of trouble since the beginning of our nation. If there is ever a US President who has needed God’s guidance it is Obama.

  • Fr. John Morris

    Traditional Christianity honors the Biblical teachings on morality, something that that woman does not. For example a traditional Christian believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, not two men or two women. A traditional Christian would not favor government support for abortion causing drugs or abortion at all.
    We need prayer because our nation need God’s blessings and our leaders God’s guidance. The 1st amendment was never intended to prevent public prayer. We have always had prayer at civic events from the very beginning of our nation. has need God’s blessings.

  • Ryan Farrell

    Unless you’re going to say “there’s already a white male on the program” after every white male listed, you might want to be careful saying, “there’s already already a black female on the program.”

  • allcapsisconsideredshouting

    He doesn’t believe in God because he doesn’t believe what you think the Bible means?

  • Yeshua Ha-Moshiach

    Why not invite Lady Gaga or Jayz to do it?

  • Fr. John Morris

    You use the word hate rather loosely. Belief that someone’s acts are sinful does not mean that Christians hate them. I for one am tired of being called hateful and a bigot by the pro-gay lobby just because I do not agree that sex between two men is natural and blessed by God. I am sick of being attacked because I believe in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures and interpret them the way that Christians have always interpreted them on moral matters.
    When he first ran, Obama promised to bring us together and has turned out as the most divisive president in our history. His policies show no respect for the beliefs of traditional Christians. He openly persecutes those whose religious beliefs oppose abortion inducing medications. He shows no respect for the constitutional form of government and when Congress will not give into his demands, rules by decree like any third world dictator. I believe that in time he will be seen as the very worst president in American history, if we still have a nation left after he is finished destroying it.

  • Ina Ayliffe

    I recommend Pastor Vashti McKenzie.

  • Swampdog

    Actually, we should all pray – that God protects our country from this destroyer!

  • Fr. John Morris

    Amen. I am beginning to believe those who argue that Obama is deliberately destroying our country, so he can rebuild it as a socialist welfare state in which the minority work to support the majority who keep relecting Democrats to use taxation to rob from the producers to give to the parasites who elected Obama.

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  • nadia

    I like how all the Muslims are all grouped in one suggestion …also no representation from non-monetheistic faiths?

  • Mike

    I cannot understand why Christians make such a big deal out of public prayer when Jesus, who they claim to follow, instructed his followers to pray in private.

  • Jude

    Mike…really??? Can you be that lame….Christ also said …”For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matt.18:20

  • Fr. John Morris

    You are taking Our Lord’s comments out of context. He was speaking of private prayer, not public prayer. There is a difference. It is an issue to Christians, because we have always had prayer at our public events. Obama has established a politically correct litmus test that would eliminate any Christian from participating who upholds traditional Christian moral values. He is supposed to try to be president of all the people by recognizing that those of us who hold traditional Christian moral values are also Americans. The Presidential Inauguration should include all of us. Obama should try to bring us together, not continue to divide us by his radical agenda.

  • JesseNOTW

    How about someone who stands firm on the word of God. I mean someone who really believes the Word of God is 100% accurate and inspired by God and calling sin by its true name. The only thing pastor Louie Giglio did wrong was not to stand firm on his beliefs and his sermon from 20 years ago. He spoke the truth so lets bash him and call him names, really? I find it interesting how God is so clear in the Bible when he speaks about sin and defines very clearly what sin is, yet people who are called to serve Him will sell out in order to please the masses. Every time people choose to try and rewrite the Bible, its like crucifying Jesus all over again.

  • JesseNOTW

    I don’t know if you were just trying to be funny, real, or sarcastic; however, I took it as funny and sarcastic…lol

  • JesseNOTW


  • JesseNOTW

    Yes we need to pray for our leaders; however, God gives us all free will. Unfortunately most people will choose not to serve God nor His purpose but to fulfill and please the masses. Especially those in politics who like to play the role of God.

  • Shell

    So sad how we are right where the Israelites were. People please open your eyes…..prayers for u all and me to turn to Jesus

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