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Transcript of Rev. Lowery's Inaugural Benediction

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., delivered the benediction at the inaugural ceremony. Below is a transcription of his address, provided by CQ Transcriptwire:

[*] LOWERY: God of our weary years, god of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our god, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pay now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

LOWERY: For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

LOWERY: And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...

(LAUGHTER)

... when yellow will be mellow...

(LAUGHTER)

LOWERY: ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen.

LOWERY: Say Amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen.

LOWERY: And Amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen.

(APPLAUSE)

By Amy L. Kovac  |  January 20, 2009; 4:40 PM ET  | Category:  Swearing-in Ceremony
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Comments



Typical Joe Lowery running his tired old mouth same old message " when will the white man embrace ". Joe the white man will embrace when you, Jesse, Rev Al fade to black........

Posted by: Theo7 | January 20, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Inappropriate and unnecessary if you ask me.

Did he forget that ALOT of white people just elected our president? I guess if Obama's WHITE mother was still alive she would be hushed away in a corner somewhere.

Everyone forgets those two important facts.

Posted by: blevins20061 | January 20, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

These are ugly, evil, racist words.

The laughter, the mockery is offensive.

He needs to apologize. Obama needs to apologize.

I was shocked at the hate.

Posted by: valjean65 | January 20, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Rev Lowery grew up in a segregated America, and he worked religiously to change that. I don't view his words as racist, I see a reflection of the painful battles he fought and still wears the scars from.

Although is words are clearly meant to be funny, I don't find humor in them; they stand as a sad reminder of America's recent past. Rev Lowery is certainly entitled to this moment of reflection.

Posted by: Alan4 | January 20, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the day when white [men] will embrace what is right?

Not much of an endorsement of Jefferson, et al., now is it?

Needlessly racist; blatantly offensive.

And yes, racism is still racism -- even when directed at people whose ancestors came from Ireland and Germany and France and Italy -- even if the concept of a racial put-down directed at them is so alien that they're not sure if this Spade is a Spade.

Posted by: Mister_Thorne | January 20, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Theo, blevins, valjean, et al get over it; Obama has moved into the WHITE House.

You can console yourselves by listening to your favorite stone-deaf, oxycontin-addled radio host on the Excrement In Broadcasting Network.

Posted by: HughBriss | January 20, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

fr Theo7:

>Typical Joe Lowery running his tired old mouth same old message " when will the white man embrace ". Joe the white man will embrace when you, Jesse, Rev Al fade to black........<

Grow UP and take a US History course, as you are completely ignoring the efforts Joseph Lowery, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and scores of others went through to gain basic civil and HUMAN rights for African-Americans. Take a pre-school manners class.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 20, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Since the first slaves were put on a boat and brought to this country, African American have had to listen to every racist word, and not respond without the fear of retaliation. Rev. Lowery is entitled to express his opinion, he did battle for what happened today. I thin he is just saying what a lot of black America feels but won't say. This prayer came from a man who lived through the civil right era, survived beatings, discrimination and all of the ugliness, that still exist in some cases today. So don't hate him for just being real, it's a new generation and a new day. I think we call that change....

Posted by: Tanisha_Blair | January 20, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

To my ear this benediction was strikingly eloquent and spoken with such ease of manner that you'd think the man had Shakespeare's blood in his veins. He certainly put John Roberts to shame. I'm white and I didn't find the reverend's remarks offensive in the least. That whole section in which the supposedly offensive line occurs was full of good natured ribbing, in the best tradition of great humorists helping us laugh while pointing out truths. We're going to need a lot of that in the dark days ahead.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 20, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I listened to Dr. Lowery's prayer I am white and I voted for President Obama. I was not the least bit offended by his prayer. Maybe as a white group we DO sometimes consider ourselves privileged. I think it is time that we all pull together and become color blind. It's the only way our nation will survive and become great again.

Posted by: kobi842 | January 20, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps those who have already commented are unaware of the undercurrent of ill-wishes that security forces have had to investigate to ensure this day went off without incident. You may have also missed the comments the then candidate Sen. Obama spoke in his speech on race relations in Philadelphia. Although we, collectively, may feel a presence outside of the need for more and future discussions regarding race relations, it is an omnipresent need for many more. There was no spewing of hatred or denigration of character from Rev. Lowry in prayer today. His prayer spoke of all of us coming together with mutual respect and love for one another as brethern or children of God, who can communicate with one another, not at one another...see one another as we see ourselves. To suggest otherwise, convincingly you have found the hate.

Posted by: ewjazzed | January 20, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

On this historical day when we should all be coming together as a nation - this old man (who is a big part of civil rights history) - had to try and divide us.

Up until he started dividing us into groups his benediction was good - but then he had to say this:

"LOWERY: ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

As a young white woman in the deep south - during the 60's - I came to the realization that all of us are equal and I resent Rev. Lowery putting such divisive language in his prayer. It was a shame to soil what has been (so far) a very wonderful day.

I am so glad that Dr. King was the major spokesman for the movement. If it had been Rev. Lowery - I wonder where we would be today.


Posted by: gappy | January 20, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

i am writing for myself an my mother who is 90 years old. we are black, she never thought the day would come an a black man would be elected at least not in her life time. she watched an listened to the speeches today she say she heard nothing that seemed racist to her an she knows racism. some do not know what it was like to be black in the south back then. everything was separated....water, movie theaters, where you ate or sat even the school. she did not see anything wrong with the speech she was very happy to know that this day has come. to all that thought he was being a racist you dont know what you are talking about.

Posted by: issaquath | January 20, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I felt this was a wonderful benediction, until Rev. Lowery spoke the last paragraph. As a Caucasian in a mixed race marriage for over 18 years, I was very insulted by the all inclusive statement regarding the white race. "we ask you to help us work for that day / when white will embrace what is right." This is a statement of future tense, meaning according to Rev. Lowery, that Caucasians in general have not, nor currently do embrace what is right. Although I believe Rev. Lowery has a right to feel and speak as he feels, I do not believe such a statement has a place or should have been included in the inaugural benediction. With this last paragraph, Rev. Lowery not only managed to mar a wonderful benediction, but also mar a defining moment in history.

Posted by: commentingman | January 20, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Lowery's prayer/speech was completely inappropriate and offensive.

Posted by: kae1026 | January 20, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

For those who were offended of Lowery's words, perhaps he hit too close to home for some of you, or you prefer to turn a blind eye to our country's sins.

To free ourselves from history's bondage and our dark past, a full accounting and confession is required. Anything less would be deny our true nature and and not allow ourselves to be humbled, which is a major stumbling block to both giving and receiving true forgiveness, which ultimately leads to peace.

Praise the heavens for men like Dr. King and Rev. Lowery, who stood up and spoke during a difficult time against a wrong that is as obvious today for us all, as it was to them in their day. Prophets speak not in praise, but in challenging and harsh rebuke of what the world has gotten wrong and what we must do to right it. We have come so far, but we have so much farther to go.

I smile today to see how far we have come. A truly momentous moment for us and the world. Enjoy it today and remember it for all the hard work that is yet to come.

Posted by: danielburns | January 20, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

As a fellow Christian American, I prayed along with Rev. Lowery. I reiterated and said amen as he lifted his pleas to the Heavenly Father. However, I was not able to pray along with his ending lines. I viewed his attempt at humor as a veil to wrap a sarcastic racist spear which he hurled at all white Americans. Then as I thought these thoughts about his words, I asked God to forgive me for judging him and to forgive Reverend Lowery for his racist thoughts toward white Americans. I must say, that God and Reverend Lowery know what the intent of his heart was as he spoke those words.

Posted by: kthomas2 | January 20, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I am surprised to read so many comments referring to this passage as racist. I was listening on radio and didn't see his face as he spoke. However, when I heard him say these words and heard the laughter from the audience, I thought he meant that, because Obama was elected by people from all races, these tired, old racial barriers have started to come down. I know that there are still many people who don't like to admit that a majority of hearts have changed for the better, but how many of us could have imagined that we would see a black man become president in our lifetime?

Posted by: pinkmartini | January 20, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Racism is racism. It is sad that Rev. Lowery has had bad things happen to him but that DOES NOT give him the right to spout racism on such a special day. Several people have posted that they felt it was time to express how many were feeling. He has ruined what should have been a great day and tainted it with the thing he fought so hard to remove. You need to look at yourself and ask the golden rule "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If he would have considered how it might offend the many who do and did embrace, maybe there could have been more appropriate words used.

Posted by: SadAmerican | January 20, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I must say, I was offended by Lowery's comment as well. Out of a day when the word was "tolerance", this is the one thing that rang in my head as inappropriate. If we cannot stop the "catagorization" of races, we will never become a true "United" States. When will we just call everyone Americans and not catagorize them based on the color of their skin? Obama is not African American, he is bi-racial.
Yes, I realize Rev. Lowery grew up in a painful time, but he is a messenger of God and if he is truly a godly man, then he should know that God is a God of forgiveness and that to be truly godly, one must be forgiving. To continue to perpetuate the segregation of the races only further divides our nation. Rev. Lowery's only outcome in his benediction was to perpetuate the idea that all whites are in the wrong. Only when the black race doesn't think that the white race is out to get them will we truly be a United States.

Posted by: Educator8 | January 20, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who are so "offended" perhaps you should go back and research your history. His ending comments were a play on words that have been around for a very very long time.

Stop being so sensitive.

Posted by: toastedink | January 21, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Between prose and poetry from the Presidential rostrum, I choose poetry from Alexander and Lowery. Lowery was profound. Let those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Posted by: JimLbrt | January 21, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

The Race Business is alive and well. I was at work, watching the markets dive during the installation ceremonies for Obama, so I did not hear Lowery’s speech (I will not honor it with the appellation “benediction”).

I was beginning to be persuaded by people whose thoughts I admire like David Horowitz who said:
"...as conservatives who have been through the culture wars -- we need to get past the mixed feelings we will inevitably have as the nation marks its progress in moving away from the racial divisions and divisiveness of the past. These feelings come not from resistance to the change, but from the knowledge that this celebration should have taken place decades ago and that its delay was not least because our opponents saw political advantage in playing the race card against us and making us its slandered targets."

Despite repeated messages from the black spokesmen that told us they would continue to play the race card … after all, if they can’t do their jobs, they will be unemployed; I saw a glimmer of hope that the corner may have been turned.

How disappointing to have that dream shattered during the inauguration by this brutal reminder:
Lowery on me and all other white men and women:
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...when yellow will be mellow... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right."

This is the Black Leadership way. Their reason for being. Their rice bowl. The “when did you stop beating your wife” moment.

And shook me back to reality.

Posted by: 3536 | January 21, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised to hear that someone, anyone, found offense in Lowery's benediction. I'm white, and most of the people with whom I celebrated the inauguration were white, and we all loved the ending part best, and the smile its playfulness brought to our new president's face.

How in the world can you take offense at "when white will embrace what is right"? Don't you recognize that white people have done wrong, like all humans? Don't you want to do right? Put down your unrighteous umbrage, and get to work in your neighborhoods to make this a better country. For all of us.

Posted by: phidippides26 | January 21, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading this debate across a bunch of sites this morning, truly astonished that Lowery caused such "offense." In general they sound like crocodile tears from the same people who get apoplectic about "political correctness" when it comes from the left (and which bothers me too), yet here they are as a new PC brigade, telling black people or anyone else how NOT to couch race issues. To say Lowery was "spewing hate" is just absurd, if you take into context his experience, his generation, the musical reference he was making and the humor with which it was done. And anyone who thinks the goal all along has been "color blindness" and an end to discussion about or friction over race just really has no idea what's been going on for 600 years in the Western world.

Posted by: stringer66 | January 21, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The Reverend Joseph Lowery is an ignorant, racist bigot and his inaugural prayer was an insult to every American who works tirelessly toward ending racism. “…we ask you [God] to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back…” In what decade is he living? That day has come and gone, Blacks are no longer asked to get in back Mr. Lowery!!! And for your information, if not for Whites, Barack Obama would not have won the election. Without racism, people like Joseph Lowery would be out of work, so rather than “keep hope alive”, they keep racism alive.

Posted by: bwrobida | January 21, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I suggest to anyone that's offended by the words of this man, Minister Lowry, to do a better job to be more involed and in touch with cultures outside of you own. If any one here was working "tirelessly" to bring unity there is no way that they would be offended by the context of 'this' man's remarks. It has done wonders for me to understand the mindset of individuals different from myself. It's beautiful to embrace and respect the gifts and flaws of everyone... we all have them. We are more than citizens of a country, we are citizens of a world of many.
With Love

Posted by: stephonltp | January 21, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

It's sad that race mongering has led us from the beautiful eloquence of Dr. King and his aspirational statement that men be judged not by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character to this racist, stereotypical, mean-spirited bile. Dr. King represented true and pure liberalism. Dr. Lowery represents stale and crass group-thought. It's too bad.

Posted by: TF21217 | January 21, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Race-mongering?" Come on, people! Seriously, time to grow up and "put away childish things" such as this whining.

Lowery's benediction was terrific, it was playful, and loving. He underlined that we are all family, and this was a playful poke from the uncle who likes to tease.

So, go on - embrace what's right, my fellow white people (if that's who you are), and for goodness sake -- grow up a little!

Posted by: JefComment | January 21, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Re: valjean65, blevins20061, Theo7, 3536, gappy, kobi842, Mister_Thorne, Alan4

If there's anything funnier than a person who's all puffed up and ready to be offended, it's that same person misfiring into full-blown outrage about something completely benign.

Rev. Lowery’s remarks were funny. Watch the tape and listen to the crowd’s reaction.

They laugh because a man of God is using 70s slang in an inaugural benediction.

Rev. Lowery approach is funny because it is self-deprecating, but it is also appropriate because he’s mocking dated behavior with dated language.

He uses humor to convey a serious thought.

Well said, and well ended, too:

"That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

Amen.

Posted by: murphzero | January 21, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Jef, I'm quite grown. Our national debate on war, race, the economy, abortion and other matters is not "childish". Calling it so is a good rhetorical tactic, but debate about serious issues is the spirit of our democracy. You can try to sweep away dissent by an ad hominen such as calling it "childish" and telling me to "grow up, but I will continue to speak rationally about issues I deem important, no matter that you consider them childish. And I will continue to embrace what I consider "right", which is a post-racial, color-blind world in the spirit of Dr. King.

Posted by: TF21217 | January 21, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Education and not tales tell the truth about the origins of slavery. The exportation of Africans as slaves began because Africans would use their kin as payment for the things that they wanted from the trade ships stopping in their ports on their way home to Europe. The concept was not new to them since prior to the trade routes, they traded each other between tribes for the same reason. Yes, this is barbaric and shame on those traders for not recognizing the digninity of human life... Yet... to continue on with this while overlooking these origins while blaming "white" people for this terrible practice is historically incorrect.

Posted by: ineedabagelnow | January 21, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the racism in this country cannot be done away with unless we approach it with great objectivity. How will we measure how far we have come to see each person fully without regard to skin color and how will we measure how far each person has come to regard themselves fully as an individual without regard to their own skin color? Reverand Lowery obviously sees himself as a person of color today, and maybe rightly so? We will be successful when that ceases to be an issue for him which will mean it has ceased to be an issue for others. When the citizens of this nation no longer feel a need for a special TV channel (BET), when they cease to need a specialized rights organization (NAACP), when they cease to feel they need a special film awards ceremony (BMA), which exclude everyone else of another color, that will be one gauge of our success as a nation. Anyone talking about it will just look silly and they will stand out clearly as a person with unresolved issues. Everyone has responsibilities in the matter. It needs to evolve into a moot point. That would be our measure of success. What we have seen of Obama thus far indicates that he may be key in this resolution, as I think he doesn't see color in himself at all. He isn't without understanding, but I don't think he defines himself as a person of color, which may be a disappointment to some of our united population. It may not be what some in his constiuency want from him, but he may be a force to move forward in the thought that it needs to be over, done with, ended from all sides. America is the perfect place and this is the perfect time for all of that to happen. Love can heal us. Amen.

Posted by: skjune | January 21, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

how about this: we ALL do "right" no matter what color; stop being a racist no matter which color you profess to be and when you pray, try to be reverent.

Posted by: davidhosborne | January 21, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

If Peter Jennings were alive I can just hear him now as we heard Rev. Lowery say "when white will embrace what's right" say "Hmmm, I wonder what the Reverend means by that?" Which is what I wonder? And I am wondering why no one in the press, no journalist today is wondering the same thing, ready to question the Rev. Lowery about what he meant? I considered the comment and I was offended by it! I could not help but continue the thought and think to myself if a white reverend said he was waiting for the day when black would do what is right, well, the hypothetical white reverend would be decapitated by the press! What are we in for these next years? Blatant "reverse discrimination?" I call on Reverend Lowery to apologize for that remark. Did no one in the new administration read that speech ahead of time? All the same rules apply now at this time like always--President Obama's transition team for inauguration should be called upon for an explanation and an apology.

Posted by: kjb27 | January 21, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This is to Phidippides26 for his 9:16 post...

I quote you "Put down your unrighteous umbrage, and get to work in your neighborhoods to make this a better country. For all of us."
Understand one thing little man, I have been doing the right thing all of my life. I'm 37 years old, never lived during the civil war or the 60's so I have no clue as to what went on during that era. I live today, I lived during Katrina doing the "right thing" for the military. Providing food and water to people that needed it and never had a hateful bone in my body until a certain few people we were going to help started shooting at our Flat bottom boat wanting to kill us for no reason. That was the only time I really hated my job and people. I'm finally over it and moved on until you my friend made a comment like that. I don't need your reasoning as to why this was happening so sit down, shut up and keep your comments to yourself about cleaning up my neighborhood for all of us. We do just that every time called upon. Once active duty and now National Guard, I continue to do the right thing for everyone I can reguardless of color because that is who I am, I live in todays world not the past and it's about time people let the past go. If not, this "CHANGE" will never happen and to use that type of closing, poking fun or not, was not need during this time of change. Most of this country has changed but we don't need to be reminded of what happened, only what needs to be done as AMERICANS.. to make us strong again. May God Bless Our New President and God Bless Our People.. everyone

Thank you for your time...

Posted by: eagleinbama | January 21, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The media is silent yet again when anti-White racism rears its ugly head, even in a benediction for the first Black President. The media tacitly accepts anti-White racism and violence. Anti-white racism is accepted and institutionalized now in America.

This was a moment to recognize the triumph of tolerance and progressiveness in America. Instead, Lowery used the moment to insult the entire White population. Lowery has become what he hated. Lowery is a hateful racist.

Posted by: atom2 | January 21, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

If we hear a lot of this anti-White rhetoric, the Republicans will sweep the House and Senate races in 2010.

Posted by: atom2 | January 21, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

As someone who voted for John McCain, I've gotta say: There's not much to be offended by in this prayer. Even Obama's inaugural address is mostly innocuous in that it's overflowing with platitudes and bridge-building.

It's the implementation that offends me: Freedom of Choice Act, socialized (oh, excuse me!) nationalized health care, "bankrupting" the coal industry, and Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers. These are the things that made voting for him noxious.

Posted by: jromans8 | January 22, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

LETS REVERSE THINGS FOR A MOMENT:

If it was a white person saying in a poem (no matter WHAT the reason)
when blacks will quit whining and move on and make better choices.....

what would have happened?
OMG the entire world would shut down.
Racism is racism when you switch roles and the exact same thing couldn't be said of another color without a lot of hostility and anger.
He is a racist and I am not. Obama is HALF WHITE but no one mentions that hu?

God Bless America and keep comments like that to themselves, how ignorant of him.

Posted by: rainbowandwishes | January 22, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Same as the crowd that booed Pres. Bush, Laura Bush, VP Chaney and Lynn Chaney, this was inappropriate, divisive, ill-mannered, embarrassing, disrespectful and insensitive. As a bi-racial American Indian/European I found the oratory despicable, mean spirited, offensive and lacking of manners, and short sightedness in the common sense department. There is a time and place for such dialogue, the inauguration was not one of them. During this historical moment in our history it was a blight. Ugly, Ugly Americans raised their heads and displayed to the world that they really are, a bunch of ill-mannered, impolite and insensitive bumpkins. It points out the selfish “me only” stance of a “deserving” group of people who believe they deserve everything but feel, no demand, that they should be able to do as they please without accountability. Any individual, including the President, who thought this as cute, appropriate, or acceptable should be taken behind the woodshed and have their rear tanned.

Posted by: childs7 | January 22, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

As one who is very close in age to Rev Lowery, white, and no longer a repository for the pretensions, puffery, and easily wounded sensibilities of my youth, I comment on his Inaugural Benediction. Bravo Rev. You have overcome many things in your life, not the least of which is one of the most difficult; self importance, and replaced it with humor. There is no need to comment further on the self-righteous who have risen in purple-faced rage over your choice of word and thought. They have shown themselves for what they are.

Posted by: iseeinca | January 22, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Judgement

If you judge a book by the cover,
Then you’re quick to be judged too,
If you’re quick to point a finger,
Then one’s pointing at you,
You should think before you speak,
Because words hurt deeper than cuts,
Like your six feet deep,
With butterflies in your guts,
And be careful what you wish for,
You just might get it,
It’ll leave a hole in your soul,
It’s hard for you to admit it,
And be careful how you act,
Because your name means a lot,
Reputation is important,
Your name is all that you’ve got.

If we keep living in the past, racism will never end. If we can learn to live for today and tomorrow, instead of yesterday, that's the only way we will see change.

Posted by: maximabrh | January 23, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

It is, indeed, difficult to hear truth spoken about your distant and recent past (as recent as a couple of hours ago, in some cases) that is not so pleasant, yet ever so accurate, and not recoil.

Black is forced to get back even on the continent that birthed themfor the sake of western/collective White exploitation. Brown was run out of areas of this country that belonged to them for the sake of western/collective White greed. Red has been relegated to such nonexistence that there are individuals who will argue you down that those native to this land no longer exist--for the sake of western/ collective White expansion!

White, clearly, has collectively not embraced what is right on every continent they have touched. Colonialism. Imperialism. Slavery. Occupations. Covert destabilizations. Figurative and literal rape, appropriation, and destruction of people and resources. Black, Brown, Yellow, and Red have all SYSTEMATICALLY suffered at the hands of White. They have, to be sure, inflicted harm on others, and sometimes themselves--but with much less the precise consistency and treachery as White.

Now once we're able to acknowledge and admit that and recognize what that means for all of those involved, we can actually move forward. But until all are willing to accept the entirety of the significance of many immortalized dates of achievement for western civilization, we will continue to argue about the very personal, very individualistic offense taken to a few words by an aging reverend because . . . well, quite frankly, it's easier.

Posted by: Val24 | January 24, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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