Prayer before the Inauguration?!

Although I didn’t watch the inauguration (too painful to see Clinton go and Bush come in, hehe) I saw a clip yesterday of someone leading a prayer preceding the inauguration. Although its not a major thing, doesn’t that violate the seperation of church and state, especially since the guy leading the prayer said “our Lord Jesus Christ.” What happened to “uniter not divider?” Is this a standard thing or is this something that Dubya started in his psycho-Chrisitan zeal? What denomination is he anyway?

If only this were the worst example of Bush’s total disrespect for SOCAS.


Well, nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about “separation of Church and State”. It depends how you interpret the part about not establishing an official religion. If you’re a democrat, you’re likely going to be against the Gov’t being tied to religion at all (But then why isn’t there a large movement against removing “In God We Trust” off of money, or stopping the pledge of allegience, swearing oaths on the bible, etc). If you’re a republican, you probably wouldn’t mind stuff like that, and would probably wouldn’t mind school prayer and such. Then there are all the annoying third parties, but they don’t matter. :smiley:

Separation Of Church And State, I believe.

Standard thing, though. The “someone” who lead the prayer was Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. The same Billy Graham who did the invocations and benidictions for both of Clinton’s inaugurations, as well as the elder Bush’s inauguration.

In what way does a prayer before the inauguration implicate the First Amendment:

(from memory) There’s no law, regulation, or government policy requiring that prayer, or requiring anyone to give a shit. Hell, Dubya wasn’t even an elected official when they gave the damn prayer!

Believe me, I am all for the separation of church and state. I even believe that “In God We Trust” on our money is a serious establishment problem. But a prayer before the inauguration? No complaints.

My complaint about the innaugural prayer was where the guy thanked God for choosing Bush to be our president (if I had ready access to the test of it I would quote it).


Last I checked the majority of the American people didn’t even want him in there, but I guess as long as God is making our political decisions for us it doesn’t really matter.

… ready access to the text, not test.

Haven’t we discussed this before, in all those threads about “spontaneous” praying before football games?

According to the law, no equiptment paid for by the State - such as a microphone - can be used for religious purposes.

It’s all about tact.
Bush was elected. So he can have minister say a prayer at his inauguration. Cool with me. He could have a full recreation of an Incan sacrifice for all I care.

But I believe one must be careful with what one says in a nation wide forum when it comes to religious matters. If you stand up and say “We” this and “We” that, and give credit for Bush’s election to God, and so on, etcetera, then you’ve got to realize that a great deal of people will be unhappy with it.

What would have been wrong with, “Dear God, Thanks. Amen. Back to you , Dan.”

Oh, and get this… last I heard, Bush eats his hotdogs with mustard! Mustard!!

Ticks me off too. How much you wanna bet Gore woulda done the same though.

Didn’t clinton do this too?

Not to mention all of them putting their hand on the bible and saying so help me god, which isn’t required at all.

Swearing the oath isn’t required, but the US Constitution leaves it to the individual’s choice: the oath of office (given in Article II, section 1), states that the new President can swear or affirm the oath.

Traditionally, this option is given in legal proceedings to allow the individual to choose the type of declaration that is most meaningful to him/her personally, under his/her own faith system.

As far as I know, President Pierce was the only president who affirmed.

Gee, I guess that explains people like Clinton and Gore doing much of their political speaking at churches.


PLD, the only times I heard of either of them speaking politically in a church was when Gore spoke (and was ridiculed for “racial pandering”) at a mostly-black church.

“Attending” church isn’t the same as “being tied to religion”, even though I disagree with my brother’s statement (generalization! Bad!).

I’m all for the separation of church and state (the Supreme Court seems to back me up on this one even though those words do not directly appear in the constitution), but ask yourself this…
If you were being sworn in as president, would you cancel the traditional pre-inauguration speach and start of your term by pissing off half of America?
But I’m sure Bush is glad to mix religion into his politics.

I didn’t like Graham’s speech itself-kind of biased and assuming…but I didn’t mind the prayer.

Here’s my statement: we need ALL the help we can get. I don’t care if you wanna strip naked and do a tribal dance-whatever works!


When I saw the inauguration, I just KNEW this was going to come up in here.

However, my real question is why are you guys bitching about the opening prayer? The benediction was a much more Jesus centered “Go God” type of prayer then the first one.
Of course, the answer could be that most people here couldn’t bring themselves to watch the whole thing. I had the TV on ALL DAY in the background. :slight_smile:

I have to say, hillary looked happier than Bush did. I think she is soooooooooooooooo happy to be the one out front now. I guess being #2 all your life can really start to get to you.

"ANNOUNCER: Well, it’s a cold, cloudy day here in Washington, D.C., but a fairly large crowd has turned out to see the Presidential Inauguration, including a number of protesters for various causes…

"ANNOUNCER: And the ceremonies are being kicked off by Paul Kurtz of the Council for Secular Humanism, giving the Opening Declaration That There is No God…
The Chief Justice of the United States: “Repeat after me: I do solemnly affirm…”
The President of the United States: “I do solemnly affirm…”
CJUS: “…that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States…”
POTUS: “…that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States…”
CJSU: “…and will to the best of my Ability…”
POTUS: “…and will to the best of my Ability…”
CJUS: “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
POTUS: “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
CJUS: “And I will do this without the help of any supernatural power.”
POTUS: “And I will do this without the help of any supernatural power.”
CJUS: “Congratulations, Mr. President.”

THE PRESIDENT: “My fellow Americans, yadda yadda yadda…trusting in our own, unaided reason, together we can make a better America…blah, blah, blah…since human beings cannot look beyond nature for help, we must look to one another…yakkity yakkity yakkity…I want to unite all Americans–rich or poor, black or white or brown, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, atheist or agnostic or secular humanist…yammer yammer yammer…And so, in conclusion, I am confident that a bright new day is dawning in this great nation of ours. There is no God!”

ANNOUNCER: The Robert G. Ingersoll High School Chorus will now present their rendition of ‘The Time To Be Happy Is Now’; they will be led by Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who arranged Ingersoll’s words and set them to music."
CHILDREN (singing): "The time to be happy is now.
"The place to be happy is here.
“The way to be happy is to make others happy…”

ANNOUNCER: “Finally, Ellen Johnson of American Atheists will present the Closing Declaration That There is No God.”

Since no one else has said it yet, I thought it’d be expected that everyone would be praying when Dubya took office.

“God bless America – we’re gonna need it.”