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Rev. Joseph Lowery Inauguration Benediction (text and video)

Here is the full text and video of the benediction given by Rev. Joseph Lowery on the occasion of Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America.


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 pray 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.

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.

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 ... when yellow will be mellow ... 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.

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Comments (23)


What a racist.

It was, by and large, people earning over $100,000 a year (and over $200,000 a year!) who were responsible for electing Barack Obama. I'll venture to say that most of those highly-paid professionals were white.

Oops ... I guess that punctures the happy narrative of millions of oppressed poor people and minorities coming together and securing the victory of their Deliverer, doesn't it?

As for me, I'd be happy to hear one of President Obama's spiritual advisors pray for God to "help us work for that day when black will not feel obligated to keep whitey on the hook."

Lee Ward:

What a racist asshole you are.

I'd say "no offense," but offense is intended.

Glad you are letting your little bigoted, white christian light out so it can shine, shine, shine Laprarie.... but it must be biting into the time your reserve for stalking abortion clinic doctors....no?

What happened yesterday was, among other things, a celebration for black America. Obama rang that bell softly, Lowery definitely rang it a little louder, but only simple-minded bigots would take offense -- and of course Michelle Malkin and the right wing blogosphere preys on riling up the simple-minded bigots... and so it goes.

Just keep using your real name and let everyone know that you blog for Wizbang and I'm happy, Laprarie. Spew your bile as much as you like. It's folks like you that drove the GOP into the ground, so keep pounding those same nails....

Glad to have you on board, and amused that yesterday's events and Lowery's words got you bigots so riled up. It must be an awfully anxious time for you - all dem black folks on the TV and everything... lol


So how is Laprarie a bigot for saying he doesn't like the way a handful of blacks (Obama's spiritual advisors) address race issues? He singles out a few individuals. I believe bigotry involves a prejudice against an entire GROUP of people and so would go something more like this: "All you (insert group name) are exactly alike! You all think like (insert generalized stereotypical insult) and you all act like (insert another insult)! I am so superior to all of you!"

For example: "All you white Christians are exactly alike! You are all simple minded bigots who are bothered by seeing black folk on TV and who stalk abortion clinics in their spare time! I am so superior to all of you!"

Proudly signing your name to it is optional: "Signed, Lee Ward".

Also, "bile" looks more like "What a racist asshole you are" than anything that appears in Laprarie's post.

Over on WizBang I asked, what are BDS sufferers going to do now that they don't have George W. Bush to kick around anymore?

They've accumulated a lot of hate over the last 8 years. They have to channel it somewhere.

I think Lee has answered my question sufficiently.

Lee Ward:

Oh, geez - another Jay Tea wannabee - all the way down to the bloated self-impressed writing style - where you set off clauses or even related sentences off to themselves as if to emphasize their importance.

As Mike the abortion clinic stalker did above.

Glad to see Jay's self-absorbed (these words sound so cool in my head) writing style has rubbed off on others at Wizbang..

If you know what I mean.

Now that Ottto Von Barronmatic's inherited from "Jay Tea" the mantle as the "gayest name" on Wizbang it's nice to see Mike imitate Jay's style of "I want you to know how important my words are."

"So I set them apart, taking a related sentence and giving it a paragraph to itself."

Keep blogging, Mike. There's another election in 23 months, and I'm counting on you.


Don't you love when a liberal uses "gay" as a slur? Especially one who was just recently pontificating about bigotry? Quite comical - in an unintentional way.


I guess it's okay to be homophobic but not racist? Where's the logic there?

Lee Ward:

"Don't you love when a liberal uses "gay" as a slur?"

Don't you love it when a conservative considers any mention of the word "gay" a slur? Doesn't that reveal their bias just as much them focusing on a few words dat black man said in the benediction while they ignore the significance that prompted those words? Yes - it does.

A "gay sounding name" isn't a slur to a gay guy named "SymbaFire" now is it? That gay guy chose that name.

And my guess is that Otto Von Barronmatic is happy with the name he chose too. And I'm happy for him. And happy you guys choose to continue to flap your gums.

You backwoods boys wouldn't know this since the only gay man you know is your pastor and he's still in the closet -- with a 12 year old boy.

On Tuesday, my daughter overheard an African-American woman praising Obama's election and this lady concluded with the interesting observation: "I guess this means we [African-Americans] don't have any excuses any more."

Based on his Senate voting record, I agree with very few of Obama's views on policy, but if his election means that the professional racial grievance mongers such as Al Sharpton and Joseph Lowery will finally have to shut up, I would consider that a price worth paying.

Lee Ward:

I agree OM, and made the same observation the day after Obama's election.

The gangsters and the guys with their pants hanging around their knees, those that have used excuses like "a black man can't get anywhere in this white world," have had their excuse tree uprooted by President Obama's election.

It's going to make a huge difference in the coming years.

It's going to make a huge difference in the coming years.

I sincerely hope you're right.

Lee Ward:

"I sincerely hope you're right."

Well, gee, I'm a white man. And according to folks like Michael Laprarie and Otto Von Barronmatic us white folks can do no wrong....

...and how dare a man who served on the front lines of the civil rights era, like Reverend Lowery -- how dare he suggest that the white man still has some work to do with respect to civil rights?


how dare he suggest that the white man still has some work to do with respect to civil rights?

Of course he can. And we can all call him a racist, which he is. I don't care what front lines he was on, his little speech was inappropriate for the occasion and racist. If you don't see that it just makes you ignorant.

..and how dare a man who served on the front lines of the civil rights era, like Reverend Lowery -- how dare he suggest that the white man still has some work to do with respect to civil rights?

That's just the thing: old men like Lowery cannot let go of their glory days when they were truly doing the Lord's work in the civil rights movement. But it's no longer 1963, the old Jim Crow laws have long been abolished, and all they're doing now is taking whatever residual racial tension remains and rubbing the wounds to keep them fresh and bleeding.

As such they are no longer advancing the civil rights of Africa-Americans but are rather their biggest hindrance.


Lee, you have got to be kidding me about the "gay" slur thing! Do you really expect anyone to believe that you did not mean "gayest name" as an insult to Baron Von Ottomatic? (I can't tell if you misspell his name for a laugh or because you really don't know how to spell it.) That's just outrageous.

And I don't consider "any mention of the word gay as a slur" - just when it is used as an insult - as you obviously intended (your lame protestations to the side). You obviously feel superior as you (falsely) assume that I don't know any gays ("except my pastor" whom you assume is a pedophile ... btw, do you believe all gays are pedophiles? I'm sure you meant it as a slur against Christians and not against gays.) Well, perhaps I should assume the position of moral authority because not only do I have good friends who are gay, I also know several guys who were once gay and are now living as straight men. Bet you don't know any ex-gays. And I love them all the same. I bet you would really look down on my ex-gay friends in a very similar manner to the way you falsely assume I look down on gays. Just a guess ... tell me if I am wrong. I try not to believe the worst of people.

Just out of curiosity, what exactly is your beef with Christians?

Clinton W. Spence:

Two days before the Inauguration, I heard The Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery deliver the keynote speech for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration at Duke University Chapel, Durham, NC. Dr. Lowery kept his (primarily white) audience laughing for more than half an hour -- as he "spoke truth to power" (and a younger generation) in the best tradition of Biblical Prophecy.

For example, Lowery asked an incoming Obama administration, "When will we stop sending smart bombs on dumb missions?" Likewise, Lowery asked young women, "Why can you not say, 'Uhn't huh' until he says, 'I do.' " In each case, Lowery used colorful comic language to speak against war and premarital sex. (The practices threaten our social, economic fabric.)

I'm a middle-age white male, but I understand what Lowery (and Obama) seem to be telling the nation. Perhaps, old-fashioned values may be what this country needs, to find our way out of the depression that we're suffering. Before the last quarter of 2008, a high percentage of adults were already taking prescription anti-depressants, even as the stock market boomed.

Likewise, a high percentage of our youth were already taking street drugs, even as the job market grew. We have lost our way, due to greed, lust, envy, etc.; now, this economy just reflects a free fall toward a depression, which our earlier psychological, spiritual and ethical symptoms have been warning. (Our nation responded to a message of hope, as the cure!)

The trite answer to this misunderstanding, surrounding Dr. Lowery's benediction, would be, "It's a Black thing; you wouldn't understand." A much deeper understanding requires hard work -- to understand the Black Church including both Lowery and Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- with real empathy. We may learn why the Black community can sing, "We shall overcome."

They know about hard times, tight budgets and making do -- with hope for a better future.

Lee Ward:

Very well said, Clinton. You're a smart fella.

My first impression, was that "oh no", this legend is now too old. But soon his sermon with some memorable passages became a real classic and even upstaged the somber speech by the president in my view.


Look we all know these "conservatives" are afflicted but I think the problem with the tiny minded LaPrarie and the rest of his ilk are that they are quite young and have no historical perspective.

These "conservative" morons probably don't even know who "Big Bill Broonzy" was.


This little song that i'm singin' about,
People you know it's true
If you're black and gotta work for a living,
This is what they will say to you,
They says, "if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, stick around,
But as you's black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back"
I was in a place one night
They was all having fun
They was all buyin' beer and wine,
But they would not sell me none
They said, "if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, stick around,
But if you black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back"
Me and a man was workin' side by side
This is what it meant
They was paying him a dollar an hour,
And they was paying me fifty cent
They said, "if you was white, 't should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But as you black, hmm boy, get back, get back, get back"
I went to an employment office,
Got a number 'n' i got in line
They called everybody's number,
But they never did call mine
They said, "if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But as you black, hmm brother, get back, get back, get back"
I hope when sweet victory,
With my plough and hoe
Now i want you to tell me brother,
What you gonna do about the old jim crow?
Now if you was white, should be all right,
If you was brown, could stick around,
But if you black, whoa brother, get back, get back, get back


I confess to being ignorant of Big Bill Broonzy. And if the fact that Lowry was alluding to an old Broonzy song is supposed to make it all ok and non-racist, then fine. But surely Lowry knew that his allusion would fall flat with 99% of his national and international audience. I teach high school sophomores and on MLK Jr Day, I asked them what they knew about King. They knew three things (and only these three): he was black, he made a speech about a dream and he was shot to death. If they don't even know anything about King, it's not likely they've even heard of Broonzy.



...yet another example of Obama's team not interjecting race into the discussion.

I am white and I take personal offense at someone praying that I will one day embrace what is right. Just like others would take offense if I were to pray that blacks would stop having so many children that DCF has to take away the first 13.


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