How Many White Men Does it Take . . . ?

OK, the answer is–whatever the punchline–

That’s not funny!

I was going to ask, “How many white men does it take to say a bland and boring prayer?” But it turns out that white guys are more sensitive than I realized.

Some of my brethren were offended and hurt by the Rev. Joseph Lowery’s rhyming conclusion to his inaugural benediction.

That’s right, the same people who are afraid that Hate Crime legislation might stifle their freedom of speech, the good ol’ boys who laughed at all the wrong places in Gran Tourino, the gentlemen who can sling around racist and sexist remarks and then respond to anyone who raises an eyebrow–

Oh, I forgot–it’s not politically correct (snicker) to say that!

All my rowdy buddies might not be able to enjoy Superbowl Sunday, because their feelings have been hurt, their inner child wounded.

And what were the offending words? Well, it was more what he implied than what he said . . . But when Rev. Lowery implored the Lord to help–

White embrace what is right–

why some sensitive souls took that to suggest that maybe some white folks some of the time might not always embrace what is right.

Surely he wasn’t thinking of way back in 2008 when crowds at Republican campaign rallies shouted, “Kill him!” when Obama’s name was mentioned.  That’s living in the past, man.  Why can’t he get over it?

Me? I can’t shoot a jump shot and I can’t dance, but I do have a sense of humor.  Lowery’s rhyming cadences were a light-hearted reminder that the times are a’changing, but there are still some  changes needed.  It made the prayer, colorful, even fun.  The two prayers that were broadcast, and the one that HBO censored, represented the diversity (sorry white guys, didn’t mean to offend you again) that makes up our country.

(Click here for the text of Lowery’s Inaugural Benediction.)

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2 Responses

  1. Ok, I stumbled across your blog and I’ve read some of your writings. Through the sarcasm I’ve come to understand that you’re a big Obama supporter. Great for you, we would certainly disagree on MANY issues, however I respect your right to support whomever you choose. HOWEVER, I do have to comment on this particular post because I feel that your words are a little harsh, especially the part about a “bland and boring prayer.”

    I’ve read the text of Mr. Lowery’s prayer, and it was very thoughfully done, but may I remind you before you talk about his prayer being colorful or “fun”, of a scripture in Ecclesiastes 5, which I have held near and dear in my heart as I approach God in prayer: “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in Heaven and you are on the earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.”

    Just a reminder, if you heard me pray, (yes, I’m white, and proud of my heritage as well), you may call my prayers boring or bland, but I certainly hope that you would never be able to say that I wasn’t reverant, although I’m sure that I have been before. I’m not sure that having “a good sense of humor” is a prerequisite for real prayer.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, please try not to STOMP all over the toes of those who share different political views than you do, isn’t that what’s so great about the “diversity” you talked about? I happen to believe that Obama may not be so “right” for our country. Is it wrong for me to be a bit concerned that a rhyming, comedic minister is trying to persuade me to believe that he is right?

  2. Hey Brandon,

    It’s good to hear from you again.

    I realize sarcasm can be dangerous, and sometimes I go to far. I will try to speak in plainer language most of the time.

    I meant for the post to be humorous, but maybe it sounds more bitter than I meant it to be.

    I respect those who did not vote for Obama because of convictions, especially pro-life convictions. I think it is a great thing that most people voted for Obama or McCain based on political convictions rather than on race. Of course there were exceptions.

    I heard Gary Dorien speak a few weeks before the election. He mentioned meeting with young campaign workers for Obama, and described the horrible racist remarks and vicious threats they were exposed to. We all saw on TV the crowds shouting “Kill him.”

    Senator McCain was decent enough to try to restrain his supporters. But I don’t think we can say yet that all who are white embrace what is right. For that reason I think Mr. Lowery’s prayer was appropriate, and I think it is disingenuous for white people to claim to be offended by the prayer.

    The inauguration of a new president is a solemn occasion. I suppose it is a matter of taste as to how far one who leads in prayer should use humor on such an occasion. I wonder what Wayne Smith would say on that subject.

    I am surrounded by Christians who are certain that God is a Republican. I know people (a quiet minority) in my own church who feel alienated by that kind of talk. Most of the time I keep quiet. Sometimes I feel the need to speak up.

    I have heard distortions and near paranoid delusions of Obama’s positions, policies, and personal beliefs. There are still people spreading rumors that he is some kind of stealth Muslim militant pretending to be a Christian. Obviously, there are many issues on which Christians disagree with one another, and the church in which Barack Obama responded to God’s claim on his life and in which he chose to profess his faith in Christ, belongs to a fellowship that is more liberal on many theological issues than the churches with which I normally associate. I think it has also been historically true that congregations with a majority of African-American members have been theologically conservative and politically progressive, regardless of denominational affiliation. From what I know, it was within such a congregation that Barack Obama began his walk with Christ.

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