Re "Invocation draws mixed reviews," Jan. 21
The Times says Rick Warren's inaugural invocation got "mixed reviews" -- he mollified gay-rights supporters and yet dared to invoke the name of Jesus and utilize the Lord's Prayer.
This is a mixed-up critique. To whom is prayer offered? Where in the Bible (or any sacred Scripture) does prayer to a deity require pleasing supporters of gay rights? Where do Scriptures affirm that prayers to God should appease atheists?
The Bible does offer a litmus test for prayers to be acceptable to the Father. It is that they be offered in the name of Jesus, the Christ, who alone is the mediator between God and people. To pray apart from appealing to Jesus is simply no longer Christian. Would detractors truly prefer a pastor to be disingenuous?
A proper review of anyone's prayer would be chiefly concerned with whether it was received by God.
Any politically correct considerations are not merely secondary, they are unfounded.
Listening to Warren on Tuesday, as a gay man I was not at all distressed by the text of the invocation. As a non-Christian, however, I was offended by his calling this blessing on the new president and the country "in the name of ... Jesus" and then including the Lord's Prayer.
Religious leaders -- of any faith -- must come to understand that at any secular or governmental event (and especially one of so high a stature as the inauguration of a president) the imposition of any specific theology or deity name is inappropriate at best. The United States is not a theocracy, no matter how much the Christian right would have it otherwise.
Far better was the benediction by the Rev. Joseph Lowery, an all-encompassing blessing notable for its inclusion, rather than exclusion, of people of all faiths.