A Prayer In Baltimore

Although I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, I do want his presidency to be successful. However, as the public celebratory events started on the weekend prior to Obama’s inauguration, I have to admit that I wasn’t drawn to join in the celebration. In fact, I found myself going into sort of an “auto-tune-out” mode. I suspect I’m not alone in this. However, I really do want to be supportive of the Obama administration where I can and I want to encourage others to do likewise so, while my reaction is probably pretty natural, I want to be on guard about it.

I guess this is just one of those situations that, growing up in Indiana, we would define as, “Says Easy but Does Hard.” Thankfully, something broke through my “auto-tune-out” that I’m finding to be helpful on the “Does” part. It took place on the Saturday prior to the inauguration, as the Obama Train, making it’s way to Washington, D.C., made a stop in Baltimore. Prior to Obama’s introduction, to speak at Baltimore’s War Memorial Plaza, Dr. Walter Scott Thomas, of Baltimore’s New Psalmist Baptist Church, strode to the podium, to open the ceremony in prayer. I’ve only been able to find one link for a video of Dr. Thomas’ prayer and its incomplete, but here are the highlights that caught my attention:

  • Dr. Thomas started by asking everyone to join hands.
  • He expressed his thanks to God for things we’re all blessed with, as Americans.
  • He asked for God’s blessing of, protection of and guidance of the incoming President.
  • He closed, “In the name of Your Son and our Savior.”

“Faith & Family are my priorities.” That’s the statement I use, in beginning my Twitter Profile. Knowing that, offers understanding of why that prayer managed to break through my “auto-tune-out”. Since my Twitter Profile goes on to describe me as “A Bleeding-Heart Conservative”, that should, likewise, help provide understanding that I still wasn’t drawn to join in the celebration. But it did help me gain perspective on how I can actually go about being “supportive of the Obama administration where I can”. Surely, Obama had a hand in selecting Dr. Thomas to offer this opening-prayer. Just as there are many issues where I don’t support Barack Obama, I might find that to be true of Dr. Thomas. But I support what Dr. Thomas lifted up in prayer and I support Barack Obama, in choosing Thomas for that role. I see this much the same as I did Obama’s invitation to Pastor Rick Warren, to participate in the inauguration. That invitation and its acceptance, was criticized both from the Left and from the Right. Though I’m not a Rick Warren fan, per se, we’re in fundamental agreement on doctrine so, I’m pleased to know that this will be a part of the inaugural … especially considering the “Wright” choice that Obama might have made.

Though I do want to be “supportive of the Obama administration where I can” I’m not expecting to be found out in the public square in the near future singing Kumbaya with those who did vote for Obama. There are many issues where I’m in disagreement with our incoming President. None is more significant than our differences on abortion. When and if the Obama administration becomes proactive with their pro-abortion attitude, you can look for me to oppose that as strenuously as I know how. But, as a Conservative, I don’t think we are doing our best for those who share our views or for our country, if opposition is all we put forward. I agree with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham when he speaks against “playing Gotcha Politics” (though I don’t think challenging the Geithner appointment necessarily falls into that category).

My hope with this, in general, is much the same as what I’ve stated in earlier posts – e.g., America’s 21st Century Civil War. In that posting, I stated that, “Unfortunately, our nation has drifted away from … a quality that made us great in the first place. Some think of it as Yankee ingenuity. I say its a greater strength that comes from the synergy of the best of our differing ideas.” That’s a perspective I want to maintain. Hearing Dr. Thomas’ Prayer in Baltimore has helped me to do that. Whether or not you share my views, I recommend taking time to check out the video link I’ve highlighted above and then give some added thought to how you, as an individual, can add to that “greater strength”.

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