By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
(CNN)– The widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and an Atlanta pastor will deliver the invocation and benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration January 21, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday.
The committee said in a statement that the president was involved in selecting Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation and the Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of the Passion City Church, to deliver the benediction.
Obama said he and Vice President Joe Biden are honored to have the two participate in the inaugural ceremony.
"Their voices have inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond. Their careers reflect the ideals that the vice president and I continue to pursue for all Americans - justice, equality, and opportunity," the president's statement continued.
Evers-Williams' work and life is an example for the nation, said a source close to the planning of the inauguration. "Following her husband's murder she worked tirelessly not only for justice for his murder but for justice for the nation as well," the source said.
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Giglio, a pastor and the leader of the Passion Movement, was chosen because he's a "powerful voice for ending human trafficking and global sex slavery" and due to his work in mobilizing young people in that effort, said the source.
The official swearing-in of the president and the vice president will take place on Sunday, January 20, in keeping with the constitutional requirement. A public ceremonial swearing-in will take place Monday, January 21 on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
This year, the inauguration falls on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which officials told CNN played into the selections of Evers-Williams and Giglio.
Evers-Williams' husband, Medgar Evers, was the NAACP's Mississippi field secretary when he gunned down in the driveway of their Jackson, Mississippi, home in 1963. Evers-Williams went on to chair the NAACP from 1995-1998 and has remained a tireless advocate for civil rights.
"I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States - especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement," she said in a statement from the inaugural committee. "It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era."
Giglio is a rising voice in evangelical Christianity. Friday, the Passion conference wrapped up its annual event for college students in Atlanta, with more than 60,000 students attending and vowing to end global slavery. They raised $3 million for charities that work to stop slavery and aid its victims.
"It is my privilege to have the opportunity to lead our nation in prayer at the upcoming inauguration," Giglio said.
"During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one. And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker. May we all look up to our God, from whom we can receive mercy, grace and truth to strengthen our lives, our families and our nation. I am honored to be invited by the President to lead our nation as we look up to God, and as we look ahead to a future that honors and reflects the One who has given us every good and perfect gift," he added, in the statement released by the committee.
An official close to the inauguration speaking on background said the president viewed the selections as "spiritual and not political."
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"I think it's a poignant thing for the ceremony to open with someone who to many folks in the country symbolizes courage but also some of the rough times we've been through as a country," the official said. "To close with a pastor from the South who is fighting modern slavery in this generation, I think there's a poignancy to that that shouldn't be missed."
"Both individuals meet the moment," the source said.
Obama has highlighted Giglio's Passion movement several times in the past year. He mentioned the movement of young evangelicals against slavery in his 2012 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Giglio was also a participant at Obama's annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Most recently, the president noted the work of Passion in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.
My invisible pink unicorn is praying that ya'all get a clue.
Sadly, your pink unicorn will walk on this world before they ever do.
"remember atheist communism has killed more people in the 20th century alone"
Wow, ignorance abounds! First of all, atheism has nothing to do with communism; the two are mutually exclusive. Secondly, prove it.
While the OP is a crackpot who doesn't know history, it is false to say that communism and atheism are mutually exclusive. They are not dependent on one another in most forms, but that is very different from "mutually exclusive".
Marx did say, I think, that religion is the opiate of the people, and he was correct in saying so. The USSR was formally an atheist nation. Stalin may have ordered the killing of over 20 million people. Atheism has no beliefs, so Stalin did not kill them because he was an atheist. He killed them because he had no regard for human life. Dictators are no, by and large, nice people.
I dont understand why a person that is Atheist gets mad when someone says something about prayer, does not mean they have to pray. It is that person option to pray just as someones option not to pray. Why do we have to fight over every persons option or opinion
Probably because you can't even stick to your own rules.
Matthew 6:5-6: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret...."
I grew up in the Christian faith and now I am a non-believer, after many years of research and introspection. It really bothers me when today's Christians don't bother to learn their own faith, because they're usually trying to push it on everyone else.
You said, "I dont understand why a person that is Atheist gets mad when someone says something about prayer, does not mean they have to pray."
The inauguration is that of the President of the United States, not one of some religious office. Having a speaker for the specific purpose of talking to their imaginary friend(s), is an insult to everyone who happens to have different imaginary friends, or none at all, because it conveys a message of acknowledgement for that/those imaginary friend(s). By inviting prayer at this event, large sections of citizens are specifically excluded.
While I understand that a large number of people can't manage to tie their shoes without asking for guidance from their imaginary friends, and would like to feel the President is "one of them", they have no right to have their delusion elevated to special status. If the President feels it necessary to appease the religious dimwits, he is free to attend a private service provided by those dimwits, on his own time.
You said, "It is that person option to pray just as someones option not to pray."
Yup. You are free to do that in you own home or church. Have at it. Your delusion has no place in a secular society.
You said, "Why do we have to fight over every persons option or opinion"
You are free to practice your delusions and rituals in the privacy of your own home. You are not free to waste a minute of my time with it, or a penny of the taxes that I pay.
@LinCA well said my friend, well said.
The illusory envisioning of the mental concepts towards anyone's visionary stance is within any and all culminated austerities consciences giving rises of and toward manipulative societal pragmatisms of vitriol accolades' enticements within variable commencements begrudging commonwealths.
If I am and you are, while others will be, just who are they in becoming? Where then does the sandy drawn line end if there is always a line to so be drawn upon? I see many points while few a sharpened and many be dull, the masses of the venerated pointed may always become dulled with the passing ages. Who become the winners of societal easing fundaments and who become the fundaments lost?
LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect so just laugh and move on.
How would you feel if you were in an audience and the speaker said, "Let us all crouch into a crawling position and ask Allah to guide us."
A doctor, who specializes in skin diseases, will dream he has fallen asleep in front of the television. Later, he will wake up in front of the television, but not remember his dream. Would you agree?
If all the animals along the equator were capable of flattery, then Thanksgiving and Halloween... would fall... on the same day. When I was four years old, I watched my mother kill a spider... with a teacosy. Years later, I realized it was not a spider – it was my Uncle Harold. Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars fill my dreams. I am a traveler in both time and space, to be where I have been.
If America is "one nation under God," why does America leaders send troops overseas to kill?
God said, "Thou shalt not kill."
Are America's leaders a higher authority than its God?
Christians and the Church have killed a lot of people over they centuries. They have all kinds of theological rationalizations. They figure that the non-violence rule only applies to people who go to their church. So, Catholics can kill Protestants with a clean conscience, but if you kill a Catholic, THEN you go to hell.
Yes, they think they are.
The new F-35 fighter plane maybe
remember atheist communism has killed more people in the 20th century alone
what do you expect. the christian god is a mass murderer himself. just read the bible
This is how stupid Christians are no one has killed in the name of atheism. Its fun to see Christians can't even follow their own rule book with these lies.
Seperation of Church and State !
The courts have also ruled ID/creationism can't be taught in public schools in US.
26 states have created new (STEM) science standards for 2013.
Don't forget it !
Death is the unavoidable experience that we all will face. Some choose to believe in a "higher power" and the after life that religion (which ever one you choose) offers. Others choose to believe in science and "common sense". Regardless of which one embraces for comfort; death reveals the true comfort one has. How comfortable are you with death?
We all gotta go sooner or later. There is no reason to spend a lifetime wringing our hands about it. Personally, I don't believe that my consciousness will survive death. I am my brain. When my brain stops thinking, I stop existing.
If others want to believe something else, that's fine with me. Just keep it to yourself.
@ EL FLACO – why should I keep my beliefs to myself while you spout YOURS here? Why do you think your beliefs can be posted, but not mine? You are BUSTED as being INTOLERANT.
It's always interesting to me that ATHEISTS are some of the most INTOLERANT people I meet. Shame on them, but then they have no guiding morals, so it's no suprise, really.
" Shame on them, but then they have no guiding morals, so it's no suprise, really."
More lies from the xtians, typical of these hypocrites.
El Flaco, why should we keep it to ourselves? You didn't...
@ PETE – yet another (boring) INTOLERENT ATHIEST. Thanks for proving my point.
Everyone should pray after this election...Hard!
Prayer is a waste of time.
I prayed that Obama would win, and he did. I guess prayer works.
It had nothing to do with prayer, it's called votes. What an idiot.
@Pete: How do you know this to be true?
"How do you know this to be true?"
You seriously don't know how a President is elected in this country? LOL! Time to go back to grade school.
Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer – New ...
Mar 31, 2006 – Prayers by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large study has found.
You said, "Everyone should pray after this election...Hard!"
I would suggest that for the next election, instead of voting, those that truly believe prayer does anything do so. Because, by both voting and praying, you are implicitly stating you have doubts about the effectiveness of prayer.
So, since studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between religiosity and the way people vote (in the US, the more religious someone is, the more likely he or she is to vote Republican), I propose the following. At the next major election (2014 mid terms), those who would otherwise have voted for Republican candidates only pray for them, and those that would vote for Democrats vote. All voters who prefer third party candidates can choose to vote or pray, or both.
To remove the temptation to cheat, I suggest we remove Republican candidates from all ballots.
May the best method win.
I don't understand the atheists out there. If the President was elected, he wants prayer, he gets prayer. Why don't you see an Atheist running for president?
Some people are atheists. Some are agnostic. Some simply don't care about or think about religion one way or the other.
All three groups have learned that we have to humor the religious people among us. It's sort of like humoring a child. You just smile and nod your head.
Because an atheist would never be electable in this country? If you don't believe in the same mumbo jumbo as the majority of Americans, don't count on getting many votes.
EL FLACO – condescending and INTOLERANT AGAIN. Your bias is showing.
We have to humor the religious people among us. We have to pretend to accept the validity of their beliefs, no matter what we really think about them. The alternative is to fight with them.
As long as they keep their beliefs mostly to themselves, I'm ok with it. I keep my beliefs mostly to myself as well.
In my mind, I'm thinking, "Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy."
Keep their beliefs to themselves? You are asking HISTORY to be changed because of your belief.
Lord Obama does not need to continue this farce of his belief in God or any higher being than himself. He won the election, he can stop his hypocrisy at any time now.
If a Christian insists on telling me about his or her beliefs, then I will tell him or her about my beliefs.
If I sneeze and someone says, 'God bless you.' I say, 'Thank you.'
Demo, why do you assert that?
Say the same but I close with do you have a kleenex?
I am reading your comment and in my mind I am also thinking crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy. I hope that is enough crazies to match yours.
...And you will have an eternity to remember what you said!
What proof do you have?
They can pray away but Americans are all bo's victims.
Once your brain stops working, you can't remember anything.
Religion is personal and should not be on perverted display like this. A civil rights activist? What the hell is that?
"When you pray, go by yourself and pray alone, so noone sees you but the Father, who is also unseen. The Father will reward you and bestow blessings upon you in public."
Way to take scripture out of context. We are not only to pray in private, we are also to pray as the Church.
No two Christians can agree on the meaning of a single verse in the Bible.
El Flaco, your statement is 100% false. Therefore, anything you say is in doubt.
Your objection to Public Prayer is negated by your objection of a "Civil Rights Activist" giving it.
You act as if there is no public praying – check NCAA sports, the Major Leagues and every person who has ever won anything!!
"I'd first like to thank my savior..."
Bruce, do you not see that mm disagrees with you on the interpretation of the verse?
El Flaco, what is your point?
El Flacko, actually mm and I don't disagree on the meaning of the verse. But I'd say we do disagree on the application of the verse. mm implies that this verse is stating that this is the ONLY way that prayer should be done, in private. I, on the other hand, viewing the verse in the context where it was written, understand that Jesus is teaching his followers that they shouldn't pray or give to the needy JUST to be recognized for doing so, for that is the wrong reason. And besides, your statement claims that out of the entire group of all Christians, not 2 can be found who agree on a verse. That is a very wide brush to paint with, and I would argue that in fact, it would be easy to find 2 Christians who do in fact agree on at least 1 version out of the entire bible.
That should have been "at least 1 VERSE", not version.
If you atheists are right, no problem. If you're wrong, eternity is a HELL of a long time to be wrong.
What if there's no god and no eternity either?
Then the atheists are in good shape Paul. But like I said, if they're wrong, after they die is too late.
"eternity is a HELL of a long time to be wrong."
Why do you worship a God that would torture millions of people for eternity?
Bruce, you're assuming if we're wrong, that means you're right. Maybe we're both wrong. Maybe Hindus are right. Maybe Jews are right. Maybe Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, or the John Frum cult is right. In some of those alternatives, we would both go to hell. I lose as much sleep at night worrying about your religion being the correct one as you do about these other religions being correct.
Rick, because I believe that man was created by God without sin, and by sinning, man deserves death. Through the blood of Jesus Christ and God's grace, we are forgiven for our sins and guaranteed an eternity in Heaven with our Lord. Once again I state, if atheists are right and there is no God and no eternity, then no problem, all is well. If they're wrong, they will pay the ultimate price for all of eternity.
Ok nathanjreese, then all is well and good in your world, keep on doing what you're doing, it's fine with me.
I don't need you to preach at me answer the question how can you worship a God that will torture millions (it probably is billions by now) of people for eternity?
Rick, how did I preach? I told you what I believe and answered the question. Were you expecting something else?
So you believe your God is a loving God even though it tortures millions (billions) of people for eternity?
Then you are mentally sick. Then you would agree Hitler was a loving man?
You're asking me to judge God's behavior as compared to Hitler? I start from the belief that ALL man deserves to spend eternity in hell. Therefore, God shows His love by giving us a path to eternal salvation. And yes, this was even available to Hitler.
" I start from the belief that ALL man deserves to spend eternity in hell."
Wow that is sick, you are mentally sick person. You are equivalent to Hitler.
I'm sorry this bothers you Rick.
If atheism is good enough for Lord Obama, it is good enough for me. If Lord Obama actually believes in god he wouldn't have been spewing his hate, class envy and abominable lies that he uttered during the election.
No, all you've shown is why Christianity creates mentally sick people and brings such negativity into our society. The fact you can't see it is disgusting. We all know Hitler was evil for burning people and the same thing could be said about the God you worship. It's an evil God for torturing people for eternity for not "loving" it.
I'm sorry you see it that way Rick. If you are right and there is no God, then you've nothing to worry about.
No, what I am worried about is that sick people like you exist in our society. Our society would be so much better off without your negativity. You're the one trying to tell us we will end up in hell for eternity for not believing like you do. The fact you can't see that as being sick. That would be like telling us we all deserve to burn in Hitlers furnaces. Oh, but when you put it in the context of your "God" it's ok. You're sick.
Rick, I'm not asking you to believe anything. I'm telling you what I believe. I believe that if I don't accept Jesus as my saviour, then I'm damned to hell for eternity. What you choose to believe is entirely up to you, and I respect that. If I tell you that I can't drink beer because I have a drinking problem and I would do irresponsible things if I drank, do you feel that I'm telling you not to drink too? I'm not. And negativity, really? I think that the message of redemption and salvation is an extremely positive message.
I don't worship a God that would torture millions of people for eternity. I worship a God that provided a Savor so I won't have to spend eternity without him.
" If you're wrong, eternity is a HELL of a long time to be wrong."
We're talking about this statement. You believe all people belong in hell first, that's sick. When dealing with others that don't believe as you do the typical Christian response is we'll burn in this hell. That's a sick response.
"I don't worship a God that would torture millions of people for eternity. I worship a God that provided a Savor so I won't have to spend eternity without him."
Your religion states that if a person doesn't believe in your God and savior they will be tortured for eternity in hell, it's what you originally implied too. Only 30% of people on this planet believe in your God, that means the other 70% will be tortured in hell according to your beliefs. That's sick.
I can't argue with you there Rick. Does it change how I treat you as a fellow human being? No, of course not, or if it does, that certainly isn't my intention.
"And yes, this was even available to Hitler"
Pretty ironic considering hitler was a a christian who believed he was doing god's work.
Demo, stop lying. Your guy lost. Put your big boy pants on, suck it up, deal with it. But stop lying. It makes you look as if you've just got done sucking off Rush Limbaugh while O'Reilly was on to provide backround noise.
derp, somebody claiming to be Christian doesn't make it so.
Hey rick because he is that powerful, what else are you going to do? Deny that you exist?
Really montyross what proof do you have?
Rick, not that I want to argue or anything, but things are slow at work for the moment, so here I am :) As far as proof goes, I think it actually takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in God, or a supreme being in general. In order to prove something false, all one needs to do is find ONE case where the statement or belief is false. So, I say to you, I believe in God, so prove to me that he does not exist. In order to do that, you must go to the ends of the universe and find some proof that he does not exist. You must check everything everywhere, in an infinite universe. You can not do this, it is impossible. So while it is impossible for you to prove that God does not exist, you can not conclude that he does NOT exist, just because you don't find proof of His existence. Make sense?
And Bruce goes round and round in a circle. Typical xtians.
Just stating facts and using logic.
Bruce there are no facts or logic in your statement. What an idiot.
A simpler example: If I say that all whales are green, this is easy for you to disprove, all you need to do is find 1 whale that isn't green, and my theory is proven false. On the other hand, if I say there are green whales, you not being able to find one does not disprove my statement. I don't have to prove that there ARE green whales, but rather, you must prove that there are NOT green whales. FWIW, I'm assuming there aren't any green whales known to exist. Perhaps I should have said clear whales?
Bruce by your stupid logic then all things can exists, pink elephants, Tinkerbell, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny. You fail miserably at logic, go back to school and get a REAL education.
Only because I get tired of the "how can you worship a God who sends people to hell for all eternity" commentary. Look, God doesn't SEND anyone to hell, as his creation (having free will and the knowledge that his Word and love for us) we have a CHOICE to make. We either accept his gift of grace (given through the sacrifice of his son and our Saviour Jesus Christ) or we don't. Not accepting that gift means you have turned your back on the offer...which means if people go to hell...they have chosen that for themselves by rejected God's gift of grace. Scripture is clear about the consequence of such a choice.
When you choose to disobey the speed limit and get caught, your choice is the only thing that got you into trouble...not the law...not the police officer writing the ticket...your choice.
My comments aren't for the atheist or hatemonger...so I won't bother with those comments. My comments are for those who may be looking for something more than the choices they are currently making in their lives.
Pete, it's not my logic, I'm just repeating what I've learned, sorry it rubs you the wrong way.
So Bob when Hitler burned people in the furnaces for not believing in him, not "choosing" him we all knew that it was pure evil. The fact that brainwashed people like you can't see the evil in torturing people for all eternity is sick.
Bruce you're just showing the stupidity of your religion.
FWIW, here's an interesting article about logic, the type used to argue for and against the existence of God:
This is pure politics.
And what's not politics?? If he had no one pray, there would be a major hissy fit about the country going to the devil!!
Talking to imaginary friends on public.
If there was such a being would it have allowed the CT massacre to happen, or the one in Aurora ?
Give it up. We are on our own.
Too bad politicians can't / won't dispense with their religious shamans and charlatans, but they do have to keep their delusional supporters onside, and avoid upsetting their opponents.
The only prayer worth saying:
The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
Don't forget this
No g-od roaming around 244 MILLION years ago, according to bible the Earth isn't that old.
A fossil skeleton found in central Nevada's desert years ago has been identified as belonging to a 30-foot-long sea monster that ruled beneath the waves 244 million years ago.
Niknak. A good question, that. I think it has to be more 'tradition' than not. An oath given is supposed to be on one's honor. Given the way pols are, they don't care anything about religion ( they have little honor), unless it gives them votes. It is merely a tool for them. There may be a few who really believe, but I'd bet most give lip service, and put in a appearance for the public's sake\ and their "image."
The words "so help me god" are NOT, repeat, NOT part of the Presidential oath of office. Legend has it that Washington said it after his oath, and thus a tradition was born. No bible is needed at all to take the oath.
Lip service and covering back door..
From my experience, it appears the vast majority of "believers" only give lip service to their religion.
Religion is a national farce.
Seperation of Church and State !
The courts have also ruled ID/creationism can't be taught in public schools in US
26 states have created new (STEM) science stadards for 2013
Oops forgot the n in standards
Here is just another example of our nation NOT following the seperation of chruch and state.
Why do we require a prayer at our presidential inauguration?
Is it required?
Separation of church and state is what is required. By law.
When GOD judges you you are going to feel so bad about the things you have said against the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST
ttt2012. Ahhahaha. You made a funny. Empty threats from a 'believer.' Poor deluded person. Proxy threats are the signs of a desparate person with no facts to back up the threat.
I'm sorry "truth truth truth 2012", but "GOD" and "CHRIST" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
"When GOD judges you you are going to feel so bad about the things you have said against the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST"
And when god judges you you are going to wish you had followed the teachings of the allmighty Muhammed.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.