Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
Equality. That's what today's inauguration was about. And we have Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to thank for it.
President Obama took his oath of office on two Bibles: one used by Lincoln during his 1861 inauguration, the other the “traveling Bible” of Dr. King. And during his second inaugural address, Obama read U.S. history through the words and actions of these two men.
In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln turned to Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence to argue that the United States was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In his "I Have a Dream" speech, King argued that our national commitment to equality demanded that we emancipate ourselves from segregation as well as slavery.
In his second inaugural address, Obama began with an extended quotation from the Declaration of Independence. At least five times he referred to equality as our common "creed." And he repeatedly challenged his fellow Americans to act on that creed - to turn the United States into King's "beloved community" and Lincoln's vision (borrowed from the Constitution) of "a more perfect union."
The emotional heart of Obama's inaugural address came when the president connected the civil rights struggles of our own time back to Lincoln’s efforts to free the slaves and King’s efforts to end racial segregation. And he included among those struggles the movements for women’s rights, civil rights and gay rights:
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
In other words, the struggles for women's rights (at Seneca Falls), civil rights (at Selma), and gay rights (at Stonewall) are American struggles, efforts to put into practice our "common creed."
Today's inauguration itself also put that creed into practice, featuring a black president, a white vice-president, a gay poet, a Hispanic female justice, a Cuban-American priest, and the first woman to ever deliver an inaugural prayer: civil rights icon Myrlie Evers-Williams.
The monopoly of the English language was also broken twice, once in the poem by Richard Blanco - which included words in Hebrew, Italian, Sanskrit and Spanish - and again in the benediction by Luis Leon, Episcopal rector at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., who asked for God's blessing on the president and vice president in Spanish, then translated it to English. Leon said that, with God's blessing, we can see that all of us - "whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation immigrant American or Daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor" - are made in God's image.
The 2012 election has been widely (and rightly) hailed as a diversity election in which the votes of blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans turned the tide. This was the diversity inauguration. But notice how traditional Obama's address was. Yes, it made the case for gay rights, and it channeled Dr. King. But the words of our 44th president were animated throughout by the vision of our 16th. This was Lincoln's Third Inaugural.
HE IS NOOOOO LINCOLN!!! OR JFK. He is the worst president ever.
Please see my reply to myqjones, below.
Obama took the oath on two Bibles: one used by Lincoln in 1861, the other the “traveling Bible” of Dr. King.
WHAT AN ASTOUNDING PICTURE that is.. Pres. Obama's hand resting on those two bibles. I should frame it.
think about what that one single picture represents.
– First Black President
– Christian President swearing on the bible to uphold the Constitution
– Acknowledging the legacy of two of the greatest human beings ever to have existed, Abraham Lincoln and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
– The evidence that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spent a great deal of time in the word is right in front of you (his traveling bible is the tattered black one on the bottom)
Just how much more of this slobbery gushing over Obama are we going to have to put up with? I knew the liberal media were all having "thrills up their legs" over the inauguration, and we would have an endless run of articles praising him. And, I pretty much expected all the Camelot comparisons, Michelle as a fashion trend setter, etc., etc, etc, ad infinitum, but this out and out worship of his majesty Obama is sickening. Get off your knees, and standup. Obama is just another politician with an agenda, just like any other. Articles like this, is why most of America hates the media, and commentators like this who feed them with junk like this.
Unlike our President Obama and those who recognize his merit, you and your ilk below are clueless about what makes a person, a people and a country great. But you are a fast shrinking minority, and according to the great workings of social natural selection, you will one day vanish entirely from the Earth, as the human race matures and evolves to a higher state of being. Life moved beyond the dinosaurs; so it will be with you. So long and good riddance.
Maybe you are an excellent example of why millions in America hate so called compassionate conservatives like you- why not get a real life and quit listening to the the hate filled waves of right wing radio and faux news. Your man lost- again. Our man won and he is the President; and we love him.
how dare you compare this uncle tom slave party president to Lincoln. it is an insult to those 10's of thousands of brave republicans that died in defense of the Union. the democratic party still feels it is their "white man's burden" to care for those they exploit and in the tokenism of race and gender in their political face, but only their brainwashed followers are racist enough to believe it.
You do realize that the term "republican" in Lincoln's time translates to "Democrat" now right? Think about it, Lincoln was for bigger government and keeping the states from disbanding and having more power, he wanted to radically change society by freeing the slaves and giving equality to people who had never had it before.
Dude, learn your history for a change huh?
Chuckles – "You cannot help the poor by punishing the rich" – Who said that? Lincoln did... Does that sound like anything Obama would say? The two are nothing alike. Lincoln offered the slaves a free boat back to Africa, he had no respect for them. Lincoln said all are created equal – Lincoln did not say "We have to give minorities 20% of the work". Lincoln is rolling over in his grave because of affirmative action (which means we are NOT all created equal).
I read what you wrote – you are comparing apples and oranges. Democrats in Lincolns time wanted to keep the blacks in their little 20% box – just like the Dems of today
What are you talking about? I'm going to ignore the greater part of your post because it's honestly FOX gibberish.
The second part however, about "keeping black people in the 20% box" makes no sense. The Southern Democrats wanted to keep slavery and their main goal (why the civil war started) was because they didnt want the federal government to have more power than the states. That's why, when they created the confederacy, they gave the confederacy even less power than the union and only bound the states together by a common army and some commerce. It was republicans like Lincoln, who were abolitionist, who wanted the government bigger and stronger. On a purely political and fiscal side, Lincoln's republicans would be a modern day democrat, that's not even up for discussion, that's just fact. In terms of social issues, like slavery, women's suffrage et al, the republicans were also liberal, they wanted to do away with slavery, among other things, and convert to economy based on industry and not agriculture. It would be ludacris to say that those republicans would have considered a black president, or a woman, or a gay president or anyone other than a protestant even running as something that was "good" but during they time they definitly had more liberal points of view than their southern democratic brothers down south.
No, Lincoln didn't have the equivalent of the Marine Corps Band of the time and the person singing a patriotic anthem like our national anthem faking and lip synching it as Obama did yesterday. Everything about this administration is smoke and mirrors...
I guess you have no real understanding of history then.
Sad that we settle for this terrible excuse of a President and think he is great.
Ha haha ha ha ha haha!
So you are going to thank your God that he only let Obama win two terms, you know, the maximum number of terms a President can serve...
Religious people are funny :)
It's Lincoln's third inaugural address minus Lincoln's values and beliefs.
Yes, yes, it's terrible that this brown person made it into office. Sucks to be you.
Mr. Professor and his students commented . I shall give you all a D- for being so narrow minded and simplistic.
Mr.Obama wants equality for all just like Mr. Lincoln did. War was needed to ensure this yet it took over two hundred years before freedom and real rights were obtained. Bigotry, racism and feeble minds will always try to halt the road to Freedom.
If Mr.Obama fails in his quest to procure Equality for all, it will be because of the racists, bigots, white supremacists and all who think they are superior. The same ones who made sure Mr.Lincoln 's dream and MLK 's would be fought in every way for them not to be.
As a Professor, you should apologize for this article.
Makes many out to have an inferiority complexion of sordid vernaculars now doesn't it? Without commonly held wordage usages the pros and cons of verbalisms many a folk dares jettison the intellectuals' hindsight. Just the sameness ways that modern calculus meanderings leave most folks in the dustiness trails, the trials of high-minded societal consummations leaves the common allotments of non-intellectuals bare naked without any clothing of discerned sightedness made knowable except for revulsions of bitterness. I am but a child of my embodiment's god and his godly residencies as are all Life embodiments being but buildings of embodied husbandry by their own godly fidelities sakes.
Translation of lionly:
"LOOK AT ME DON'T I SEEM SO SMART?"
Actually, as a Lionly translator, the more literal translation here is "Look! I found a thesaurus!"
"Definition of BIGOT sayz,
: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted...." I'm a Christian which implies I'm devoted to the Word of God, which greatly conflicts with the Hindu hopey changey doctrines of americult's commie mob. The author of that definition is "worldly" and antichrist........."1Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Disenfranchising aren't you three? Stooges that is!
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee: Obama Asks Military Leaders If They Will “Fire On US
Paul Joseph Watson
January 22, 2013
2009 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Jim Garrow shockingly claims he was told by a top
military veteran that the Obama administration’s “litmus test” for new military
leaders is whether or not they will obey an order to fire on U.S. citizens.
Garrow was nominated three years ago for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize and is the
founder of The Pink Pagoda Girls, an organization dedicated to rescuing baby girls
from “gendercide” in China. Garrow has been personally involved in “helping rescue
more than 36,000 Chinese baby girls from death.” He is a public figure, not an
anonymous voice on the Internet, which makes his claim all the more disturbing.
“I have just been informed by a former senior military leader that Obama is using a
new “litmus test” in determining who will stay and who must go in his military
leaders. Get ready to explode folks. “The new litmus test of leadership in the
military is if they will fire on US citizens or not”. Those who will not are being
removed,” Garrow wrote on his Facebook page, later following up the post by adding the
man who told him is, “one of America’s foremost military heroes,” whose goal in
divulging the information was to “sound the alarm.”qqqqqqqqqqqqq
How can you say that about MLK when many of the freedom riders and others who marched along side of MLK feel that Obama is working to completing the Dream. The fact is the racist right wing media types like Rush L, Sean H. & Glenn Beck amongst others are so desperate to have anyone of color join the Nazi white ranks of the defeated GOP that they are pretending MLK's dream was that we all pull ourselves up by our boot straps and care nothing for your neighbor who is suffering from tough times. Remember all you White Supremists NRA Tea Baggers.....MLK was a preacher, he preached helping and working and believing in each other, believing in an American dream for all so we can all build this great country even stronger. It is funny how the empty house of GOP Tea Baggers are finding out now that they are going to be out numbered in EVERY election by persons of color for ever now. So they want to co opt MLK and next they will co opt some womens sufferage hero as one of their own. We all know history shows that Abe Lincoln was a Republican, what history doesnt show is that the Republicans back then supported todays Democrat agenda and vice versa for the Democrats. That is why the "Dixie Crats" of the 50's, 60's and 70's were hated by the rest of the Democrats because they were hold overs from the Civil war era party platform.
Obama is no Lincoln. A third Clinton term would be a better comparison, except for Obama's failed economy anyway.
Sure, but a Clinton term with a Clinton not with Obama. The Dems blew it in 2008 and now they have to make a big deal about history, legacy, principles .. big words that will not solve the economic problems. True equality doesn't exist in bankrupt countries.
NEW see date .
Evolution at its best !
Published on Jan 15, 2013
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome—an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago—but their analysis showed that "we" modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today. In "Decoding Neanderthals," NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. In the traditional view, Neanderthals differed from "us" in behavior and capabilities as well as anatomy. But were they really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA explores a range of intriguing new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, all pointing to the fact that we may have seriously underestimated our mysterious, long-vanished human cousins.
Education works BEST !
So does your DNA, take a blood test and figure it out !
Simple to do OK !
To many Adams and Eves in gene pool for the bible's creation story.
Courts have ruled can't teach creation as fact in public shools in the US.
Means evolution WINS hands dfown, it is time for god(s) religion to get tghe HELL out of the way OK
".....bleak,,,,"? You mean no commie civilizations? No group hugs? No passin' women around? No free food?
And according to these fairy tales, dino soft tissue survived 65 million years ago!
Then where's the extracted DNA that is able to be extracted from fossils dated to be under 100 thousand years old? If the earth is only 10,000 years old this should be fairly easy and common. Your blowing your "evidence" way out of proportion and trying to just make it evidence by using it ad-nauseum.
Here is an excerpt from a more recent article that explains why the findings are still iin dispute and not accepted by the scientific community as a whole.
The unfortunate side story to all the research done so far though, including these latest findings, is that thus far there is no way to definitively prove whether the soft tissue found inside that T. rex bone was in fact a remnant from its original owner, or something that came after. Thus, claims from both those supporting the idea that dinosaur tissue could have survived for millions of years, and those that think it’s nonsense, are likely to continue.
you said l4h the erth is how old? it is many threads on CNN so .......
To L4H would you like to take on the project it might work for you !!!!!
Scientist seeks 'adventurous woman' to have Neanderthal baby
A professor of genetics at Harvard’s Medical School believes he’s capable of bringing the long-extinct Neanderthal back to life - all he’s lacking is the right mother.
Jan 20 2013
@hawaiiguest : If the earth is only 10,000 years old this should be fairly easy and common.
Here's a T-Rex and a Hadrosaur which made the news. Now, put yourself in the evolutionist position. Would you want lots of these types of things published before you could get a reasonable sounding explanation included?
Tyrannosaurus rex femur (MOR 1125)
Proteins, Soft Tissue from 80 Million-Year-Old Hadrosaur Add Weight to Theory that Molecules Preserve Over Time
Not peer reviewed period !!! It is condaminated
To L4H NEWS FLASH see date Jan 21 2013
A Relative from the Tianyuan Cave: Humans Living 40,000 Years Ago Likely Related to Many Present-Day Asians and Native Americans
Jan. 21, 2013 — Ancient DNA has revealed that humans living some 40,000 years ago in the area near Beijing were likely related to many present-day Asians and Native Americans.
@L4H Please see date it says Jan 21 2013
Evolution wins hands down, it is time for god(s) religion to get the HELL out of the way OK
A Relative from the Tianyuan Cave: Humans Living 40,000 Years Ago Likely Related to Many Present-Day Asians and Native Americans
Wow more cherrypicking of my posts. I was specifically talking about DNA extraction, which we can do on fossils thought to be up to 100,000 years old. I thought false witness was a sin?
@hawaiiguest : [concerning dino soft tissue] Are you talking about the Schweitzer discovery?
Yes, Mary was the discoverer of the dino soft tissue in a T-Rex (I think in 'Sue') and then went on to find it in other individuals (T-Rex and herbivores). She found blood vessels, cells, and protein. Other researchers have also found their own specimens. Last I heard, Harvard is trying to carbon-date a specimen (which they still need to obtain).
Last I heard, they are finding it in around 80% of the large fossils, so it is pretty ubiquitous.
Ok first off, nowhere in my research and readings have I found any support for 80% of fossils having this.
Second, the interior of fossils bypassing a permineralization process, thus preserving fragments (what was actually found) is rare but not unheard of.
Third, Carbon dating a specimen is not the only way to date something, and carbon dating is only viable up to a certain point. The specimen as already undergone amino acid racemization and the age has been found to be around the 65 million years expected of a T-Rex fossil.
@hawaiiguest : Ok first off, nowhere in my research and readings have I found any support for 80% of fossils having this.
Keep googling. It is very common. While Mary's research provided the 80% figure that I quoted, I haven't been able to find this since the initial publishing – so you may not be able to find it anymore. However, other scientists are doing their own research on their own specimens – which shows the ubiquitous nature of the issue.
@hawaiiguest : Second, the interior of fossils bypassing a permineralization process, thus preserving fragments (what was actually found) is rare but not unheard of.
After the movie Jurassic Park, scientists pointed out that the internal chemical bonds would breakdown – regardless of the preservation process – within 10,000 years in a temperate environment. Second, these are not "fragments", but whole cells and flexible tissue.
@hawaiiguest : Third, Carbon dating a specimen is not the only way to date something, and carbon dating is only viable up to a certain point.
That's right! Carbon dating is limited to 50,000 years (which is why I mentioned the carbon dating issue in the first place), so Harvard obviously thinks that dinos lived less than 50,000 years ago.
It must be hard work to be so willfully ignorant.
"Keep googling. It is very common. While Mary's research provided the 80% figure that I quoted, I haven't been able to find this since the initial publishing – so you may not be able to find it anymore. However, other scientists are doing their own research on their own specimens – which shows the ubiquitous nature of the issue."
1) Give me sites and statistics
2) Very vague assertions of "some scientists" are doing research on some "specimens" don't really tell me anything.
"After the movie Jurassic Park, scientists pointed out that the internal chemical bonds would breakdown – regardless of the preservation process – within 10,000 years in a temperate environment. Second, these are not "fragments", but whole cells and flexible tissue."
Any citations? As far as I've seen, they've seen the outlines of what used to be blood vessels, and all these things were not soft and pliable right out of the bone, they had to be treated first.
"That's right! Carbon dating is limited to 50,000 years (which is why I mentioned the carbon dating issue in the first place), so Harvard obviously thinks that dinos lived less than 50,000 years ago."
How cute that you ignore the part where I pointed out the T-Rex specimen has undergone amino acid racemization and it has confirmed the age of the fossil to be around 65 million years as expected. You're talking about using only a single dating method that isn't viable, not to mention I have found absolutely no corroboration of Harvard wanting a specimen to use carbon dating like you claim.
Beats the 3d Inauguration of a Bush any day of the week.
Americult has morphed from some great ideas into what exists. Remember this, "Dan 4:17 This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."..........Base seems to be the operative.
The height of hypcrisy and deceit by the left – surprise surprise. Constantly trying to tie this failure to Lincoln, FDR or JFK is yet more of the same from the merchants of deceit. The reality is an overwhelming majority of registered voters DID NOT vote for obama, most of his policies have NOT received a majority support and the reality is abc/cnn/cbs/nbc/nyt et al lied, deceived or ignored legitimate information, etc. to push THEIR IDEOLOGY and created an atmosphere where a majority of American disengaged out of disgust.
His speech was nothing more than that of an activist – a far left activist that the unethical, unprofessional media has tried to convince the American people is moderate! Sooner or later the media will be held accountable for their breach of the public trust – I can't wait!
And let me guess, FOX is the only reputable mainstream news source and Limbaugh is a pillar of tolerance and fairness right?
Yeah, the mediums ignore dirty deeds done dirt cheap in Chitown.
FOX actually did do a better job than anyone. I flipped around them all. And, before your head explodes, no they didn't say a negative word. They were extremely complimentary of Obama, Michelle and the entire proceedings.
Which FOX news were you watching? They called inauguration the most depressing day of they year, they called Obama a socialist almost immediately after Obama mentioned the words "collective work going forward".
Meanwhile, O'Reily went on a tirade about how Obama hates "white priviledge" and how he wants to keep the white man down and create a new era he will target only white people on taxes, gun control et al.
Keep drinking the Kool-Aid buddy. You are totally right that somehow even though Obama won the popular vote and the electoral college (handily I might add), Mitt Romney was clearly the better candidate right? I mean, he only had to restart his campaign a couple of times, said outrageous things about "47%" of the country, was a coward and a flip flopper on most issues and refused to sa how he would fix the economy in any viable way (I mean hey, even Herman Cain had his 999 plan).
You really believe that the country voted Obama in because they loved him so much? Don't get me wrong, I supported Obama because I agree with most of his policies but lets be clear here, Obama won because people didn't like Mitt Romney. It's the same reason Bush II won over Kerry. Kerry was a crap candidate, not because Bush was a good president.
Wondering if the author of this piece is gay.
The only reason you should care if he was, is if you are interested.
Obma is a flip flopper. Obama opposed gay marriage as recently as a few years ago. I wonder why the media doesn't use the phrase flip flopper when referring to President Perfect?
And...if the author is gay, what difference would that make?
That's a flip. So far there hasn't been a flop. That's why no one is calling him one. He articulated pretty well the reasons that he changed his mind. Or isn't he allowed to think, analyze evidence and come to a different conclusion?
You have it absolutely right! And Lincoln divided the nation and drove us to war with each other – Obama is following right in those footsteps!
Do conservatives ever take responsiblity for ANYTHING?
"Do conservatives ever take responsiblity for ANYTHING?"
No. They believe they get a free pass from their God to do as they please and blame everyone else for their failures.
you are the only analyst who got it right stephen.
Turns out Beyonce's singing and the Marine Band's playing of the National Anthem was about as live as Lincoln, too.
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.