In Prayer, Warren Calls for Tolerance

January 21, 2009

Author: Suzanne Sataline

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Rev. Rick Warren, by invoking the name of Jesus as he's known in several faiths, heralded the historic presidency Tuesday of an African-American man elected by Americans of multiple races, ethnicities and cultures.

Mr. Warren, one of the country's most prominent evangelical ministers, referred to Jesus in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish and English in his inauguration prayer, and added: "Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.''

Mr. Warren's prayer not only asked for blessings for Barack Obama and his family, but emphasized tolerance and forgiveness -- urging his countrymen to overcome their disagreements and to unite behind their mutual goals, with humility and civility.

"When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us," he said. "When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us."

Mr. Warren made his blessing distinctly Christian by mentioning his saviour, Jesus, a departure from previous more-ecumenical inaugural prayers delivered by the Rev. Billy Graham. But Mr. Warren gave his words a multi-faith hue by invoking the Christian figure as he is referred to in other faiths.