Outrage is erupting over the inauguration benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery, an 87-year-old civil rights pioneer, for asking God to help mankind work for a day when “white would embrace what is right.”

Lowery, known for co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., opened with a quote from the “Black National Anthem.” He then asked God to encourage America to make “choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance” after President Barack Obama took the presidential oath.

Then he ended his prayer with, “Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around – when yellow will be mellow – when the red man can get ahead, man – and when white will embrace what is right.”

Obama reacted to the benediction with a smile.

The crowd cheered and boomed with a loud “Amen.”

However, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Lowery’s prayer “offended” and was “far more memorable than the inaugural address by President Obama.”

Referring to Lowery’s “When black will not be asked to get in back” comment, Limbaugh responded, “When does that happen today? Did we not just inaugurate a black man as president of the United States?”

Limbaugh went through each statement about color, attempting to decipher Lowery’s intended message.

“I know it’s a left over from the ’60s thing,” he said. “It’s not relevant today! Everybody here is living in the past, and they don’t want anybody to think we’ve made any progress at all despite inaugurating Barack Obama as president today.”

Repeating Lowery’s “When white will embrace what is right” statement, Limbaugh said, “He just insulted this country, large numbers of which elected Barack Obama president of the United States.”

Several angry bloggers posted reactions to Lowery’s prayer, including the following:

  • Didn’t whites just do that by electing Jesus Christ president?
  • Am I allowed to be offended?
  • Race card pulled during the inauguration. Wow that didn’t take long.
  • It is completely inappropriate to have that in any prayer, much less a prayer at an inauguration that is supposed to be about how “We’re all one.”
  • Black … brown … red … yellow … white? I’m stunned. The prayer is so racist and so inappropriate. Is Rev. Lowery just a kinder, gentler Rev. Wright?
  • You guys are all spelling it wrong. That’s the problem. I’m sure that if you look at his notes you’ll see that it says “… whites will embrace what is Wright.”


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