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US/ Obama’s inauguration: Is there still room in this path for Catholics?

LORENZO ALBACETE reflects on the role religion is playing in the U.S., in the light of Obama’s inauguration and the criteria for selecting the religious leaders to say the official prayers

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I write these words right after the official public celebration of the second inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States of America. I hope you will excuse me for not organizing better the observations that follow. Think about just a few observations about what I saw on television today.

First of all, the ceremonies showed how amazingly religious this country still is. God has been explicitly invoked at the beginning or every event today. Perhaps it is better to ask how religious the politicians who invoke Him believe this country to be.

The efforts by the politicians to invoke the Deity without offending those who believe in another God from yours are so ridiculous that they are funny.

Yet, suddenly in the middle of this religious sea the Most Blessed Trinity was invoked. It was the prayer of an Eastern Orthodox patriarch of a large part of the world, or else he was a Hollywood actor playing the part of an Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of a large part of the world. In any case, he was magnificent. He was probably thinking that he had been chosen (by God or by some Hollywood producer) to play the part of the Orthodox prelate who confronts the Emperor in Vladimir Soloviev's story about the anti-Christ.

The plurality of types of prayers is a reflection of the incredible diversity of the citizens of this country. Actually, one could say that the day was a celebration of American diversity at all levels of human activity.

The test for being invited to play a public role in the inauguration was having a correct attitude in your view about homosexuality, gay marriage, and other "gay rights." The Protestant pastor who was going to say the concluding prayer, the Pastor of an Atlanta mega-church, withdrew from the ceremony because of remarks made years ago that displeased gay leaders by criticizing or casting down on the very principle of American unity, namely, uncritical acceptance of ALL diversity except having and expressing difficulties with how diversity should be understood.

The perfect citizen is like the handsome sensitive poet who was chosen to write and deliver the official poem for the occasion. He is Latino, born in Spain to a mother in exile from Cuba, immigrant in the USA, openly gay and living, of course. In Maine with his partner.