April 25, 2014

Transcript: Rev. Joseph Lowery Benediction | Obama Inauguration | January 20, 2009

(Source: Associated Press)

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

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 in 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. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.


  1. Sue says:

    What a step back for the movement for Pres. Obama. Sorry for the sad sermon that was not needed and aim should not have been at offending. Thank goodness it was only a small moment in time…

  2. Kat says:

    Fabulous and moving! This was by far the best prayer said all day.

  3. Joe says:

    It is ridiculous to think the ending lines were racist as even Lowery himself said it with a smirk. It was obviously alluding to the troubles with racism of the past and foreseeing a future when these divisions were truly done away with–by everyone. He was not racist whatsoever. What is worse is that the ones who are taking offense are not the minorities but the “White Majority” because they believe themselves so righteous that they forget that in the context Lowery was speaking in, the great majority of whites were in fact racist. Furthermore, the fact that Obama has been elected is not indicative of a complete turnaround in the “white view” on minorities, as the states with the White majorities still voted for McCain, not Obama. Only the progressive states with White majorities and those with large minority populations voted for Obama. Fortunately, those states were enough.

  4. Ismail says:

    The prayers came out of an eniighten person, a true great soul. It is not important who voted for Obama, important matter is to be soul oriented and do the work according to the guidence from superimme soul, the God or you can call as of the positive force! GOD BLESS ALL!

  5. Sermon says:

    I think Rev Joseph gave a very nice prayer. Not racist at all. Those who are racist actually took it as an offence especially the last paragraph of his benediction.
    Lets get real wasn’t he speaking the truth?

  6. Holly says:

    Joe, I live in a red state. To say that my state voted because of our “white views on minorities” is appaling. My vote went to McCain because of his conservative views on issues that I hold dear to my heart. I oppose Socialized Healthcare, I oppose abortion and I believe in gun rights. I live in the “Bible Belt” where thankfully my fellow citizens vote their convictions, as I do. I did not vote on race or sex, I voted my convictions. Sadly, a lot of people voted for race (both blacks and whites). Even sader, those that voted for race did not take time to educate themselves about the political and moral ramifications that each candidate held.

  7. roma says:

    Doctor Lowery spoke the words that was put in his heart by God himself. Anyone who wants to challenge it, I suggest go back through time and read your American history. It’s time we face our past, present and future. The future favors those who acknowledges the past. And this was the moment our country has been waiting since it’s long overdue and deliberate delay.

  8. roma says:

    Only the racist at heart will see it as racism. guilty conscious is a BITCH!

  9. mike north says:

    Hi America. I’m a white guy living in England but with a mother who has lived in Birmingham Alabama since the late 1970s.
    Most of the rest of the world wanted Obama for President because we want a strong America that can once again lead the World. This role has been sadly lacking. Obama is the man for the moment.
    Rev. Lowery completely outclassed Rev. Warren in his prayer that captured the moment and the enormity of the struggle for civil rights.
    Let’s embrace the new administration and will them to perform for the whole community. There seems to be a great fear by many Americans that a Health Service for everyone would be truely terrible. Well what we have ain’t perfect but I reckon it is better than what the US has and a great deal fairer.
    come on America. Let’s see you show global humanity not just at home.

  10. Bee says:

    I thought the Benediction was fantastic. As an atheist, I found it to be moving, heartfelt, and inclusive. The man has soul. I am shocked to see that some people believe the Benediction to be racist. I thought Rev. Lowery did an amazing job.

  11. Lorenzo says:

    As a child growing up in the 50′s, I know all to well what Reverend Lowery was relating to in his prayer. While in college, One of my professors asked me in class,”Which do you Think will come First, A White woman as president or a Black man as president”? Without hesitation I responded it would be the white woman. I am so glad that America got the wake up call and took the course that all men and women are created equal. I hail from Atlanta Georgia and now reside on the other side of this nation. I am a Vietnam era vet. My greatest joy in my late years was to see that this great melting pot of people called the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was worth putting my life on the line. Reverend Lowerys Benediction was not racist. Only a racist would believe that. With humour and dignity he addressed the ills this Nation has experienced, and should continue the healing process that we have been on since that great day President Lincoln begin with the freeing of slaves, and Dr. King spoke about during the civil rights movements. All men are created equal.

  12. dave says:

    Maybe not racist, but wildly inappropriate considering that blacks compose only 13% of the US population, and Obama could not have won without white voters. Whites DID do what was right. Lowery is still immersed in 60′s cliches and dogma.

  13. David says:

    I think there is far more black racist in America than white. These comments are a clear indication. How many times during this election did you hear something like “I’m going to vote for the black man” “BET” and “BFC”. White Entertainment Channel, I would not care to see this happen but the fact that the black community would find this racist is also a clear indication that my above statement is acurate.

    I personally was hoping Obama would rise above this but, sadly that is not the case. Choosing one racist after another to surround himself with.

  14. Oge Nwanne says:

    The speech spoke the truth. It prays for total healing and yet the begining of not only a new US but of a new world order where nobody will be opressed by anybody on any unjustifiable basis! All religions should imbibe the hidden message in the benediction.

  15. Patrick says:

    The speech is no where near racist speech. The Rev gentleman himself is among the few that know American history. He made a prayer for his president and his country. I think people that class his prayer as racist are already racist.

  16. Patrick says:

    America is the only country where the black, brown and yellow are seen as equal with their white counter-parts. It does not happen in other countries. I live in Europe, I think lessons can be learnt from American example.

  17. I think what Rev did is a speach and not a prayer as he did not addressed it to God and did not closed it in the name of the Lord.

    And actually seing Pres. Obama, as the first black president demonstrated already that the USA as a whole is not racist, but a manifestation of liberty for all at its peak.

  18. kelvin says:

    the good rev. prayer was utterly and completely a divine speech, loveliest prayer i ever heard, it was as though written by the almighty and given to him to read to us. it was not at all racist, the racist minority however would think so.


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  2. [...] side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance,” he prayed in 2009. “And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the [...]

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