[Opinion] Drop the state religion blither-blather — we need ‘a new day’


January 21, 2021

By Annie Laurie Gaylor

Like you, I’m moved and saddened by the luminous, somber sight of the 400 lights lining the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool collectively representing the 400,000 Americans who’ve died so far from Covid-19.

President-elect Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her spouse, Doug Emhoff, stood by themselves in front of that memorial, our nation’s overdue first official memorial to Covid-19 victims, on Tuesday night and poignantly addressed the country, saying, “It’s important to [heal] as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.” It was a lovely, loving way to ensure the Inauguration festivities-to-come did not disrespect the suffering or eclipse our focus on the urgent challenges ahead.

But one aspect of that Tuesday event was not at all lovely to me: the decision to single out Cardinal Wilton Gregory to join this elite group of four, to deliver an invocation to a nation tuned in to witness a civic event. Gregory’s liturgical presence and his Christian invocation turned it from a civil ceremony into a religious service.

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