Yesterday, civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery delivered the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. At the end of the prayer, Lowery offered a light-hearted approach to a hopeful future absent of racial bigotry:
LOWERY: 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.
Right-wing talker Glenn Beck found Lowery’s blessing way too much to handle, however. On his new Fox News show yesterday, Beck compared Lowery to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, accused him of calling all of America “racist,” and asked, “Can you imagine anyone else saying something like that!?” Seeming to take personal offense at Lowry’s benediction closing, Beck made sure to inform his viewers that he doesn’t “hate minorities.”
He then chastised Obama, saying he “was shocked” that Obama “actually smiled when he said this and shook your head.” Watch it:
Later in the program, now Fox News political analyst Brit Hume said that, even though he wasn’t “greatly offended by it,” Lowery’s benediction “was a slightly discord in note.” Hume then suggested that Lowry might make some changes to incorporate Beck’s outrage if he had to do it again:
HUME: Well, it was little — I thought it was a slightly discord in note at the end of the prayer which was really pretty, if you will, mellow. And in some ways, you know, the colloquialism of it, you know, the rhyming of it, I think, suggested that, you know, he needed to find words that rhymed. I wasn’t greatly offended by it. I suppose if, you know, he had it to do over again, he might beware of the implications that you suggested.
Some right-wing blogs even joined in, calling Lowery’s prayer “divisive” and “overcome by racist hate.” Speaking of Lowery’s benediction, Beck asked with exasperation: “Is this how the post-racial Obama administration begins?” Indeed, it doesn’t appear that Beck is off to a good start.
BECK: In the days leading up to the speech, some claimed that, on the left, that there would be division caused by the right, coming from that evil minister of hate, the Oprah Book Club author, Rick Warren. His crime, he agrees, apparently, with much of Obama’s platform on gay marriage. What bigotry there.
However, it was another minister, Reverend Joseph Lowery, who used his benediction at the end of the inauguration ceremony to ask God for this .
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. JOSEPH LOWERY, MINISTER, UNITED METHODIST CHURCH: 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 the white will embrace what is right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: Good thing Barack Obama distanced himself from Jeremiah Wright.
Is this how the post-racial Obama administration begins? I mean, I understand that he’s an older gentleman and that’s fine, but really, “someday, brown can stick around, the yellow man can remain mellow, and white will embrace what’s right”? Can you imagine anyone else saying something like that? Even at the inauguration of a black president, it seems white America is being called racist.
Mr. President, I want to believe, I want to trust, I want to hope for change, but I am really failing to see how this is any different. “USA Today” reports in something that I was shocked by that you actually smiled when he said this and shook your head. And it’s not like you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. This is the same reverend that made Coretta Scott King’s funeral all about politics, and yet, the only one we ever heard about was the guy on the right that was going to open things up and didn’t say anything about yellow being mellow.
America is with you today, Mr. President. And you’re right — we are all tired of the partisan bickering, the racial divides, the greed and the corruption. There are many people in this country who didn’t vote for you, myself included, but actually want you to succeed. My family has been down on our knees for the last month praying for you and your family and your safety.
You may be fascinated to us that many of us don’t hate minorities, that we don’t want to starve the poor, and we’re perfectly fine with brown sticking around. We’ll do our part, but please help us help you. We’re going to argue about politics, but let us expect the best from each other. Could we do that? And chastise those who insist on driving wedges between us on both sides of the aisle.