Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman gave the homily and closing prayer at Joseph Biden’s presidential inauguration on January 20, 20121. He closed the prayer with this:
To your glory, majesty, dominion, and power, forever. Hallelujah! Glory! Hallelujah! In the strong name of our collective faith, Amen.” Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman, Presidential Inauguration Prayer
Just when we had stopped reeling from “Amen and A-woman,” we are greeted with something even worse—prayer not in the name of God, but “in the strong name of our collective faith.” What a reversal that is! Our faith in God is what causes us to pray in the name of God—more specifically, in the name of Jesus Christ if we are Christians. The name of our collective faith means nothing, since our collective faith does not rule the universe. God does. Faith is only as good as its object. Moreover, what we need is not collective or generic faith, but saving faith in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, the name that is above every name.
The priest who gave the opening prayer did not mention Jesus’ name, let alone pray in that name. This is what happens when biblical religion is diluted and distorted by the desire to not offend anyone and to please everyone. Well, it fails, since those of us who pray in Jesus’ name and who attribute our salvation to Jesus alone, are offended and not pleased by these kinds of prayers. But no matter, many of us will continue to pray in Jesus’ name, knowing that he is the one Mediator between God and humans and the one who will return to judge the living and the dead.