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President Obama extols a biblical vision of equality for all in second inaugural

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 1:53 p.m. MDT

President Barack Obama waves to crowd after his Inaugural speech at the ceremonial swearing-in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.  (Scott Andrews, Pool, Associated Press) President Barack Obama waves to crowd after his Inaugural speech at the ceremonial swearing-in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (Scott Andrews, Pool, Associated Press)

Our take: In his inaugural address yesterday, President Obama focused on race, gender and sexual orientation, tying the topics together with references to God's will. This Religion News Service article calls the event "faith infused."

A presidential inauguration is by tradition the grandest ritual of America’s civil religion, but President Obama took the oath of office on Monday (Jan. 21) in a ceremony that was explicit in joining theology to the nation’s destiny and setting out a biblical vision of equality that includes race, gender, class, and, most controversially, sexual orientation.

Obama’s speech, his second inaugural address, repeatedly cited civic and religious doctrines — namely the God-given equality extolled by the “founding creed” of the Declaration of Independence — to essentially reconsecrate the country to the common good and to the dignity of each person.

It was a faith-infused event that recognized both the original sins as well as the later atonements of America’s history, especially on race, which was front and center as the nation’s first African-American president took the oath on the holiday commemorating the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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