Generic God language

billy-graham-time-coverThe Wall Street Journal's Suzanne Sataline wrote up the prayer of Rick Warren and its significance. Here's how it ends:

Randall Balmer, a historian who has written about the religious lives of presidents, said he believes that "Rick Warren is far closer in style in and substance to Billy Graham" than to Mr. Graham's son, Franklin, who was criticized after President George W. Bush's first inauguration for offering a distinctly Christian prayer.

Billy Graham "was always very careful to use generic God language," Mr. Balmer said. But Franklin Graham "pointedly offered his prayer in the name of Jesus Christ," something that might have offended Jews and Muslims.

But Mr. Warren also mentioned Jesus in his reference to several faiths: "I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Jeshua, Isa, Jesus [pronounced "Hay-sus"], Jesus, who taught us to pray...."

Would this be the same Billy Graham who ended his 1969 Presidential Inauguration Invocation this way?:

We pray this humbly in the Name of the Prince of Peace who shed His blood on the Cross that men might have eternal life. Amen

I guess you can't get much more generic than that.

Just because you have a source who says something doesn't mean you shouldn't check the facts.

Thanks to Steve Waldman at Beliefnet for providing the text of inaugural prayers throughout history here.

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