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United Methodist pastor gives benediction at inauguration

 


United Methodist pastor gives benediction at inauguration

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The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell
Jan. 20, 2005

A UMNS Report
By Kathy L. Gilbert*

United Methodist Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell asked for God’s blessing on George W. Bush’s family and administration during the president’s Jan. 20 inauguration ceremony in Washington.

As he did in Bush’s first inaugural ceremony in 2001, Caldwell gave the benediction after the president’s address.

In his prayer, which closed Bush’s official swearing-in, Caldwell focused on thanksgiving, rallying Americans together and providing "equal opportunity for all, including the least, the last and the lost."

After the prayer, Bush, also a United Methodist, embraced Caldwell. A self-described "spiritual supporter" of Bush, Caldwell is pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston.

"As we conclude this 55th inaugural ceremony, we conclude it with an attitude of thanksgiving, thanking you for protecting our borders because, as the psalmist says, unless you guard the territory our efforts will be in vain," Caldwell said.

"Deliver us from the evil one and the near appearance of evil," he said. "Give us clean hearts, clean agendas, clean priorities and programs and even clean financial statements."

Laura Bush, a lifelong United Methodist, held the historic "Washington Bible" as her husband took the oath of office. The same Bible was used by George Washington and several other presidents, including Bush’s father.

Standing with Bush as he took the oath of office was another United Methodist, Dick Cheney, who was sworn in as vice president.

In his inaugural address, Bush emphasized freedom and liberty.

"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right."

He said the survival of liberty in America increasingly depends upon the survival of liberty in other countries.

"We will go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choice that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as he wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul."

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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