Warren Prayed for All—but Invoked Jesus

Clever phrasing keeps his prayer from being controversial
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 20, 2009 7:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Laden with pre-inaugural controversy, Rick Warren’s invocation today was “both inevitable and surprising,” writes Lisa Miller in Newsweek. “Inevitably,” he focused on being inclusive, alluding to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish rites; the "unkempt" pastor knows how to “strike an empathic, populist chord.” But he raised eyebrows when he prayed in the name of Jesus, a move that has sparked uproars for other inaugural preachers.

“Warren knows who he is. He is a conservative evangelical. There's nothing else for him to do,” Miller writes. His phrasing was clever as he "invoked Jesus for himself" but not necessarily for the billions listening. “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life,” he said. Meanwhile, Warren was savvily unspecific in asking forgiveness for a collapse of respect: did he want mercy for himself, or gay activists who slammed his views?