Rev. Luis Leon mentions gays in inaugural benediction [full text]

Reinold Burrey

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Monday, January 21 2013

(Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Rev. Luis Leon, who replaced Rev. Louie Giglio following controversy over an anti-gay sermon he gave in the mid-1990s, mentioned gays in his inauguration benediction on Monday.

Leon, rector of St. John's Church where Obama has frequently attended, gave a closing prayer that sought God's blessing to "break down the walls that separate us" and enable people to "see each other created in your image, a unit of God's grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable and irreplaceable."

"We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see," said the Episcopal priest. "But with the blessing of your blessing, we can see that we are created in your image, whether black, brown, or white, male or female, first-generation immigrant American or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor."

Leon came to the United States as a refugee from Guantanamo, Cuba. He started life in the country with $3, no clothes and no parents but is today known as the pastor to the presidents. He has preached to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.

"We pray for your blessing. Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among the nations of this world," said Leon in his closing prayer.

The Washington D.C. pastor delivered the benediction after a reading by Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco, the first Latino and the first openly gay to read a poem at a presidential inauguration ceremony.

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In a gesture acknowledging his heritage, Leon spoke in Spanish, saying: "Señor presidente y vice presidente, que Dios os bendiga todos sus días."

He then gave the English translation, saying, "Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all your days."

Read full transcript text of Rev. Luis Leon's inaugural benediction below:

We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence because without it hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts. But with your blessing, we know that we can break down the walls that separate us.

We pray for your blessing today because without it, mistrust, prejudice and rancor will rule our hearts but with the blessing of your presence we know that we can renew the ties of mutual regard which can best form our civic life.

We pray for your blessing because without it, suspicion, despair and fear of those different from us will be our rule of life. But with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God's grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable and irreplaceable.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see, but with the blessing of your blessing, we can see that we are created in your image, whether black, brown, or white, male or female, first-generation immigrant American or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.

We pray for your blessing. Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among the nations of this world.

We pray that you will shower with your life-giving spirit the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack, our president, and Joe, our vice president. Fill with them with the love of truth and righteousness that they may serve this nation ablely and be glad to do your Will.

Endow their hearts with wisdom and forbearance so that peace may prevail with righteousness, justice with order, so that men and women throughout this nation can find with one another the fulfillment of our humanity.

We pray that the president, vice president and all in political authority will remember the words of the prophet Micah: What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to always walk humbly with God.

Señor presidente y vice presidente, que Dios os bendiga todos sus días.

Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all your days.

All this we pray in your most holy name, amen.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News

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