SAJAforum: Religious pluralism and our new president

The Obamas and the Bidens at the Inaugural Prayer Service (Donvan Marks)
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama made a point of proclaiming:

“[the United States’s] patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.”  [link]

This morning, at the Washington National Cathedral, the Inaugural Prayer Service extended Obama’s message of spiritual pluralism by including participants from a variety of different religious traditions. Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, and Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, were two of the six participants to give responsive prayers during the service.

SAJAforum readers may recall Mysorekar from her appearance on The Colbert Report and her efforts to have Diwali placed on New York City’s official “parking holiday” calendar. Mattson, who is a professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, is “the first woman, the first nonimmigrant and the first Muslim convert” to be elected as ISNA’s president.

The video of the service is available here, and the text of both Mattson’s and Mysorekar’s responsive prayers appears in the official program for the service:

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