At his inauguration on January 20, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took an unprecedented step: after taking the oath of office, he led the nation in prayer. During his prayer, which historian Kevin Kruse notes helped make Eisenhower’s inauguration as much a “religious consecration” as a “political ceremony,” the new president asked God to “make full and complete [the executive branch’s] dedication to the service of the people.”
Eisenhower’s professed dedication to serve all the citizens of the United States and his willingness to rely upon God’s help were not entirely new.
In ministry here in Harrisburg, in the past five years our congregation has lost eight sons—all murdered in cold blood. Gun violence is a national nightmare, experienced locally and felt personally by so many of us. It should be a Civil Rights issue of our day.
Alex, a six-year-old boy from Scarsdale, New York, wrote to President Obama, asking him to send a Syrian refugee to live with his family. “We will give him a family, and he will be our brother,” Alex wrote. He told the president that he has a friend at school from Syria. In his request Alex was referring to five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, whose picture was widely circulated after he was rescued from his bombed-out house in Aleppo. The White House published Alex’s letter, and the president read it at a UN Summit on Refugees (Independent, September 22).