Critics have noted that Donald Trump's inauguration celebrations may be lacking in starpower—but to make up for it, organizers are reaching for the heavens.
The celebration is slated to include more members of the clergy than any inauguration since 1989. Six in total will be in attendance, including Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Reverend Franklin Graham (son of evangelical icon Billy Graham), Rabbi Marvin Hier, and others.
To discuss the role of the clergy in inaugural festivities, Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price joined Boston Public Radio for their weekly installment of "All Revved Up." Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, and Price is a professor and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
"The reason why there's a huge number of clergy has a lot to do with the Republican Party as it stands today," Monroe said, pointing to the fact that only two Republican members of Congress are non-Christian. According to a Pew study, 91% of the members of Congress, both Republican and Democratic, identified as Christian.
While some participating clergy were affiliated with the Trump campaign, the inauguration is also slated to involve Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, who was a sharp critic of Trump's immigration policies. Monroe praised his involvement as a way to bring Americans together after a divisive campaign season.
"I think he's taking the high road here," Monroe said. "To see such a reverend up there gets folks like me and others on the other side of the political spectrum some hope that we're moving toward a 'United' States."
"He's a huge figure in the evangelical movement, particularly in the Hispanic notion and particularly around folks who have been marginalized from the evangelical camp," Price explained.
"He is one who probably understands that if there's going to be any change it's going to have to be made from the inside out and not necessarily from the outside in," he continued.
To hear more from Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.