The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is currently collecting sermons and orations delivered this week about the inauguration of Barack Obama. They’re asking for audio or video recordings, and are accepting transcripts and associated materials (such as printed programs) for the archive, which will join the library’s other collections of “everyday citizens’ reactions to major historic events in our collective American experience.”
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for libraries — I’m what you might call a “heavy user” and have been for as long as I can remember. And the LOC holds an even more special place for me, not in the least because they have in their collection Stephen Sondheim’s personal record collection (over 8500 LPs!). But in reading up on this new initiative, I had one of those “proud of my government” moments that I’m hoping to have more and more of in the coming administration. In particular, I was thrilled to see the following included right up in the first paragraph of the Sermons and Orations Project home page:
It is expected that such sermons and orations will be delivered at churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, as well as before humanist congregations and other secular gatherings. The American Folklife Center is seeking as wide a representation of orations as possible.
I wonder if anyone told George Bush that his government is recognizing humanist congregations alongside places of worship.
Anyway, if you can’t wait for the LOC to make this collection available for your own perusement (that’s my portmanteau for when you peruse amusing things), Michael Paulson, religion writer for The Boston Globe has asked Boston-area clergy and the like to also submit their sermons to his blog, Articles of Faith. He’s posting them as they come in, and you can go directly to the inauguration sermons here.