Even for the English, and even for the Church of England, this is a little peculiar: The Church of St. Martin in the Fields yesterday offered a service, broadcast by the BBC, with the theme “Learning to Dream Again,” celebrating Barack Obama’s inauguration. The English blogger “Cranmer” asks :

Would they be talking about ‘the souls of the righteous’ or ‘America’s special vocation’, or singing that ‘It is well with my soul’ if Mitt Romney had won? Would thay have  commissioned a special anthem  (at what cost and met by whom?) if we now had a Republican back in the White House? Is ‘Learning to Dream Again’ a purposeful allusion to Martin Luther King? What, in the Name of God, is Obama’s dream? And as for ending with ‘Come thou fount of every blessing’ — was this an appeal to the Lord, or to Obama as Messiah, come to free the captives, heal the sick and proclaim the day of salvation?

The last question is unfair, but the rest is to the point. The parallel with Lincoln seems a bit much. If Obama faces a crisis as great as that Lincoln faced, that leaves those opposed to his responses to the crisis in the place of those fighting a last ditch and inevitably futile battle to preserve slavery.

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