01/17/2013 10:12 am ET Updated Mar 19, 2013

Reconciliation At The Inauguration


Now that the Rev. Luis Leon has been chosen to deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration, what will he say?

At El Nuevo Herald, my former colleague Daniel Shoer Roth has details in a profile he wrote of Leon, who was born in Cuba.

During his three allotted minutes on Monday where he will hopefully have the attention of millions of American watching, Leon said he will speak of reconciliation.

"My concern is that we are not speaking to each other," Leon said. "I think when God blesses us, God is calling for the best in us in our relationships with each other.''

The context of the quote is an article that's partly about the relationship between Cuba and the U.S., but the broad theme of reconciliation especially interesting considering the controversy over the Rev. Louie Giglio, the evangelical pastor from Atlanta that Leon is replacing. After Giglio bowed out of the ceremony because of backlash against a sermon he gave in the 1990s that said homosexuality is a sin and that gay people can change, some conservatives asked if their views were being silenced.

The benediction is usually broad and void of references to any specific faith or political view. It's meant to be a prayer for the nation and its leaders. I explained the practice to HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps on Wednesday.

In other religion news:

-- A new report on the Jewish population in New York City shows huge growth -- and huge decline -- in parts of the city (Jewish Daily Forward).

-- WTOP covers the role of religion in presidential inaugurations, explaining that "the separation of church and state is unique to American democracy, but when it comes to celebrating the start of a president's term, God has played a role in nearly every inauguration since George Washington."

-- OnFaith digs into the archives to remind readers of the faith of Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame football player caught in an elaborate hoax involving a fake girlfriend who died a tragic death. Te'o is a Mormon.