Gay Bishop to Deliver Opening Ceremony Prayer

generobinson-1-157x239.thumbnail.jpgHoly Divine! New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson–the worldwide congregation’s first openly gay bishop– will be delivering the prayer at one of President-elect Barack Obama’s first inauguration events at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on January 18.

The opening ceremony will be broadcast on HBO, which is providing the feed free for all cable and satellite subscribers. The rest of the line up hasn’t been announced yet, however both PEBO and Biden will be there, and Obama is expected to speak.

The announcement follows weeks of criticism over the choice the not-so-gay-friendly Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation on January 20. Along with lying about his Church’s homophobic ideology and defending it with the false shields of the free speech and shoddy history, Pastor Rick believes dinosaurs and man once frolicked together and that spousal abuse is not a reason for divorce, since it’s not in the Bible.

In an interview with the Concord Monitor, Bishop Robinson–who earlier had said the decision to have Warren offer the Inaugural prayer left him feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face–commented he did not feel his inclusion was a response to the criticism of Warren, but also stated that his participation will not go unnoticed:

It’s important for any minority to see themselves represented in some way. Whether it be a racial minority, an ethnic minority or, in our case, a sexual minority. Just seeing someone like you up front matters. 

The inaugural committee has invited Bishop Robinson and his partner Mark Andrews to participate in other inaugural events. Inaugural committee has given him to guidelines for his prayer, which he would like te be reflective of the times and which he will deliver in full bishop’s robes:

I think these are sober and difficult times that we are facing. It won’t be a happy, clappy prayer.

For Bishop Robinson, inclusion is foremost in composing the prayer, and while he doesn’t know exactly what he’ll be saying, he says he will not be using a Bible:

While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans. I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation. 

19 Responses to "Gay Bishop to Deliver Opening Ceremony Prayer"
dakine01 | Monday January 12, 2009 09:18 am 1

Maybe between this selection and the choice of President of the Christian, Disciples of Christ to give the sermon at the Inaugural National Prayer Service the day after, PEBO is trying to show he really is attempting to be all things to all people.

(Note: I was raised in the Christian, Disciples of Christ Church)

demi | Monday January 12, 2009 09:19 am 2

Just. Wow. This is good news to my way of thinking.
The pastor at my church has started using more inclusive language in her sermons and prayers. Some people in the congregation may not like it, but well, that is their problem, I guess. I think this whole inclusiveness holds the utmost for the future of our nation. The younger citizens will benefit from older citizens finally getting Love One Another. For every child/young adult feeling the pain of being “different” in the past, let this be a lesson that breaks down the barriers to love and let everyone feel not just adequate, but worthy too.
So, we might have to drag some folks kicking and screaming toward the dawning of a new day. Change has never been easy.

rwcole | Monday January 12, 2009 09:27 am 3

Obama may end up pissing EVERYBODY off before this is over.

demi | Monday January 12, 2009 09:30 am 4
In response to rwcole @ 3

Actually, not everyone’s response to things they don’t understand or agree with is to get pissed off.
Sorry for the poor sentence structure.

Gnome de Plume | Monday January 12, 2009 09:39 am 5
In response to rwcole @ 3

I understood immediately what you meant. The conservative Episcopalians in my community, who voted for McPalin anyway, will just have confirmed their belief that BO is the anti-christ.

HillaryClinton4BarackObama | Monday January 12, 2009 09:39 am 6

Obama may end up pissing EVERYBODY off before this is over.

lol …

I second that …

Talk about No Drama Obama … This guy revels in it …

Ann in AZ | Monday January 12, 2009 09:40 am 7

Jane has a new front page post up: “Maybe, Going Forward, We Should Just Let Bernie Madoff Off?”

Cellar47 | Monday January 12, 2009 09:43 am 8

Oh yeah, that’ll work. Just keep tossing ‘em crumbs and they won’t notice you’ve done jack shit for ‘em.

demi | Monday January 12, 2009 09:44 am 9
In response to Gnome de Plume @ 5

I hope your immediate understanding is not exclusive. *g*
I just think Everybody is a pretty big word.

revday | Monday January 12, 2009 09:51 am 10

Oh yea!!! Every little things helps and the Bishop is not a crumb.
Even a lesbian can appreciate that hat. Blessings for our community.

Alison | Monday January 12, 2009 10:20 am 11

This bishop is the antichrist, as far as the loonie right is concerned. He is the one who will make them all spontaneously combust.

The IRD, which is the religious foundation of the AEI, has extensive coverage of their insane levels of hate for Robinson. David Virtue’s website, a classic in insane Anglicanism, features pages every week of intolerant screed on Robinson.

Robinson is a one man band of evil in their eyes. The undead will walk that day and cry out against Robinson.

NotJust4Breakfast | Monday January 12, 2009 10:41 am 12

Letting the Bishop speak IS a tiny crumb, as far as Civil Rights for ALL Americans is concerned.

“Yeah, let’s have some poof in a gown give a prayer, that’ll appease the gays. Just so long as we don’t have to commit to allowing them to MARRY.” – seems to be the thinking from PEBO’s people.

It’s POSTURING, not policy. POLITICS, not leadership.

spurious | Monday January 12, 2009 11:07 am 13

Masterful. I hope he wears his mitre.

Teddy Partridge | Monday January 12, 2009 11:14 am 14

Bishop Gene should be doing the main invocation at the Inaugural, not Pastor Rick™


demi | Monday January 12, 2009 11:32 am 15
In response to Teddy Partridge @ 14

I truly wish he were.
So, when the first Better Person is elected, we’ll all be there for that.
But, in the mean time…
I understand it’s all for one and one for all, but by not accepting baby steps, you just might be diminishing the possibilities.
I hope I’m wrong.

rar3 | Monday January 12, 2009 11:47 am 16

Gene Robinson pisses off the right even more than Pastor Rick pisses off the left. The Episcopal Church is inching toward schism in the U.S. over issues of sexuality, and he’s the poster boy for the intolerant side. (Although some of these posts make me wonder which side that is.) Obama picking him is definitely not a crumb.

And as a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), I couldn’t be more pleased about the choice of Sharon Watkins for the National Prayer Service.

Do I wish that one of them had the invocation slot Rick Warren has? Yes. Absolutely. Without a doubt. But if there are only four high-profile slots for faith leaders, and three of them are Joseph Lowery, Gene Robinson and Sharon Watkins, progressives are better represented than ever before.

After two generations worth of inaugurations with Billy Graham (and son Franklin as a last minute stand-in) being *the* face of the faith community in inaugural activities, seeing a woman, an African American and a gay man in key roles is a refreshing change.

mui1 | Monday January 12, 2009 11:58 am 17
In response to Teddy Partridge @ 14

I think inviting the episcopalian bishop is a step in the right direction. For me, it’s a nice nod to a church that’s weathered controversies (gay and women bishops). It’s also good to see a denomination represented at the inauguration that isn’t Christianity ™. If anything it can serve to remind people that there are religious persons who don’t sound like a hateful bunch of charleton republicans. It makes me feel a little sorry I threw out my local inauguration party tickets, although I don’t think I was being premature in my judgement. The Obama team really showed an nasty streak with the Rick Warren pick and that streak seems bound to resurface.

mui1 | Monday January 12, 2009 12:25 pm 18

For Bishop Robinson, inclusion is foremost in composing the prayer, and while he doesn’t know exactly what he’ll be saying, he says he will not be using a Bible:

While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans. I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation.

Robinson makes a good statement above. We are supposed to have a secular government, and it is nice to have a religious figure up there recognize that the nation has persons of different beliefs, philosophies, and religions.
Reading the posts above, I find it disturbing that it is thought there are so many persons who would viciously oppose this choice. I know that 30% of the nation is pretty intractable Bush country. But there is another 70% out there.

OldCoastie | Monday January 12, 2009 05:29 pm 19
In response to Teddy Partridge @ 14

I’m with you on this one.

Let Warren open the ceremonies and let the good Rev. Gene do the benediction.

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