Holy 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.