January 12th, 2009
06:44 PM ET
4 years ago

Openly gay bishop to deliver first inauguration event invocation

Robinson became the U.S. Episcopal church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003.
Robinson became the U.S. Episcopal church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003.

(CNN) - The first openly gay priest ordained by a major Christian denomination will deliver the invocation at the kickoff inauguration event Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire, has accepted an invitation issued by the Obama team prior to the announcement of the Rev. Rick Warren’s selection to deliver the invocation at the president-elect’s swearing-in, Politico reported Monday.

Robinson had been a critic of Warren’s role, calling his inclusion in the event “really, really unfortunate” because of the California minister's support for California's Prop. 8, which barred same-sex marriage.

“It's about this particular venue and the role that he has in praying for all of America, and I'm just not sure he'd pray to God the same way I would,” Robinson told Beliefnet last month.

“…This particular choice [of Warren] is not about having everyone at the table for a discussion or some sort of general forum. Every choice related to who does what at the inauguration is highly symbolic, and I think the transition team failed to ask the question of what, symbolically, this might say to some of our citizens.”

Robinson said at the time his disappointment would not affect his plans to attend President-elect Obama’s inauguration.


Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (656 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Surely the man who lives life in stark contrast to God's plan would pray to God differently... This priest is out there... but quite at home in NH. Here's the thing–you can find acceptance in the world for just about any sin. But to stand in the pulpit as a gay priest, or a murderer, or an adutlerer... these are all sin as defined by the bible. If America wants to accept a gay priest... whatever... but don't think that God is accepting of that act. Winning public opinion and doing the right thing by God are two completely different things. I'm not saintly, to say the least; but I do realize that I don't belong in the pulpit. To sin is oh so human; but let those who at least make an effort to align their lives with God's will be the ones to offer up public prayer for our nation and leaders. B.O. is showing that he loves everyone, but our God is a jealous God... look it up if you don't believe me... restated, you can't worship God and show blatent disregard for his written word... it won't work. You may find that you can please a lot of people by being luke warm... but is that worth being spit out for? Pick a side B.O., stand for something. Christianity does not exist to persecute... That's not my intent. I don't live every day hating myself for every time I fall short of God's perfect plan and I don't have strong disgust for those who don't find marital bliss with someone of the opposite gender. But I do hate to see someone stand with the self pronounced wisdom of God in their heart and telling their flocks that God is okay with this sin. He forgives... yes... but we are not to sin to further forgiveness... we truly are to turn away from sin. To take a vow to God while practicing sin... I don't see how this is good for anyone...

    January 12, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Center of the Middle

    Using Bible quotes to justify your hate and bigotry?

    Wow...you religious folks are real pieces of work...

    Thank god I'm an Atheist...

    January 12, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. Messiah watch

    Robinson is disgusting.

    January 12, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. jdwoods

    AMEN omg! Thanks for some rationality.

    January 12, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. mario

    1 Corinthians 6:8-10
    9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
    Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    January 12, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. lost in Texas Forever

    gee why don't we announce it when we have an "openly STRAIGHT" person do something? May as well tell everyone's sexual preferences while we're at it.

    January 12, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. Archie in Utah

    wow! is all i have to say...
    what a potpourri of people. :) im very happy for this pick.
    the rest of you people leaving the nasty comments... you disgust me.
    check yourselves into a mental hostpital.
    act like adults.
    love one another.

    peace

    January 12, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. Center of the Middle

    For all you religios people who appose gay marriage on the grounds that in undermines the "sanctity of marriage"

    What about divorce? NOTHING undermines the sanctity more than that...

    I don't see any anti divorce rallys anywhere....

    January 12, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  9. Oklahomain for Change

    I was a believer, I donated, got people out to vote, I stood by this candidate. Even when I didn’t always agree. Me and my family where planning on attending this event and it would have probably been the highlight of our trip to Washington seeing we were not able to get tickets to the inaugural. I am Christian I been in the church all my life and i have no ill will for gay people. But to take a public event and now attempt to make some kind of moral statement when it is against the very thing that most Christians hold deer. As a Black American I must say Mr. Obama is wrong, and lack the respect to even to began to understand the feelings of the majority. This is not about human rights or civil rights, this about respecting the people who are not gay and force feeding us their beliefs. To strike at the core of the Christian experience and call it to question everything that we hold deer is an abomination. My support is fading and fading fast. My desire is to go to heaven regardless of who the president is. If the choice is God or a Black president I choose GOD.

    January 12, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. ARE YOU ALL STPID

    I'm not sure america is ready for the change obama is about to dump on us. He makes one SMART move by putting a gay american in his inauguration and look how all u idoits react!! get over it!! To me if you think obama and this preist are wrong I think you are all going to rot in hell! I hope you do it is bad as americans to judge one another. This is wrost than racism. I hope that obama will wake america up and make same sex marriage legal. For those who can't jump on the train for change!! Aren't americans and don't deserve to be called americans!! As long as you're around I won't think of you as americans I will think of you as just stupid people!

    January 12, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Matthew

    Just so people know, the word "abomination" in ancient hebrew translates as "social taboo", rather than "evil sin". Ancient hebrew had others words (i.e. not abomination) to describe things that were considered truly evil, and these words were used in other places in the Bible. As with many social taboos (for example, picking one's nose), they may be considered gross or unappealing. But that does that mean that those acts are evil, or that those who do them deserve discrimination. The writers of the Bible made a choice when they used the word "abomination" and that choice tells us that they saw homosexuality as a cultural taboo, a gross act, but by no means evil. There is a very big difference.

    January 12, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Steve

    To all "Christians" who believe that gays, atheists, and people of other faiths go to hell: what you're saying is that you happily believe in a God who condemns people to eternal torment because of what they believe or who they choose to love and/or have sex with. In other words, you support torture.

    So, maybe what you should really be angry about is Obama's decision to close Gitmo.

    January 12, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  13. jason

    "So this guy is critical of Warren, who lives out what he believes (the Bible is clear on homosexuality along with many other sins), yet he is going directly against the same Bible he claims to believe. Hmm."

    this is the epitome of what i see to be wrong with the political discourse of this country. many people see one right way and many wrong ways, and then condemn anyone who tries to find some middle ground as inconsistent, flip-flopping, you name it. it's a sin, anymore, to hold a set of beliefs, but to include in the conversation/debate anything contrary. but, including only one point of view is dangerous, as is evidence by the last 8 years.

    January 12, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. Dave

    So does this mean Obama is forgiven for inviting Rick Warren.

    The essence of old style politics especially in Chicago is appearing to be on both sides of an issue tiat the same me. Good thing Barack doesn't subscribe to those old style political tactics.

    January 12, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. John

    First, lets talk facts. Disagreement is not hate speech. I simply do not believe that homosexuality is genetic. If it is, then all sorts of sexual behavior we disagree with becomes legitimate. If homosexuality is genetic then it is simply logical that the same argument can be made for pedophilia. DNA does not have social mores attached to its helix. If you hold to a naturalistic world view you you must accept that evolution (ie, natural selection) has selected this group of people to not breed through their desires for same sex relationships; children can only come from male and female. Last, I reject it based upon scripture: Only male and female intercourse is sanctionied by G_D vis-a-via marriage.

    January 12, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Sara

    These comments are proof that religion divides. Leave religion out of the inauguration and out of government.

    -Proud Atheist

    January 12, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. FreeNLovIt

    The Bible holds Spiritual laws. These laws are above all physical laws. They can override physical laws and heal and soothe and save the SOULS of all men and women.

    For example, a unit of our congregation went on an exorcism task. The elders were sent out but COULD not call the demons out of the person. The demon invoked the laws of sins to make their invocations powerless. The demon spoke of every single person's sins in their lives. They, therefore, had to go back and ask for forgiveness of their sins. Then they could invoke the power of God to cast the demon out of the person.

    Spiritual laws transcend all LAWS.

    January 12, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The Right Rev'd V. Gene Robinson, duly elected, ratified and consecrated Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, is about as far from grandstanding as Rick Warren is from the truth about GLBTQA people.

    Bishop Robinson is a humble, self-effacing priest, who goes where he is invited and where he's NEEDED.

    His people overwhelmingly elected him; our General Convention ratified that by a comfortable majority.

    Former bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh and the "Anglican Province in North America" are about using HATE to gain POWER and MONEY. Make no mistake about THAT.

    Howard Ahmanson and Richard Mellon Scaife are bankrolling HIS craven attempts to rend and tear the Body of Christ.

    Unsurprisingly, Duncan will be "moderator" ("archbishop") of the renegade province, which, BTW, is NOT recognized by Canterbury, the Primates' Meeting, OR Lambeth Conference. He's been waiting for YEARS for an excuse to get himself enthroned as an archbishop.

    The Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada, along with the Episcopal Church of Mexicon, remain the legitimate Anglican Provinces in North America.

    + Gene is BY NO MEANS the first gay Anglican bishop; he's just the first with the courage to be HONEST about it.

    Bud Burgoon-Clark
    San Diego CA USA

    January 12, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. MelissainMinneapolis

    I am proud to be both an Episcopalian (in a straight, healthy marriage who has many wonderful friends and family who are gay) and an Obama supporter today.

    For those interested in this issue, I suggest the documentary For The Bible Tells Me so – it's all about people of faith who are for, against, or somewhere in between on the issue (although it does tend to lean toward acceptance).

    January 12, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Paul

    Romans 1

    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

    25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them

    January 12, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. BIG NATE

    PS. MANY PEOPLE SAY, "ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME", THIS IS A
    TRUE SAYING, BUT REMEMBER GOD WILL ONLY JUDGE YOU BY
    WHAT HE HAS DECLARED AS HIS STANDARD AND REQUIREMENT
    FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. IF GOD DID NOT MAKE KNOWN THESE THINGS THEN YOU WOULD BE FREE AND CLEAR TO DO WHATEVER YOUR HEART DESIRES WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES. BUT BECAUSE HE HAD MADE KNOWN HIS STANDARD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUG HIS WRITTEN WORD, THEN YOU WILL BE JUDGED BY THOSE THINGS CONTAINED IN HIS WORD. HIS WORD THEN BECOMES YOUR JUDGE . IN OTHER WORDS YOU WILL BE JUDGED BY THE BIBLE NOT MAN. I HOPE YOU KNOW WHAT'S WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE. AMEN

    January 12, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. FreeNLovIt

    The Bible holds Spiritual laws. These laws are above all physical laws. They can override physical laws and heal and soothe and save the SOULS of all men and women.

    For example, a unit of our congregation went on an exorcism task. The elders were sent out but COULD not call the demons out of the person. The demon invoked the laws of sins to make their invocations powerless. The demon spoke of every single person's sins in their lives. They, therefore, had to go back and ask for forgiveness of their sins. Then they could invoke the power of God to cast the demon out of the person.

    Spiritual laws transcend all LAWS.

    Remember, Jewish Priest, when offering sacrifices to God, if they are not in the right mind and did not enter the Holy Room, untainted, they will DROP dead. There's a string that is tied at the bottom of the ankle and one can pull them out if they drop dead.

    January 12, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    One very helpful piece of advice in order to stay on someone's good side, never talk about religion because you don't know who you will offend

    January 12, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  24. Steph

    You can fight as much as you want here. God is still the God and He will judge when the time comes. No matter how left or how arrogant you are, the end of day you will face judgement. What Obama tries to do here is to please everyone. The Bible says you can have only one God, I am a Christian and I understand what Obama is doing and know that Bishop Robinson has the right to accept the invitation. What I don't understand is for someone who knows the Bible so well but declares his disappointment in Rick Warren for his support of California Prop 8 because of his own sexual orientation. It is indeed an insult to Christianity and his so called "Father". May God forgive Priest Robinson and others opposed to Him (GOD).

    January 12, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Barry

    I always wondered why the religious right always picked and choosed what to agree with and not in the Bible. I was taught when I was raised in a Christian Church that when Jesus was crucified, the new covenant replaced the old.So that means, by their own teaching, that Leviticus was voided under the new Covenant.

    January 12, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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