January 12th, 2009
06:44 PM ET
3 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. TCM

    Obama should kick this dude out....trying to appease the crowd needs to be toned down. This guy doesn't even want to use a Bible, because he's afraid he'll offend someone....screw that. We need to stop catering to special interest; gays, illegals...atheists....and drive the country forward on the principles of the founding fathers....When Rick Warren was selected..everyone was whining...select a gay, no one says anything...it needs to be the exact opposite. Special interest or minoritie groups should'nt be penalized, however, they should in no way receive preferential treatment....they should merely be tolerated. Too much of this catering crap....

    January 12, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. boered1

    ga. January 12th, 2009 1:27 pm ET

    in Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13, GOD CALLS THIS LIFE STYLE AN ABOMINATION, God will be your judge just like he will all of us. God Bless America
    ___________________________________________________

    so how was your Easter ham? in the same chapter eating pig is also called an abomination. I know like most members of the radical right you ignore the parts of the bible you do not agree with and that is OK.

    _____________________________________________________

    Oh No! January 12th, 2009 1:26 pm ET

    P-E Obama, for the first time I am truly disappointed in your selection.

    Romans 1:18-32

    _____________________________________________________

    Jesus spoke out against many sins, but HE never spoke out against this one. you are quoting someone who 1) is not jesus 2) was known as a hard liner Jew before his conversion 3) has been shown to have never left his hard line status after his conversion. In other words the one you are quoting to justify your religion may, very possible, be wrong in his popinion.

    idiots

    January 12, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. yellow dog democrat

    This is not a religious state – all you who are for that – please go to IRAN or join the TALIBAN – that is your rhetoric!!

    January 12, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. PDX Gal

    Well, here's a test to see if CNN will actually post a comment that has something nice to say about the Rev. Gene Robinson....

    This man is genuinely kind, rather than the fake stuff that you see from so many megachurch ministers.

    He wouldn't have any appreciation for my snarky and divisive comments either. He simply asks everybody to take an honest look at history, and to take an honest look at how the bible has been misused to defend atrocities toward families and individuals that have done no harm to anybody. He's a wonderful bridge-builder & educator.

    January 12, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. T

    It's truly wonderful to see that so many ultra-conservative, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner, Bible-thumpers read AND have time to post comments on CNN.com, in addition to spewing it on FOXNews.

    As Gandhi said..."I really like your Christ. I don't like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

    Read that over again, and then take a long hard look at yourself, and see what you come up with.

    January 12, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. TCM

    Obama supporters shouldn't get angry...because, after all, you selected a guy that voted "present," most of his political life (all 6 months of it) ...so, for him to waffle from a gay to an anti-gay....is status quo for him;
    he did, said, and promised anything to get your vote...why would he change now? He's campaigning for the next election! Slick Willy Clinton taught the boy that one!

    January 12, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. daleesp

    How American... I am as proud as ever we as a nation are continuing to progress!!!

    January 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. John, Brooklyn, New York

    As a gay American, I find the inclusion of Gene Robinson in the inauguration to be irrelevant.

    Gene Robinson has actively campaigned for legislation to dismantle gay families – Rick Warren has. Gene Robinson has not intentionally lied about existing law to scare people into behaving in a particular manner at the polls – Rick Warren has. Gene Robinson has not sought to exclude gay people from the faith community simply becasue of their demographics – Rick Warren has.

    The notion by the Obama team that Gene Robinson and his "gayness" somehow will serve to balance out their Rick Warren debacle is, at best, a sad example of flimsy pandering. At worst, it is a clumsy attempt to cover up the new administration's homophobia.

    January 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. KB in Co

    Live and let live ha, it's not like that means anything to the majority of appalled babies on this blog grow up people!!

    January 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Gerry

    I wonder if the gay community will now issue an apology to Obama for his selection of other clergy involved in the inaugeration.

    January 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. dallas female

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! January 12th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

    THE FUNNY THING IS PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY BUYING TICKETS FOR THIS EVENT!!!!!!!

    HOW CAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAY THIS ECONOMY IS BAD WHEN THEY HAVE MONEY TO SPEND ON THIS INAUGURATION?????

    THE TICKETS SHOULD BE FREE!!!!!!

    --------------------
    hey jerk- they are free but not all attending are d.c. residents. SO some people are spending money to come see a FREE event. i do it all the time . i live in dallas but drive to see free events in austin...
    you should be happy because the people spending money to go to D.C. are keeping the people who work for hotels, planes, taxi's, etc in work for another month. wise up!!!
    and on the topic of this "ticker" good for Obama. at least he is going along with his promise to keep everyone included and do his best to hear both sides of the story. i agree with the atheist. i am an agnostic and don't care to much to see religion tied with politics. if we really want to stay true to our roots we need to go back to the pagan religion that was around before christianity. we can all dance naked at a fire lit in front of the mall.

    PEACE! it's more than a trend it's a lifestyle.

    January 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. John, Brooklyn, New York

    As a gay American, I find the inclusion of Gene Robinson in the inauguration to be irrelevant.

    Gene Robinson has NOT actively campaigned for legislation to dismantle gay families – Rick Warren has. Gene Robinson has not intentionally lied about existing law to scare people into behaving in a particular manner at the polls – Rick Warren has. Gene Robinson has not sought to exclude gay people from the faith community simply becasue of their demographics – Rick Warren has.

    The notion by the Obama team that Gene Robinson and his "gayness" somehow will serve to balance out their Rick Warren debacle is, at best, a sad example of flimsy pandering. At worst, it is a clumsy attempt to cover up the new administration's homophobia.

    January 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. j

    Maybe the right thing to do is to simply leave out all religious trappings from the inaugural ceremonies, unless you're prepared to include a voice for all religious beliefs, don't include any – would make separation of church & state a dream come true.

    January 12, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Hillary

    Everyone needs to relax. Obama has shown that he wants to have a variety of different people and different views present at his inauguration, and it turns out that gays are just one more group that deserves to have a voice here. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get one!

    January 12, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Jonny 5

    To respond to lane, the question makes sense. What exactly is a gay christian who believes in no sex outside of marriage supposed to do? I believe the science indicates that "changing" is not a real posibility. And marriage is illegal. So, are marriage-minded gay people supposed to remain lonely? To supress all sexual urges? To break their sense of the sanctity of marriage.

    Personally, I don't believe that I must be married to have a sexual relationship. And yet I have the right to marry.

    But a gay person who believes sex is only something that should happen in the context of marriage? Well, that person has no options. That's messed up.

    This is why gay marriage must be legalized.

    All this said, I am hopeful that Obama's inclusion of both these people will help move the dialogue forward. Warren has some good stances on other issues and hopefully his heart is open to change...

    January 12, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. nclaw441

    I have enough of my own shortcomings, so I choose not to judge this bishop. I believe differently than he does, but I don't take it as my place to condemn him. I do disagree with the concept of "gay marriage" as a contradiction in terms. Marriage already has a meaning, and that meaning cannot include the union of two persons of the same sex. Devise another term for such unions, let same sex couples join in such unions if they are so inclined, and move on.

    January 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. American

    Welcome To The Obama Show!!!!! People like you make Americans look bad!

    January 12, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Jon

    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.

    January 12, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. WAKE UP

    You'd be surpised...BUT not everyone bases their lives around religion. I'm glad it gives you something to hope for, but I live my days by what makes me happy....and I guess that makes me GAY!

    Wake up. It's people like you haters who cause more hate. Maybe you homophobes should stop birthing homosexual babies...

    January 12, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    Just be true to yourself. I expect Warren to carry a Bible because it is the true Word of God. It is used in many places in the world to heal the sick and drive out demons. We answer to God, not MEN.

    January 12, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Atheist priest

    But is he married to a woman?

    January 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Matthew, Houston, TX

    TCM,

    You know nothing, spew misinformation and never contribute constructively.

    Obama voted 'present' on 3.3% of his votes in the state legislature.
    His actual legislative experience is 8 years, you moron.

    Go away . . . please.

    January 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    THIS COUNTRY, THE USA, BELONGS TO ALL OF US TO ENJOY OUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS. IF WE KEEP WORKING AT IT HARD ENOUGH, WE WILL LOSE OUR FREEDOMS BECAUSE OF PREJUDICE AND HATE.

    January 12, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. kuriya

    People who think they are not sinners and are righteous please give Obama a break. Neither are any righteous or perfect either, we are all children of God. Let God be the judge not you haters.

    January 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Scott

    Hell...meet handbasket....

    January 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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