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

Openly gay bishop to deliver first inauguration event invocation

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.robinson.gi.jpg caption="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. An Obama Supporter

    I am an obama supporter and although I find it very funny a man who is a priest is willingly "Living in open sin with no expectations on changing it" having such a role... at the same time Obama is the president-elect and has to balance faith and the wants and needs of the non believers. But, it is contradictory to say you follow Christ, but openly and willingly continue to sin. In reality, being homosexual is no worse than getting drunk night after night, in God's eyes. Both are sins, both are equal in the affect; they are crimes against God and his word. Both can also have negative effects on society. Let me be frank, it is said in the last days, "Men will be lovers of themselves", and as you can see, slowly but surely that which was considered immoral and unacceptable has been made acceptable through media and entertainment. Human beings become insensitive to things if they are constantly exposed to it. Which is why it is now tolerated and acceptable to see another man french kiss another man and the same with two women. The same principle can be applied to having a priest still be called a priest or a nun a nun when he/she practices homosexuality. In its essence, Christianity is one religion. There was never supposed to be different denominations. Christians were never supposed to go confess their sins to another human being. Jesus died so that we may have access to the father through him. All of the disciples of Jesus met horrible deaths for following him and proclaimed that he was the Christ even unto their deaths. For the unbelievers, ask yourself… just how far would you continue to proclaim something you knew was false if you were about to get your head chopped off? If there is evil in this world there is a good and vice versa... watch the traps!!!

    January 12, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Gaetan, Boston, MA





    January 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Voice of Reason

    As a Christian, I am pleased with both the selection of Rick Warren and Gene Robinson. I think it sends a message of inclusion for all people and beliefs. With that said, I am confused about how Robinson can explain being a gay minister according to the Bible. Many Christians will not accept him as an authentic.

    I hope one day that gays will understand that most Christians are not AGAINST gays. We are only trying to protect the institution of marriage as God has defined it to us. We are more intrested in OBEYING GOD, than we are in JUDGING PEOPLE.

    January 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. fred

    I see Obama picked this guy to satisfy the gay community, because in no way is he a key religious leader in our country. Obama is trying to make everyone happy, but I believe he is putting that above principle which is not good.

    January 12, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    erin @4:20-

    Now why would you want to use a calm, reasonable and rational argument in here?

    Don't you know the wingnuts aren't happy unless they can foam at the mouth a couple of times per day over these silly things?

    January 12, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Working for a living

    This whole thing has turned into a made for TV Movie. Enough. Thank God for TIVO. I will have something else to watch during this time.

    January 12, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. rodlang

    He can duke it out with Rick Warren.

    January 12, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. An Obama Supporter

    @ Vincent Petrosino

    Trying to help is not judging. I can see you point Vincent... there are so many religions out there, how can there can be only one where you can reach heaven? Well, wouldn't you say that there are more lies than truths in this world. I mean just thinking about life itself. Ask yourself, in what other religion has a being come down, never sin, teach priest the bible at the age of 12, turned the huministic way of thinking upside down and said that God is love and you you need is faith, to love your neighbor, and to believe in me and you will reach the father. Then endure, being beaten, stabbed with thorns, and nailed to a cross with 3 inch thick 8 inch nails in such a way that you would suffer a severly painful death while still proclaiming his love for humanity? Then to die and buried in a tomb which took at least 9 roman soliders to close and then guarded byt 3 shifts of soliders day and night only to rise again and show people all over this world that He is the word and God is faithful to his children. I couldn't find any other religions to protray such divine principles as these. Ask, yourself why people have such a problem with the name Jesus Christ... want do you feel when you say it, does your heart skip a beat, does hair stand up on your arm, are you afriad? People seem have a problem with that name but no other name in human religion. I wonder why....

    January 12, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Indepedent Josh

    I was a strong supporter of Obama. But not anymore. He will never get my vote. He tried to pretend as he was a church goer. But the truth is he was going to church for political reasons. This is a prove that he is atheist. Looooooooooooooooser!

    January 12, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Steve

    To everyone bashing the orientation of the Reverend Robinson:

    Take the plank out of your own eye first.

    January 12, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Aimee

    To Vincent Petrosino....wonderful comments...that was summed up perfectly and beautifully.
    It is the truth that man wrote the Bible, not God. Man added parts to suit his needs or to be more dominant over another. The sad truth is those who believe differently and take man's word over God's. Its enough to make one cry! I pray for all those who are God's children....not just those pre-selected from society who are supposed to be our betters. If that is the case, then aren't they committing the sin of Pride?

    The Musketeers said it best: All for one and one for all!

    January 12, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Jon

    As a conservative Episcopalian I am ashamed of Gene Robinson. The Church is tearing itself apart over issues such as gay marriage and this will only inflame the situation further.

    January 12, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Agnes Fleming

    I am so glad this Bishop has been invited to give the invocation speech. I am straigt as an arrow, or a straight-jacket if you like, but I am sick to death that the American Episcopals/Anglicans are making such a fuss and spliting over the issue of what should be a personal issue. Get over it already. We are all one in the eye of God, and let's remember what created this church in the first place – a lecherous king.

    January 12, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Oh No!

    boered1 January 12th, 2009 2:14 pm ET
    You must be one of the minority. Please read Genesis 1:27. You will find that there is no in between. So, leave out the name calling and see the truth as it is (in HIS image).


    FYI... I voted for Obama, but I am still disappointed in this selection.

    CNN: Please post my comments, thank you.

    January 12, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Tom, WV

    I can appreciate Obama's vision of unity even if we have different opinions. It is sad to see the hate spewed on this board, and there will be two Americas. One for unity and one for seperation, marginalization, and ignorance. The time for is over for ignorance. Peace.

    January 12, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Ia Guy

    @ John, Brooklyn, New York January 12th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

    To Ken in Dallas,

    Please don't mistake the GLBT community's outrage at the selection of Rick Warren as simply our attempt to prevent someone who disagrrees with us from having a role in the inauguration. Heck – we know we are a minority – and not an especially popular one. If we were angry at everyone that disagreed with us – we'd go crazy.
    Like gays, dislike gays, hate gays...face it. You live in America. Religion tries to force their beliefs...yet accuse gays of doing the same thing. All they want is to be treated equally UNDER LAW. If you don't believe in equal rights for it's fellow citizens you are living in the wrong country. China has some housing available.

    Writing descrimination into any constitution is appauling. You all who voted for Prop 8 do not deserve to call yourself Americans, Leaders of the FREE World.

    January 12, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. virginia for obama

    When I first heard of this, I for a moment thought it wasn't right but. when I start to think about what Obama is trying to do is show that no matter what a person (s) believes in, we are all humans and God's children and we All makes mistakes and sin everyday All OF US do. And with all our shortgoing He still loves us.

    So. . . . if we judge someone and expect God to stike them down He will start with us first.

    PS. . . . NO MATTER WHO OR WHAT YOU ARE this economy is affecting EVERONE. . . . We'll All in this Mess together.

    January 12, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. John. Austin, TX

    MAN!! Christians are such HATEFUL beings!!! HATEFUL... Christians really are bigots!! well... most of them.

    January 12, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. omg

    Great to hear. Now next step: realize religion is actually all BS and move forward binded by humanity, not myths and superstitions.

    January 12, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Ia Guy

    @ Jen

    but my religion says God abolishes homosexuality. ...
    If that were true, then why are we here? Just so you know, the only CHOICE I made was to be who I am. You did not CHOOSE to be str8, you are who you are.

    Many teens kills themselves when they realize they are gay...I hated the idea that I was (based on how I was raised) and came out to my mother for help when I was 19 as I knew she would be there for me.

    I didn't understand it anymore than they did. I was attracted to the opposite sex and didn't know why. I did not know a single other gay person but there was no doubt, just like you had no doubt that you are straight.

    It came to this point. I cannot change who I am. I cannot make myself love someone. These things just happen to us folks, we really don't know why that is. I had to accept myself and the life given to me or I wouldn't be living. All of this pressure is brought on by society

    Think about it.

    January 12, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Splurge

    Obama thinks this makes up for the insult he made to gays by inviting Warren, who has repeated the same disgusting rhtoric we've had to hear about gays from Robertson & Falwell all the years. It doesn't. Just another politician trying to please all the people all the time.

    January 12, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Ken

    America is the land of hypocrisy. We are suppose to leave religion out of government but we continue ban gay marriage based on Christian law. No matter how you try to sugarcoat it, gay marriage has nothing to do with anything other than religion and religion and govt. don't mix well together. Everyone wants to cry about gay marriage like it's the worst thing in the world. No wonder America is turning into a land of crap. We care more about stopping gay marriage than teenage pregnancy, healthcare, education, poverty, etc. Compared to kids in Canada, China, Japan, S. Korea, all of Europe, we rank last in science and math. But who cares about educating young kids.

    January 12, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. william34

    The name of the living God is Jesus. This name is above all names. One day you will confess that Jesus is Lord. The Lord Jesus will never accept the lifestyle of homosexuality. If you people do not change your ways, you will go straight to Hell when you die. Real Christians do not worry about haters of Jesus. The Lord God said in the book of Isaiah in the 55 chapter, his word is like the rain and the snow that waters the Earth. He said his word will do what he wants it to do, and will accomplish what he wants before it returns to him. The word of the Lord Jesus burns right to the soul. The Devil wants you people to see the smoke screen before your eyes. What he has hidden from your view is the raging fire that will destroy him and all sinners alike at the end of time

    January 12, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Librarian

    I love it. People are arguing, debating, thinking, questioning. Now that is truly American. Thank you, President Obama.

    January 12, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. william34

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and snow come down from Heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the to the eater; So shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. ISAIAH 55 verses 8 through 11. For those that want to be saved from Hell, read Romans 10 verses 9 through 13. This is the work of the Lord Jesus! Hi Mr Atheist.

    January 12, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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