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. Jack in Florida

    In God we Trust............for ALL americans.

    January 12, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Capital Insider

    Maybe Obama can weigh in and help sort out this mess in California with Proposition 8. I think the nation is far from healing. Isn't it funny that In California so many people voted for Obama, but so many voted against Proposition 8? It makes you think that California Democrats like Obama just fine, but don't feel so comfortable with Gay Marriage.


    January 12, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. boered1

    @ Oh No I will read your verse tonight when I get back to a bible I ask you, however to read a verse a little further in genesis, Genesis 3:16 and tell me if that is how oyu think women should be treated. the bible has been rewritten more than once. When King jaqmes had his translation done he was the final authority on how it was written. he changed items so that they did not reflect the literal translation. Mostly he did this to increase the power of kings, but he also did it on several other issues (including women). So while I agree the bible was inspired by God (I am NOT an atheist) I also understand that taking quotes out of the bible and out of context of the time and writers background is just as foolish as, say, saying McCain said we will be in Iraq for 100 years and that is alright with him. While technically true the context defines it much differently than it was taken when taken out of context.

    thanks for reading and responding in a non confrontational manner it is good to see normal conversation on here once in a while.

    January 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Christina

    Robinson has the right to participate, but he will lack credibility for millions of Christians around the world during this historic event. The Episcopal Church in the US is already losing members to Anglican dioceses in other nations.

    January 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. H

    I'm confused I thought Christians hated gays? Weird.

    January 12, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. alvino

    I am continually amazed at how you drift in and out of reality in the same sentence. I am not sure Rush would even accept your rhetoric.

    January 12, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Brad

    god isn't real. Religion is a scam. Unfortunately most Americans are too dumb to realize this. Myth and superstition should have NO PLACE in government.

    January 12, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. JC

    Obama never ceases to amaze, and I do mean positively.

    January 12, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Brandon from WI

    I am glad in some ways that Obama picked both Mr. Warren and Mr. Robinson. When you have people that believe in such opposing views on some subjects, but agree on others, it becomes a symbol of what Obama is trying to accomplish. UNITY.
    All Americans have the right to live as they choose only so long as those choices do NOT deny the rights of others. Mr. Warren may not like how the GLBT community lives it's life, but that's OK. It is only when he denies the GLBT the rights they deserve that it becomes wrong.
    You live your religeon your way and I will live it mine.

    January 12, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. MikeH

    Ahh, to live free of the psychosis of religion.

    To see a stone and understand the geologic forces that brought it into being, and the stellar fires that gave birth to it's very substance.

    For me, God is Gravity, it needn't be any more complicated than that.

    The rest is merely variation on a theme, the few controlling the many, the greater number slaughtering the lesser number.

    January 12, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. TJ

    This priests inclusion doesn't fix the fact that Rick Warren is there. Warren is a person who preaches hate and intolerance to Americans who are easily lead by the nose. Reading many of these comments proves how ignorant so many people are.

    The entire gay marriage thing is to me one of the oddest debates in Americas history. Why would anyone want to be party of something that Americans and many all over the world have made such a mockery of. Heterosexual people get divorced at the drop of a hat. It's a complete joke. It would be better to abolish marriage!

    And you can tell how many people don't know a thing about the bible with their misquotes or quotes based on some random version of the bible that's been re-translated a hundred times over and over until it is at the point that much of it doesn't even mean what it says in the versions of today.

    And for those who call yourself Christian, you should remember what was actually preached was to LOVE.......

    Not judge, cast stones, shun, hate...............

    January 12, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. ash

    i say you all ready 1 corinthians chapter 6.

    January 12, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Brad

    Newsflash to the religious tards: The New Testament – and Jesus – have NO MENTION of homosexuality at all. The few sentences in the entire bible about homosexuality exist in the old testament – judaism.

    jesus loves gays

    January 12, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. Sharon

    Wow – judge away, folks. Robinson was ordained a minister and bishop BY HIS CHURCH, so whether you agree or not, his appointment was made by theologians much better educated in theology, Christianity, and the Bible than most of the hate spewers posting commentary here. I just love the way someone with little to no education can set up a church in an abandoned store front in this country, attract a congregation, and convince said congregation that their vision of Christianity is the only right one. Hello – if you are a protestant denomination, your church is only about 500 years old, and was born in the same type of dissent that leads modern-day churches to recognize that women and gays have a place at the altar. You "Fundamentalists" are an even younger sect, and considering most can't even see straight when the words "Catholic" or "Judaism" are mentioned, I have to wonder what "fundamentals" of Christianity you're espousing?

    January 12, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Ali

    I can't stand people who can't resist the urge to quote some silly verse in the bible every chance they get. The religious right is really a sad, pathetic, grumpy bunch of people.

    January 12, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Bobby B.

    Oh my god, Whats next OBAMA. The word of God does not prohibit Gays in any form. No morals in this country anymore. True Obama, anything to get elected. This is a shameful day in America.

    January 12, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. Dan K

    The bishop should have worn something over his mouth for the sake of modesty, if you get my drift.

    January 12, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Br

    Another example that the Church Age has come to an end!!

    January 12, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. philip

    Organized religions are the root of all evil in the world. All one has to do is look at history and present day. This does not mean one cannot believe in god, just not enlist ones soul with a religion run by men for their own moral and monetary profit!

    January 12, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. Meka



    January 12, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Why call Christians bigots?? We are not against people but the sin. I belive having a relationship with a same sex partner is a sin, but it as much of a sin like lying, theft, and so on. I do not hate homosexuals. I have many friends that are openly gay. That doesn't mean I have to agree with their life style. I believe everyone is the same in Christ's eyes. Please stop calling Christians ignorant. You do not have to agree with us, but don't lower yourself to name calling.

    I am okay with Obama's decision. Any minister he would have picked would have sin in his/her life. Rick Warren has as much sin in God's eyes as does this openly gay priest. God loves all no matter the sin.

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

    The Bible declares a lot of modern day practices sins. But there is also a new testament that allows forgiveness for one's sins if you repent in your hear. Either way, as Christians, we are to love one another. We are not the judge of our fellowman's personal choices. The purpose of an invocation is nondenominational. This pastor and Warren have the right to interpret the Bible and believe what they want. This isn't an Obama show, it's America's inauguration. That means everyone no matter their political affiliation. The comments displayed today are why I can't vote Republican: too critical and hypocritical.

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

    I think you are right that Obama wants to please everyone. Isn't EVERYONE a part of this country.

    It really isn't on us to judge and yes, I believe everyone should be represented. Wake up America – believe in what you say, when you say I love all God's people.

    It is never about the man or women when it comes to God – it's how the words they speak affect your heart, your personal understanding.

    January 12, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. mary

    It's amazing how when Obama selected Rick Warren, the gay rights were outragedat his choicebecasue it is their way or no way. but you don't hear the majority of Americans decrying this choice even though he represents beliefs that are not theirs. Which group are really the intolerant ones.????

    January 12, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. PJP in OK

    Scott January 12th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

    Hell…meet handbasket

    Hey Scott, that's the most I have heard 3 words say in a long, long, time! Good job!!

    January 12, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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