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. Ravi in MO

    Michael, you are completely entitled to be an atheist. But you said that Obama's inclusion of religious leaders in his inauguration violates church-state separation. It does not, and here's why:

    The No Establishment Clause of the first amendment simply dictates that the government cannot endorse any specific religion or denomination. It does NOT mandate the exclusion of religion from the public sphere. What you're asking for (by banning religious officials/prayers from the inauguration) is the Establishment of your own religion of Atheism/Secularism as the State religion, which violates the first amendment. We are one nation under God (which is a generic term and is used by all religions), and therefore our elected leaders have a right to invoke the name of any God of their choice, or none at all.

    Don't try to force secularism down our throats please. Some of us do NOT want the US to be anything like Europe (which includes embracing secularism)!

    January 12, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. John

    I read Romans 1: 18-32 and I don't see your point. Yes, its says ,"Men committed shameless acts with men", however, it does not say that they were homosexual. For all we know, they could have been molesting each other or even harming each other because it also says they were,"Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit . . .", that does not sound like a gay person to me, it just sounds like some one who has not found God. I am a Christian, and proud of it, but I also support gays and the gay community. So, President-Elect Obama, I say that this is an excellent choice for you, the gay community, and Christianity. God Bless.

    January 12, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. Bob in KC

    If God exists, and IF God is uniquely infinite in "wisdom", and IF "God" ( whatever the name) is the "Creator of the entire universe", then the only fact that matters is that all of creation was made with a true unfathomable perfection . Therefore, ALL Humans were actually created with variations of sexuality, belief, desires, understandings, faiths and interpretations. BY GOD.
    No one culture is correct. No one political system is correct. All modern faiths are based upon supression, financial gain, fear of death and hatred.
    If Jesus was alive today, he would be recrucified with Christian hatred.( no one wants to lose the money given to buy salvation) Jesus never claimed to be God.. that would have been an arrogant presumption.
    If the great prophets of Islam were to speak about what they have learned in the "after life", they would preach that we all are brothers.

    There is no God. It is time that we realize that once we are dead, that there is no second chance.

    January 12, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. david

    I'm thinkikng..... with truth so relative and such a nice spirit of ecumenicalism, perhaps we could get a couple of pedophiles and bestialitiests to sing Amazing Grace . That would be a nice touch.

    January 12, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Janet

    to the comment from Houston, TX, we won't loose our freedom because of prejudice and hate; it will be because we have turned so far from God. Don't you get it, if a true Christian (which by the way) means "Christ-like" speaks truth, it is defined as hate. To all who have lumped all who call themselves Christians into one lump and have just as much hate in your comments, if not more, Christ died on a cross by those who didn't like what He had to say. He gave His life freely so that everyone could make their own choice to serve Him ore deny Him. People don't want to believe that their lifestyle is a sin. Therefore, like the Bible says, "EVERYONE, will have to stand before a Holy God, Who judges sin; and each person will have to give an anwer for their choices. Let me choose to believe what is sin and I will let you choose, but in the end, I have to stand and answer, and so do you!!!
    So the way I see it is if you don't agree with whatever makes someone feel good, does that make you a "bad person?" Well in America, our forefathers wanted us to have "freedom of speech"; so get over it and let the Christian have freedom of speech.

    January 12, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Jen

    I wish Rev. Robinson would replace Rick Warren, given that his views are more inclusive of diversity.

    I am happy that Rev. Robinson is. at least, playing a role in the inauguration.

    January 12, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. mary faye brown

    Well why not...He has got that right wing wack o doodle doing the wearing in so having a gay priest partici[ating ebens it all out.

    Obama is the president of all of us...bravo Obama!!!

    January 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. fefe

    I have too tell you i'm a bit surprised, why he's trying to accomadate gays is beyond me i just hope he don't forget to help the others.

    January 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. Chip of Louisville Kentucky

    I would dearly like to see this country split into two groups. Those who are willing to regard everyone as legal equals regardless of their religious or sexual preferences, and those who arent. Im willing to bet anything and everything that the group with those who regard everyone as equal would be the cleanest, richest, most enjoyable and all around happiest.

    January 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  10. bill

    seems that Obama is more tolerant than even Robinson, who was concerned because Warren "Wouldn't pray like me." Does that mean, if we don't pray like Robinson, that we are wrong? Who's the biggot?

    January 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Ted

    Now I hope the deranged Evangelicals and the whiny one-issue only gay rights people will step aside and let more important issues be dealt with.

    January 12, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Amy

    Good gracious, the comments here are blowing my mind. Obama is allowing people with stances on both sides of a major issue to be part of his inauguration. How on earth is that a bad thing? This country needs MORE open-minded leaders, not less.

    January 12, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. kurt ingram

    It funny how easy it is for some of us who are open minded to be close minded about close minded people.

    January 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. fffreaaaky

    Wow Bart, a very well thought out opinion. It's refreshing to read.

    Those who are so concerned with what others do in the privacy of their bedrooms is way beyond me. But for all those that voted for Prop 8 in California…those that are implying their backward beliefs on society…you will NEVER change who gays and lesbians choose as their partners.

    Civil unions are far from equal to marriage. Gays cannot file taxes the same as married couples. Our children are subject to different rules for establishing health insurance coverage. Heck, our foreign partners would not even be able to establish residency in the United States under current situation…which married spouses would enjoy.

    I just have to laugh at how un-educated these racists come across.

    January 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. I have to say...

    who cares, as long as he delivers a good sermon, a boring sermon is its own sin

    January 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Mr. Phil

    Hey Truth Hurts, you would never force your "believes" (it's beliefs by the way) on anyone yet you say marriage is between one man and one woman and heterosexuals by definition should not be allowed to marry. That IS forcing your beliefs on someone!!! To all of you quoting Leviticus, according to that, football is immoral (thou shalt not handle the flesh of swine on the sabbath) and so are polyester cotton blends (thou shalt not wear cloth of mixed fibers).

    January 12, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. chris

    Invoking whom? I know: the popular mind of the American dolts.

    January 12, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. until tomorrow

    WHO CARES if he is gay. You will be condemned if you condemn. THAT IS TRUE. and people, stop judging. What makes you any better than a gay priest? NOTHING. Accept people for who they are and guess what, if you don' t like who they are, set your OWN boundary. Don't try to make others live out your dreams! He among you who is innocent, throw the first stone.

    January 12, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Michael Todd

    Thank you Mr. Obama for allowing the world to see the breath of your vision for an inclusive America. We are the last of the disinfranchised group that make up what our founders invisioned for an America of "We the People." I believe that the conservatives would prefer that the government not use the word marriage. I believe that they feel a certain sense of ownership in their definition of the word. If they need marriage to mean a legal union between a man and a woman that is santified by the church then let them have it. As long as they don't deny any other American their birthright...the same laws that we were taught protect us all under the Constitution.
    Keep the Church Out of Politics....AMEN

    January 12, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Andy

    To all the donkeys who are attacking Christians here, read the Bible before you open your mouths. If you read the Prophecies you will see where the truth is. BTW, aethists are the most hateful little critters i have seen....they make the neck slashers of Islam look like Mother Teresa......Read the Bible and see the prophecies.....you just might learn something....

    January 12, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. A Voice

    Can you believe it? I do not believe the Christianity that our President-Elect Obama is demonstrating is the same Christianity that is displayed in the Holy Bible. The choice of an openly homosexual man to provide an invocation during the inaugural events is a slap in the face to the Almighty’s commandments. To knowingly and proudly allow a man living in sin to seek favor from God for his administration and our country, I believe is a great mockery to the One who holds our country in His hands. It is a false humility to seek grace from our Father, but to ignore the precepts against homosexuality in His word. God’s wrath is being stored up for people and nations who turn there back on Him. I challenge you to pray for our country. Pray for forgiveness. Pray for mercy. Pray as Abraham prayed that the righteous would not be punished with the wicked. No amount of evil can have victory over God or His people.

    January 12, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. S. Callahan

    The God I pray to is Spirit...but quite real...I just can't concieve him appreciating all this bickering taking place on this great world he created just for us. Can't we all be better stewards of our hearts and minds? Enough of the I'm better than you stuff, or I'll whine because you don't agree with me. God gave us ten commandments, and put much focus on # 1. To love him with all your heart mind and soul, because in doing so you are then loving yourself (as he created you in his image). Equally important he stressed to love your neighbor (that would be inclusive of all people). Let God do the judging, he promises he will. If people would just listen to his Spirit we would have a much happier world.

    January 12, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. still searching for constitutional equality

    why dont we all just pray in our homes , in our cars, in our churches everyday between now and then, and then we wont have the need to choose one or four religious viewpoints over countless others.. and therefore this issue that divides us, wont be an issue in this already stressful transitional time in the life of our nation.

    blind sheep wont get into heaven, they did not find God through Jesus on their own... they simply followed someone else.. do the work and thought yourself.. quit being lazy, find spirituality over religion.

    January 12, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Entynchano

    Does Obama have a clue? He certainly can't tell who are men of God but to invite men of no moral character such as Robinson who left his wife and children for an un-natural, un-Godly relationship says alot about him.

    January 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. Oklahomain for Change

    Most of the people who are against this are posting comments based on their beliefs and feelings. The name calling and the hate is coming from the supporters of this. I supported Obama but ,why is he trying to force this on us . We should have a write to participate in the Inaugural without having our Christian belifs made a mockery of . Its like he is attempting to put the church on trial. Our commandments have stood for thousands of years these are not fads or mere emotions there are not subject to the time we live. These are deeply held beliefs and to call the church out like this may be catastrophic for Mr. Obama.

    January 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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