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. ChristCommandsIt

    The Bible takes a very clear stance with regards to homosexuality. For all the New Age devotees who say there are many ways to God, I suggest you read the Bible and think again. As Jesus said in Mathew 10:34, He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. You must count the costs of being a Christian, even if it means being unpopular or causing division in the family. God is not some rolaids tablet or a nirvana pill that you try to make Him to be. Jesus was poor, had a tough life, suffered greatly, and was even homeless during his ministry. Remember, everyone will have to give an account of their lives to Jesus one day. Those that laugh right now laugh in vain, as God is not mocked.

    January 12, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Gizmologist

    The man closest to what God taught through Jesus Christ is not even a professed Christian but he speaks and teaches more of what true Christianity is than anyone, including the pope.

    Listen to the Dali Lama some time

    January 12, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Ann

    There have been thousands of gods and there will be thousands more as the universe moves on. The gods worshipped now will die off as they must. I see glimmers of intelligence as more and more come to the conclusion gods are a delusion and may be not as necessary as they were in the past. Science is explaining much we thought of as miracles and will explain more very quickly now that we have computers as powerful as they are. One day, gods will not b necessary and we will do good for goodness sake and forsake delusions for crystal clear rational intelligence. Quoting the invisible cloud buddy to back up a point is irrational. There are currently hundreds of gods – and wars are fought over my god is better than yours. We have moved nowhere from the Greek gods, but I remain hopeful.

    January 12, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Gizmologist

    The man closest to what God taught through Jesus Christ is not even a professed Christian but he speaks and teaches more of what true Christianity is than anyone, including the pope.

    Listen to the Dalai Lama some time

    January 12, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. I love obama

    Man wrote the bible with divine inspiration from god, so stop saying the hand of man wrote it. yes god loves everyone, but gods true love is not letting people do what they please. Gods true love is doing what is needed to bring people to him, to follow his word and truth. When Israel sinned and broke gods covenant, god destroyed them, bringing famine and sword on his people, his people came back to him. Then god sent Christ to do good works and fix what was broken by man. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.[d] 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

    January 12, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. still searching for constitutional equality

    the only people that i want to hear speaking at all during any event is chief justice roberts and soon to be president obama, and his immediate plans for our country. we are in trouble, and squabbing about which minister gets to step over the line of seperation of church and state, seperation of church from state, and seperation of state from church... all are necessary for a truly equal society and an eternal life

    January 12, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Michael

    He's not a bishop. Episcopalians don't have apostolic succession, thus, they do not have valid Holy Orders.

    January 12, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. James Taylor

    As an Episcopal priest and friend of Bishop Robinson's, I am delighted by President-elect Obama's choice. Through his prayer, the world will see what a spiritual, God-centered and loving man Gene is...and he just happens to be gay. Who cares? Congratulations Transition Team on another great selection!

    January 12, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Maryann Rose

    There needs to be a Rabbi, an Atheist, a Scientologist, a Muslim and several others to balance all this Christianity at the Inauguration.


    I voted for Obama, and I think he'll do a good job, but leave religion out of it!

    SEPARATION of CHURCH and STATE!!! Please!

    January 12, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Noemi in Los Angeles

    I am proud of Obama's selection. I am OM Roman Catholic, but I do not think my faith is the "true" religion of this world. OM = Open Minded.

    January 12, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. chiaros

    " I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ. "
    ..... Mahatma Gandhi

    January 12, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. Dee

    "I think the transition team failed to ask the question of what, symbolically, this might say to some of our citizens...”

    My thoughts exactly – regarding the Robinson's slection to speak.

    January 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. Matt M

    Why is it that religion always seems to divide us. Is this what your God wants? The end of humanity will be due to the ones how consider themselves on Gods' side. Their beliefs force everyone into combat. Take a look at what is going on in the Middle East today. It is too bad that we even have to bring religion into our secular government. Perhaps now is the time for Obama to tell all the priests and ministers and guru's to stay home and not come to the inauguration, if they can not get along and start encouraging others to get along.

    January 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. saddened

    I am a Christian, and I don't say that lightly. My personal faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is the single most important thing in my life. You may be expecting me to spew hatred like the kind that is heard all too common on these threads. Instead, I just beg your forgiveness.

    I ask that you forgive us Christians who have said these harmful things. I ask that you forgive us for not caring for the poor. I ask that you forgive us for the Crusades, for our selfishness and bigotry. By doing these things we have misrepresented Jesus. I am so, so, so sorry. Please forgive us. If you can find it within yourself, please examine Jesus for who he is, not who people have twisted him to be. His love is greater than anything we can experience on this earth–and I tell you that from experience.

    –21 year old college student who loves Jesus with her heart, soul, mind, and strength

    January 12, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Alicia

    BRAVO!!!!! i am so ecstatic over how inclusive President Obama is going to be.

    This is the UNITED States of America, ONE nation under ALL.

    **People with their Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly racist and homophobic opinions deal with it.

    The Black are not jumping back.

    They are Queer and they are here.

    January 12, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Andrew McCaskill

    Mr. Robinson is far removed from the Christian faith. Rather, based on his beliefs and behaviors it would be better to refer to him as a Universalist than Christian.

    January 12, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Jaimon

    Obama can't "bring people together" and unite the country if he only listens to prayers from people like Robinson. There is more to faith than what Robinson chooses to do with what's in his pants. I applaud Obama's decision to include both.

    January 12, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. vangoseer

    I've never been prouder of Mr. Obama...a brave, wise and far reaching choice. This once again proves the chasm that exists between those who are a part of this new, open-minded and progressive president's call to tolerance and respect, and those who still think Truman is in the white house. Sorry folks...no matter how much you hate us, we are here, we're not going anywhere, and we will no longer sit at the back of the bus. We will continue to rally, we will continue to vote and one day, we too shall overcome.

    January 12, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. straight-up gay rights supporter

    To "Welcome to the Obama Show": Inauguration tickets are free. Reserved bleacher seats for the parade are $25, but for folks who don't want to pay that, they can get there early and watch the parade for free too. Where are you getting your information?

    Regarding the larger issue of same-sex marriage and Reverends Robinson and Warren – some day (I predict within 10 years), most people will look at this controversy with the same incredulousness as we do the past sin of segregation.

    January 12, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Nancy Marinella

    Those who reject homosexuality due to their religious belief have the right to do so. God in the bible has prohibited not only homosexuality but all sexual behavior outside marriage of one man and one woman.

    Those who reject homosexuality just because it goes against their values are not intolerant. Gays need to be tolerant of those who reject their lifestyle. did i just say, lifestyle?

    These two groups are not judging anyone, they just oppose strongly a behavior they think is threatening to universal and foundational values regarding marriage of a man and a woman.

    January 12, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Paul Lucas

    People, as my grandmother and mother always said, "if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything". Gene Robinson is a fantastic choice.

    January 12, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. Adam

    I'm Christian, and I may not agree with how people choose to live their lives, but as a Christian, it is not my place to judge them. It is my job to accept, respect them and love them like a brother. Judgment comes from another source in Christian faiths, yet Christians routinely judge their fellow men and are incredibly bigoted even to other Christian faiths. It is one reason why I tend not to advertise my faith. Shame at the way others of my faith represent it to the world.

    I am incredibly proud of President Elect Obama's decision to lead by example. It isn't his place to judge, but to respect all, and it is our place to do the same. I don't have to agree with a person, but as a human being, and according to my faith, just as much a child of God as I am, they deserve the same respect from me that I would want from them.

    If we are every going to grow up, we are going to have to learn how to respect differences and realize that someone being different than us is not an attack on us personally. They are simply different. The President Elect seems to have clued into this and is trying to lead by example. I hope we are mature enough to follow.

    January 12, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Home of the Free

    Ted Haggard – Previous plans with gay prostitute lover
    Swaggart – Picking up hookers
    Falwell – Dead
    shuler – Beating up flight attendents.
    Jim Baker – Meeting with parole officer
    Catholic church – No comment
    Obama was unable to find a conserative minister available for this task.

    January 12, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Rob

    It's very painful to see the only country I've ever known destroy itself from within by systematically removing the voice of the traditional American family unit from the air ways, but that's where we're at in 2009.

    January 12, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Ohio Democrat

    Progression is amazing. Obama can't come soon enough. I'm very, very proud to know that one day, being gay won't be seen in a negative light.

    January 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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