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. paul

    I believe in the Bible.
    the Bishop believes in the Bible.
    Do you> and Do you supress the thruth?

    18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
    19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them

    Romans 1

    January 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Aaron

    As a gay Episcopal man, I think that it is great that he is speaking at this event. It's about time that people open their minds. We are all human and we all believe in our own religious beliefs. Obama is what this country needs after 8 years of a complete moran running the country that can't put three words together to form a sentence. We are all one and Obama will turn this country around for the better.

    January 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Home of the Free

    TCM January 12th, 2009 2:13 pm ET

    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….
    Typical racist crap.

    January 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Kornel S. Gyalokay

    This is a sad reflection on our society and especially on President Elect Obama. Perhaps the greatest disapointment however is knowing that Rev. Gene Robinson who has had spiritual training is abandoning that teaching and is without a personal relationship with God. For those in relationship with Jesus will obey him, as it says in Deuteronomy "if you love me, you will obey me". I would like to remind my fellow gentile not to lose sight of the treasure burried in the field... its not too late... however as it stands now Paul's words ring in my ears: "run the race with endurance... careful not to be disqualified ourselves". I fear Rev. Gene Robinson may end up paying a high price for the now, in light of eternity. In the World but not of it...


    January 12, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Jerry R Lucas

    I now get it? For all the things that we have done as Americans, as people, as humans we can now tell each other what is right and wrong.
    To read how each one of us can hate and how we feel our point is the right point makes we wounder just how we got hear. For most it was Bush and for some it has been other things but, know this we will not make it nor will our kids if we do not trun back the hands of hate for each other and our country.
    A father of four a nurse and some one that would give my life to save your please think more about what you write and what we are doing because one day the things we enjoy will be lost to those who know more or think they do.
    Jerry R Lucas RN
    Male Nurse Magazine .com

    January 12, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. disappointed

    It is very sad to see that Obama has chosen an openly gay minister to offer the invocation. Homosexuality is an abomination in the sight of God. The criteria for selection should not be based upon what is pleasing to man or inclusiveness or "reaching across the aisles". It should be based solely upon what pleases God since it is to Him that the invocation will be offered. And while I voted for Obama, as a committed Christian, I am strongly opposed to his stance on abortion and homosexuality.

    January 12, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Vivienne

    I don't understand why he needs to do this. This is why there needs to be a separation between church and state.

    My GOD!

    January 12, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    It takes "real guts" to be inclusive!

    The rest of you are cowards – do this world a favour and find a tall building – at teast two stories high – see if you can land on your head safely? Send us a note if you succeed!

    Go Obama!

    January 12, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Ebony Bates

    I think Obama's choice is a great one... why is it that people are so uncomfortable with situations where there is no looser? It is about time we started to make room at the table for everyone. Just because we don't all share the same views doesn't mean that we can not all get along (or at least try). I'm all for it!

    January 12, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Nathan

    I am not against Robinson's or Warren's involvement in the inauguration, but I do not the bigotry and intolerance in Robinson's comments echoes Warren's. Funny how we always think the OTHER guy is the bigot.

    January 12, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  11. TRW

    Turn your back on HIM.

    January 12, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  12. mark


    January 12, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. HE with out SIN cast the 1st STONE!!!!

    At Times we spurn our Father's love and choose a sinful path; Yet he will not abandon us,Though righteous in his wrath .

    January 12, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. Heath

    I don't know why people are so utterly offended by homosexuality. I am a heterosexual, so does that mean I'm supposed to despise those who are not? People who use religion or the Bible to justify their hatred of other human beings for any reason, whether sexual preference, race, gender, or any other, completely baffle me. I cannot understand those who not only hope to make it to Heaven (if they believe in it) themselves, but hope to EXCLUDE from that Heaven all who do not believe exactly the way they do, OR who believe that way but happen to be "guilty" of something (like homosexuality) that they find wrong.
    Our country has a LONG way to go before it gets to any sort of moral high ground that the current finger-pointing haters of humanity believe we are currently at.

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

    Excellent. We come closer to the day when ALL Americans are represented. What is best about this nation is the nuanced differences among us. We should embrace and celebrate the spectrum of differences that represent this great nation. This is a nice step in that direction.

    January 12, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Dave in NJ

    Religion should never, ever, ever have an influence on public policy. The laws of this country should be based on our inner human morality, which is ingrained in us and has nothing to do with any specific religious belief. To say otherwise is to suggest that those without a declared religious are immoral, which is not only wrong, but powerfully ignorant. The real truth is that every person in this country deserves the exact same rights a priviliges, including the right to marry whomever they love, because that is what marriage is about. Not religion, not procreation, love, and to create any type of policy to hinder that is wrong.

    January 12, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Robert H. Howard

    It's a shame.
    Homosexuals are an aberration and a protestant "bishop" that is a gay goes against the natural law made by God. Shame on you Mr. Robinson!

    January 12, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. It doesn't suprise me!!!

    As a Christian, it is not our priveledge to hate or judge anyone. But are told by the Bible to Hate sin, not some but all sin. I dont understand Obama's views on picking a very diverse selection when it comes to his Christian picks, just to simply pacify everyone. I understand that you cannot please everyone in anything, but it doesn't mean not to try. But when it comes to your "religious" views that is another thing. You dont cross the line just to satisfy a crowd that opposes your stance. This is what it talks about in the Bible, when our government, who is suppose to safeguard us from so much, decides to openly bring in lawlessness, it defiles the land. If Obama doesn't let "everyone" pick how he will run this country, why would he allow for people to run his religious stance. But as a Christian, everything that happens in this corrupt world aligns up with the Word. I just thank God for having my eyes open and hope that God shed mercy upon this nation of abomination.

    January 12, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. kenobi

    Wow, how enlightening to see so many folks posting here who are without sin. And here all along I was taught in my Christian church that all sins are equal & no one is above anyone else in the eyes of God. I guess President-elect Obama was taught that, too.

    January 12, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. jumbo

    i am so sad , what a let down , mr president you can not make everyone happy , this so called bishop is not a man of GOD , be aleader and trun away from this satanic man and perverted sodomite

    January 12, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. S&P

    omg wrote: January 12th, 2009 5:37 pm ET

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

    I just found it funny you would say something like this but put your name as "omg" which if I`m not mistaken stands for "O My God" just found it ironic. As for the issue of him being gay I see no point in arguing. Nothing we say makes it better or worse. We just have to live with it, the choice has been made. I don`t agree with this, and I`m sure many others don`t either, but really what good comes from arguing about it online?

    January 12, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. UrbanInk

    Obama just crossed the line. I can appreciate acceptance and tolerance but this is going too far. A priest represents God and Christianity. A priest offers prayers to the God of the Bible. However this same Bible and this same God condemns the homosexual lifestyle. For a gay man to claim to speak on the behalf of God and claim to intercede between God and his people is like saying Hamas represents the best interest of the nation of Isreal.

    January 12, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. straight-up gay rights supporter

    And to "Truth Hurts" – denying homosexuals the right to marry IS inflicting your beliefs on others. Because you feel it is wrong, you want to take away someone else's civil liberties. How,exactly, is that NOT forcing your belief against same-sex marriage on others?

    Religious beliefs should NEVER be allowed to influence policy on civil liberties. Or let's start stoning everyone who is not observing the Sabbath – it's only fair.

    January 12, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Blossum

    Come on everybody, let's love one another right now!

    January 12, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. PTL

    Obama's selections for his inauguration remind me of the French Revolution, where Religion is gutted and "liberty" gods are introduced. I find this very sad. Even worse is society's embrace of banning religion.

    January 12, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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