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. Garrett

    It's amazing how lightly we throw around the word "bigot" these days. It is usually aimed at Christians because they believe something and are willing to stand up for it. Bigotry is intolerance for those who have different beliefs. Bigotry is not a difference of opinion. Avoiding bigotry does not require one to jettison all beliefs and accept all behavior. Bigotry is when you are intolerant of others for not agreeing with you. I see a lot of this on both sides. Yes, both sides!

    It is interesting when members of the gay community – in an intolerant way – accuse others ("Christians") of being bigots because they don't agree with gays. That is textbook bigotry and is displayed in the same breath as they are accusing others of being bigots. The irony is inescapable.

    Not saying gays are the only bigots; just the only hypocritical bigots!

    January 12, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. tracy

    boered1 January 12th, 2009 2:14 pm ET

    ga. January 12th, 2009 1:27 pm ET

    in Leviticus chapter 20, verse 13, GOD CALLS THIS LIFE STYLE AN ABOMINATION, God will be your judge just like he will all of us. God Bless America

    so how was your Easter ham? in the same chapter eating pig is also called an abomination. I know like most members of the radical right you ignore the parts of the bible you do not agree with and that is OK.

    And all food was stated to be clean in the New Testament by Jesus as the Law was stated not to be the way to Heaven but Christ himself is. Typical liberal "intellect" you have no idea what you are actually talking about, but bandy about half of the story as fact. Save your venom for something you might know all of the facts about, if there is anything.

    January 12, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. Brett

    I'm ready to be judged, to stand before the God of the universe to give account of my life. Today, tomorrow and the next.

    One cannot claim to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, if he insists on persisting in sin. Didn't Christ died on a cross to forgive sin? Yes, and He rose from the grave that we might have new life. And this life begins when we receive Christ. Should I go on sinning because I can be forgiven? By no means! It's simply illogical. If one does, like Gene Robinson, he doesn't follow Christ, but himself. He serves the flesh, not the Lord.

    And for those who hope to advise, admonish, condemn, malign, or slander Christians who so obviously to you seem ill-informed of their own book or faith, piss off.

    January 12, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. Paul


    Why do all these people think Prop 8 is about equal rights? It's not. It's about homosexuals thinking they should be able to "marry" those of the same sex, something that is completely unnatural. I mean, if you think about it, it's quite simple. A man's organ and a female's organ together causes reproduction, correct? Does that seem natural? Wouldn't whoever created us have designed it this way? A man's organ and a man's organ do not cause reproduction, therefore it must not be natural. What's, next, are we to allow people to legally engage in activities with their pets? Is beastiality about equals rights as well? And I will never understand how an institution that calls itself a church would allow an openly gay bishop. I guess they're saying that it's okay to pick and choose which of God's commands we will follow.

    January 12, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Jehovahmyhealer

    With our due respect, not everyone are God Children. Yes God is the creator of everyone. But only those who follow God commandments are call God Children. One more point, real Christians are not hateful, because we are save from Grace. Meaning that we were as sinful as anyone else, however the Grace of God redeemed us. That is what separate us for the rest of the world. Not only homosexual is a sin, lying, adultery, fornication, incest, coveteousnes, and many others that I do not have time to put down are also sin.
    With the Love God

    January 12, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  6. LM75

    Finally a president with no prejudices. What a breath of fresh air.

    January 12, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. jennifer

    President Elect Obama will be president of all Americans regardless of faith. To include even those he may not agree with is refreshing.

    January 12, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. ME IN FL

    To Vincent Petrosino,

    It is nice to see that there are still people among us with high intellectual capacity as yourself. Your comments are true and lovely.

    The problem is that the Bible is subject to interpretation and not everyone here has the capacity to read it and draw their own conclusions without having a minister or priest telling them what and how to think.


    ** January 12th, 2009 3:06 pm ET

    "In my life, nothing against gays as its their choice and life, but my religion says God abolishes homosexuality. "
    Your religion says God abolishes homosexuality" really???? First of all you are not talking for yourself, you are saying "your religion" meaning you belief what your religion ( minister or priest) says. God abolishes homosexuality?? Then, if he does why he created gays?? Are they not part of God's creation??? Last time I read the Bible we are all creatures of God's creation!!!

    I am straight and I really hate to see how so called "CHRISTIANS" descriminate against gay people hiding behind their religion.

    My God is a God of love and does not discriminate against his children, and my religion can tell me whatever it wants, but I have been given by that same God ,the right and the sense to make my own decisions and draw my own conclusions. It do not need a minister nor a priest to tell me how to think!!

    January 12, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. john

    This is truly wonderful.......He is really trying to be inclusive; though the "excluders" are peeved. As has been mentioned before: 1. Jesus never spoke anti-gay. 2. Leviticus calls homosexuality an abomination, and 3. Later Leviticus calls shellfish another abomination.

    Sounds McCainish, no? "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb abomination"

    What's Sarah think? What's to happen to the Alaskan lobster trade if she follows the Good Book on shellfish????

    January 12, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. Matthew

    He is a demon in a man's body. Everyone with eyes open can see this. Don't pay attention to the godless, the ground moves beneath them when they walk. This is just another sign that we are closer to the end. I have no pity left in me for those who stand for foolish immorality against their own conscience. Don't hate them, pray for them. Good luck all.

    January 12, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Mark In Chicago

    Openly gay and MORTIFIED by this obvious attempt at placating the LGBT community. BO, when you dismissed the legitimate hurt and anger the LGBT community is feeling over your selection of Rick Warren, you essentially threw us under the bus.

    You proclaimed a "fierce" support of gay rights - without a SINGLE act on which to base such a claim.

    Now, you just look like spineless. Now, you reveal that you STILL don't understand the points we've been trying to make. Now, you've insulted us a second time, by thinking this obvious placation will do the trick.

    I'm not buying. I want my vote and my hope back.

    January 12, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Brad

    Obama is clueless. Inviting a token gay priest doesn't eliminate the fact that his inauguration is giving legitimacy to bigotry. As TIME Magazine said, Obama has proven himself to be a very tolerant, very rational sounding bigot.

    January 12, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Robert Wooller Bradford England UK

    This is brilliant news and a brilliant win for gay rights. Even before Obama has taken office you can tell the sharp contrast between him and Bush. I have noticed I am reacting so happilly to the news coming out of Washington, and this is great. I just can't wait for Obama to take office next week.

    January 12, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. TEB

    I can't believe Obama is allowing an openly gay "preacher" to pray at his innauguration....
    God forbids homosexuality in the Bible..
    Maybe the minister will accept Christ and Rick Warren can pray the sinner's prayer with him.
    I pray for revival in this nation! Maybe God designed this selection of people for Him to do a mighty work of revival. True, the gay minister is a joke, but God can turn a joke into a servant of His..Look at how mean and bad the apostle Paul was before his conversion!!

    January 12, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. TomD

    Separation of Church and State means just that – keep them separate. If you want moral guidance, go to your church. If you want the Constitution enforced look to the Gov't. PLEASE never confuse the two.

    Do we want an American Taliban running around stoning people for eating pork? or working on Sunday? What punishment do we give those that participate in pre-marital sex? Hrm....maybe we should all just ignore the ones we don't agree on or committed ourselves? Or let's ask Congress to enforce them all on every religion.

    January 12, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. Ken in Dallas

    What's wrong with including divergent interests in the inaugural?

    You don't have to like Bishop Robinson to respect Obama's right to give him a place in the inaugural. Same thing goes for Pastor Warren. It's not our place to judge either of them. I do not expect either of these men to do anything unsuitable during the events.

    I know this is a place for posting opinions, but too much of what's posted here is sheer venom. Anyone who considers this Christian behavior dropped out of Sunday school.

    January 12, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. G


    The tickets are and always have been free if some scaplers decide to sell them that's another thing. And just because a few people can afford to buy the tickets it does not mean the economy is not bad. Your logic is beyond measure.

    January 12, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Patricia Tharp

    What Obama is doing gives us all hope for inclusion. I hope Bishop Robinson tries to respond to his fellow man like our new president is doing. It doesn't come across well to hear a man of God belittle another man of God.

    January 12, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Charles

    Regarding Robinson's statement, “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,” it is important to remember, Warren cares about gay persons just as much as Robinson does. He simply has a different belief system. His prayers to God would reflect caring and inclusion.

    January 12, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Richard

    For those selectively quoting the Bible, here's some more selective quotes but admittedly and without the hypocrisy.

    – Romans 14:12-13 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
    – Matthew 7:12 “Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.”

    January 12, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. P. Y.

    @ Vincent Petrosina

    Nice note ! I agree with you 100%.
    I do not understand people who think that they can speak for God. God will be the judge and I say let him do just that. We are not put here on this earth to judge others. In fact, we had better all start try living with each other. No matter what are beliefs and life style we all need each other.

    PE Obama is trying to please everyone and he has a right to do that. Stop being so critical and start trying to be positive and help this man. He really needs all of us to help with the problems he has inherited.

    January 12, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Kenneth Leary

    Well at least I am glad that Mr. Robinson is not a real Bishop and never was a real priest. Such a thing would REALLY be a travesty now wouldn't it.

    When the Church in England split from the Catholic Church they changed the Rite of Ordination invalidating the Rite and the ordinations of all. All those who claim to be a bishop or priest in the "Episcopal church", are invalid anyway.

    However I am saddened that those who even call themselves "Christian" support gay marriage and "clergy" who openly have sexual relations with those not their wives (those who are permitted to be ordained who are already married – NEVER in Christian history has the clergy EVER been allowed to marry!)


    January 12, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. keeth in california

    BFD, Obama. Where are we represented on Inauguration Day? You asked for our support, now we ask for yours. Remember, separate but equal doesn't fly anymore.

    Those who invoke the Bible really ought to read it closer. Make sure you apply ALL of those Leviticus laws to EVERYONE, not just those you think pertain to homosexuals.

    January 12, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  24. CS

    I find it shocking that they even use a Bible at these inaugurations. They are not religious events anyway. Romans 1:23: And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.1:24: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:1:25: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.1:26: For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 1:27: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 1:28: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. Only man and woman can multiply. Obama just trying to be leader of USA not God's people but all people.

    January 12, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Caz

    People get over it. There are other views out there beside your own. Gay people are here, they are tax paying Americans and that, as they say, is that. Fascinate yourselves with something else.

    January 12, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
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