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. reg

    i wonder if obama has decided if he will come out of the closet this term or he will CHOOSE TO ABORT the idea for now. lol

    January 12, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Quoting a scripture verse or two especially out of context is stupid. You think it's the trump card, but it's not. It's a thoughtless act. Instead, use the brains God gave you.

    January 12, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. Daniel

    Unfortunately, 99% of Christians and pastors misinterprete and misquote scriptures out of context. They twist it to mean what they want it to say. I was trained in fundamentalist theology and I see the misuse of scripture daily. Most Christians don't know how to read the Bible, even if they can read. If we must believe that homosexuality is a sin, then we must believe in slavery. You can't choose one over the other. If you take a scripture out of context and make it a rule, you must then live by the other scriptures as a rule, no matter how harsh. Christians and pastors trained as evangelicals and fundamentalists have to practice active denial if they want to use scriptures out of context. Basically, it's a serious problem that the evangelical church and its theologians don't want you to know about. The secret is that twisting scripture is a MUST and a regular practice in evangelical churches today. The CHURCH has suffered with this problem for decades, ever since the faith healers came on TV.

    January 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Bill Charlotte, NC

    CNN: "Openly gay bishop"

    Is this your only description of the Bishop? Why do we not see... "Straight Rick Warren" or "Heterosexual so&so."
    Do we really need these labels anymore?

    January 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. Zane

    Obama is God sent!

    January 12, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. UC Berkeley

    Ooh, look, a bishop who isn't afraid to be who he is...let the cries of "disgusting," "abomination," and "sodomite" begin from the religious lunatics.

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

    Obama is a man of his word. AMEN!

    January 12, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Paula Valentine

    Randall from Fl Gene Robinson took his ordination vows while still in a heterosexual marriage. He then broke his wedding vows by having an affair (which happened to be with another male). The bible clearly says that a marriage is between one man and one woman. Any sexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin. Since a homosexual marriage cannot be acknowledged as a Christian marriage then a bishop in a Christian church is in an openly sinful relationship and as such – biblically – is not allowed to be a leader. No matter what someone outside the church thinks of this – Gene Robinson is a bishop in the church and, as a leader, is expected to uphold Christian standards. If he chooses to disregard the Holy Scriptures he has vowed to uphold, then he should step down.

    January 12, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. Penn Voter

    Invite Rev Wright if he want to. What ever words they may say have no meaning if the listner chooses not to take them to heart.

    Personally, I don't care if they chose a Fundamentalist from some conclave in the wilds of Utah.

    We have not national religion and we need not national preachers.

    January 12, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. Has anyone seen Paulson?

    As Dick Cheney would say,SO!Im more interested in taxing the churchs and using the trillions they make to help our deficit.

    January 12, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. Robert Bateman

    God loves us all. We all should leave things to Him to do the final judging.
    We are all to love each other as we love ourselfs. I myself do not believe homsexuality is right, but it is not right for me to show hatred towards others.
    Besides Obama had to do somthing to leval out descrepancies.
    Now gay's arent so upset at him.

    January 12, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Andy

    I don't understand what book Mr. Robinson preaches from. I believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Absolute Truth. My truth and your truth are relative but Truth itself cannot be. It seems that's it's easier for him to fit his life, or lifestyle, into the bible rather than fitting the bible into his life. God is very clear. He doesn't hate homosexuals, just the homosexual act. He is leading so many astray and they seem blinded to that fact. The majority of Christians who speak out against homosexuals are doing it out of love, not hate. He needs to ask himself who's truth he really believes because it's not God's Truth.

    January 12, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. Ken

    In Deuteronomy, we all learned that mixing fabrics is an abomination, I demand that no people wearing wool-blend socks be permitted at the inauguration!

    January 12, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. Robert Bateman

    boo hoo

    January 12, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. CS

    People twist what Jesus said about sin. John 8:34: Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 8:46: Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 8:43: Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 8:44: Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 8:47: He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
    Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    The Bible judges us. God told us how to live and we have one of two choices either do what He says or do what you want. God blesses us when we do what he says and punishes us when we don't obey and do what we want. That rule applies to those people who want same sex marriages, as well as murderers etc too. Obama is not trying to please God, he's trying to keep his word he made to man. If Obama was trying to please God he wouldn't have ran for election in the first place. Obama thinks he can make changes for the better for all people. Only God can do that. But man will keep trying to until God steps in and rules the entire world through His Government and abolishes man's government for good.
    Jesus and Paul lost disciples to the world. John 6:66: From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 6:67: Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 2 Timothy 4:10: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

    January 12, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  16. JT from Missouri

    By this pick, Obama is choosing to be religiously tolerant by accepting anybody no matter who they are. Everyone is made by the same God in my opinion: gays, straight people, Native American people, men, women, children, and so on. God, in my opinion, views everyone the same no matter who they are or if they make mistakes in their lives. Only God can judge us on the inside, not us. Everyone needs to realize that. Obama is just following his word that he will be everyones' president.

    January 12, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Robert Bateman

    Obama had to do somthing to make others happy. Now Gay's wont be so upset with him.

    January 12, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Stan Wilson

    Perhaps you are right that Rick Warren does not pray to the same god that you do. But, perhaps, it is not Rick Warren who is praying to a false god.

    January 12, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Jim Doolittle

    The world is DEFinitely coming to an END...There's nothing new under the sun. Everything that happened in Noah's day, is happening again...

    January 12, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  20. Daron


    January 12, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Merle

    AMERICA was supposed to be the land of opportunity and tolerance...seems Europe is leading in those categories...we still have those who refuse to accept change...STATUS QUO......OLD...get over it and embrace change or lets see...move to the Middle East?

    Sick to think about those who speak hate thru God....SICK

    GOD BLESS AMERICA...and even those folks who speak from their pulpit!!

    January 12, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. Kevin

    For those who missed this poorly parsed phrase – "[Robinson] has accepted an invitation issued by the Obama team prior to the announcement of the Rev. Rick Warren’s selection" – MEANING – Obama invited both at the same time, Warren just accepted first, and the media went crazy about it.

    For a country without a state religion, there sure seem to be a whole lot of religious invocations involved in the inauguration...

    January 12, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Nate P, MN

    There is no God, there is no Heaven or Hell. As a gay person, I can say I did research and there are homosexual behaviors in over 300 species of animals. Maybe it's nature's way of limiting population growth, who knows? I know when I went to church I was baptized, prayed numerous times every day, and did whatever I could to try to be "straight". it didn't work. The Bible says if you have faith like a grain of mustard, you can move a mountain, but I couldn't change my sexuality. heterosexual christians believe gay people choose to be gay, i'm saying once and for all, it doesn't work that way.

    January 12, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  24. Roland

    The bible says literally that God hates divorce but I don't see fundamentalist Christians going off on a tirade about the fact that we have a 50% divorce rate in the US.

    The bible also speaks deliberately agains sex outside of marriage, but I don't see Christians marching up and down the street with signs that says GOD HATES FORNICATORS.

    January 12, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Lyndon from CA

    This is a make up call to placate the gay community which were annoyed when Rick Warren was chosen to deliver the invocation. Obama always tries to give all sides a place at the dinner table.

    January 12, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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