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. P. Speaker

    What an insult to most Christians. This unrepentant, apostate so-called minister is without honor and without shame. He is entitled to his lifestyle, but not as a minister in good standing.

    January 12, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Ann

    I'm not sure if anyone will even read this, but here is my opinion however much it matters to you.

    I am straight. I believe in God and Jesus. If our man here is a pastor and is gay, then I think he knows the consequences of being so better than many of you commenters.

    To attack someone for being gay/lesbian etc. is just like attacking any other kind of sinner. So why gays? Why not those who lie? Oh because that would be YOU. Dont be a hypocrite.


    You accept the people around you even though you know they sin. You accept yourself the same way.


    thank you to whoever listened to me. It means a lot.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Irritated in Fl

    Finely. Some progress in the 21st Century.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Terry

    The Bible, many posters have written, condemns homosexuality. However, there is not a verse that condemns lesbianism. I presume female-female relationships are ok. Many more verses condemn the eating of pork than condemn men loving men, so it is my opinion that God is punishing America for its pork-gobbling sinfulness.

    Go ye, and do likewise.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Bill Hewett

    Religon is man made. Religon is not found in God's Word. Jesus Christ, the Savior of His people is found in God's Word. This man knows nothing of Jesus and salvation and is as Jesus said walking the broad road to destruction. America is filled with immorality and this is a grand example of how sinful our nation is. Rick Warren is not much better. He is only interested in self and money. He is a disgrace to Christianity. The end can't be far off.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  6. Casey

    I think there's a PhD thesis to be written just from the comments on this story–tons and tons of data of how religion and politics interact in America, for better or for worse.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Paula Valentine

    Randall in Fl – Gene Robinson was ordained while in a heterosexual marriage. He then broke his marriage vows by having an affair (which also happened to be with another man). The bible is very clear on what a marriage is – it is between one man and one woman at the exclusion of all others. Also, any sexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin (homosexual or heterosexual). If you are not a Christian then this does not have to apply to you. Gene Robinson, however, not only claims to be a Christian but is a bishop. He took certain vows which included standing for the truth of scripture. As he is now living in a relationship that is contrary to the very scripture he swore to uphold, he should do the right thing and step down from his position of leadership.

    January 12, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. Dave

    After reading through these comments, I'm stunned. What is one of the basic tenets of the Christian (or most any other) faith? Isn't it "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I don't remember seeing any caveats attached to that. Did some get added somewhere, and I missed it? What about "hate the sin, but love the sinner"?

    As long as there are those out there who blindly follow whatever is spoon-fed to them, without bothering to think for themselves, this country is screwed. I happily endorse Bishop Robinson's acceptance of the invitiation. It's a small beacon of light, telling me that yes, there is indeed hope.

    And yes, I am gay, and no, I am not (any longer) a Christian. Nevertheless, I try to do the right thing, treat others as I would like to be treated, politely, with at least a modicum of decency and respect that any person deserves, not because it's easy (it often isn't), but because it simply is the right thing to do.

    So, for a short time at least, let's put aside religious differences, pull together simply as human beings, and work toward a better future, if not for ourselves, then for the following generations. Or is that just way too much to ask? If it is, then the human race should simply be eradicated to make way for a species that might get it right, because if we can't learn to get along, then we have failed mightily.

    January 12, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Fernando Yessenia

    I find it odd that people who support the intrusion of religion into the public arena (using religion to define what the state should consider a valid contract between two individuals) are so intellectually bankrupt as to believe that this intrusion is acceptable so long as it is only their version of religion that is mingling its way into our secular laws.

    However, the moment a public platform is given to someone not of the similar faith "persuasion," these are often the same people in an uproar about the audacity of such people having such prominence during such an important public spectacle of US democracy.

    Intrusion of religion into the public arena means that ALL flavors of religion are present. Their mothers and fathers should have done a better job of reminding them of the following saying:

    Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    January 12, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  10. Vivian Avisov

    This is a travesty to all things that are held sacred. If this has insight to Mr. Obama's Presidency, may it go by quick and he not get re-elected. Nihilism is alive and well in the Obama white house.

    January 12, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. CeeCee

    No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that.
    Leviticus 18:22 (Good News Bible)

    God has not changed!

    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
    Hebrews 13:8 (Good News Bible)

    January 12, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. Nina

    I believe it was wrong of PE Obama to pick this man. Not because of my personal overall belief but because the Episcopal church is already divided over this issue and this will not help. The priest that went to the Diocese was to vote the way their church voted but didn't. If you are Episcoplal from birth you were raised as I was that my bible the King James version says this is wrong. As wrong as all sin is, but also an abomination. I don't interfere with what others do in their home, I pray for god to speak to all sinners as he speaks to me when I sin. But the episcopal church and the group at the diocese did there own thing and then expected everyone to listen to them say it was not a big deal. The church es are seperating and it is a big deal for those of us involved.

    It was not right to involve this man on this day. He (Mr. Robinson) will in my opinion answer to god for being a stumbling block for many of faith.

    January 12, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    When it comes to God's word, it is first of all inerrant and infallible. Despite the fact that a lot of the religious denomination cling onto to certain truths instead of the whole bible as truth. Such is the typical case with

    January 12, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. Al

    Does did guy read the Bible? Here are a few for starters which condems homosexuality. Romans 1:20-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Revelation 21:6-8, Leviticus 18:22-24. That is just a few of what the Bible has to say about it. Amazing to me we live in a nation that says we are one nation under God, and we ask God bless America and we try to make a lifestyle acceptable that God has already condemmed in His Word. Psalm 138:2. Who are we kidding. Politicians and lawmakers ought to read Genesis 19 before making decisions on these matters and see how God feels about this lewd bahavior.

    January 12, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. JEnny

    I can see how this is extremely offensive to Christians and I'm very sad for the load of crap that Christians are constantly force-fed. We as a nation have the utmost respect for others cultures and religions, yet we can't have that same respect for our own people. The last poll stated that eighty percent of the USA considered themselves Christian. Do not Christians have the right to live in peace, practicing their own beliefs? For those of you who misquote the Constitution, the phrase is Freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. The Forefathers never intended an athiest country or government, but one that allowed the various sects of Christianity to practice freely. As for Robinson, how can one take spiritual and religious guidance from someone who broke his own marriage vows? As a married woman, I take my vows seriously. There will always be moments of weakness, but it is the faith and commitment of marriage that is the most beautiful bond that a man and woman can share. And it is sanctioned by God.

    January 12, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  16. Char Carr

    Our society is sick!

    January 12, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. jc in va

    I am a openly gay son of a Catholic household and our God and our Lord, Jesus did not teach us to be hateful. Is there an argument that my "lifestyle" (as if I chose this) is wrong according to the Bible? Sure. However, that does not give anyone the right to malign me in God's name. Judgment will fall upon us all and those of you who are promoting hatred in this country will also be judged despite what goes into the collection baskets.

    President-elect Obama is doing what he can. This is still a nation divided on this issue and all of us, gay and straight, need to recognize that like all other civil rights movements, this one is far from over. All I ask on either side is for tolerance of another person's viewpoint. Stop the hate and let our nation grow in peace during this administration.

    God bless you all and our beloved country.

    January 12, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  18. Andy

    Jesus loved the marginalized... he said so and forgave them... like the prostitute facing stoning in Jerusalem... What he didn't say was keep doing what you are doing... Go and sin no more... is what he told them...

    I am an Obama Supportor in his politics and support same sex rights in the government... but lets hold no illusions on the proper view of Christianity and the response to sin.

    This is a very unfortunate choice.

    January 12, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  19. What a shame

    I'm a athiest can care less about all of your religious beliefs. I must say everyone claimming gays are the victoms are sheep following what the meadia tells you. I think our children are the real victoms. What is the out come of changing the morral stance we have all known. Will are children have a better future if gays are alowed to marry or will it encourage them to try things they normaly would'nt. I have no worry if you are living your life and not bothing me. Stop trying to play the sympathy role and stand up for our children.

    January 12, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. KJ

    All of you bible quoting fools really, actually believe that God wrote the Bible? Which version did he write? did he edit it too?

    Heterosexual white males wrote the bible, not God.

    January 12, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. marc

    Same sex marriage will be the law of the land and all those who fought to keep it from being will be the ones judged poorly in history.

    January 12, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Mark in North Idaho

    I hope that Obama's choosing to have an openly gay clergyman give the invocation will not offend God and curse our nation. Those who give rhetoric about God accepting all people as his children is a valid point, albeit there is a big difference between God's approval or acceptance of homosexuals (which is an abomonation by His own declaration) and his love for all his children. This is akin to my accepting and loving my children when they rebel and sin, although I don't condone or approve of their actions. God has made this clear, and the philosophies of man are what are taking hold... I prey that those supporters and believers in homosexuality and homosexual relationships can honestly hold their ground when standing before the judgement seat of God. You have been warned... may God have mercy on your souls, but in the end, you all will be held accountable for your actions, your words, your beliefs and your encouragement and support of an obvious sin in the eyes of God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I have said my peace.

    January 12, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. Linguist

    My partner and I were married in a very mainstream religious institution, by a real live very mainstream rabbi. We have a religiously-binding marriage contract (a ketubah) framed and hanging in our bedroom. God is a part of our lives, and we know He loves us, and accepts us as He made us. Period.

    We are married. Doesn't matter to us what other people's denominations think or do. What they think of us is actually none of our business! Likewise, it's NOT government's business that we were married by a rabbi and, as far as we are concerned, are married in God's eyes. Period.

    In fact, what religious marriage has to do with our government is really beyond me. Civil marriage is NOT the same thing as a religious ceremony. Atheists get married all the time. In our system of governance, we ALL deserve equal protection under the law. While my heterosexual brother and his wife have a wide range of protections that followed from their signing a civil marriage contract (and NO religious one at all!), we cannot. That is unfair, unjust, and totally unnecessary.

    No one is harmed when all are treated fairly. People ARE harmed when they are kept out of a major civil institution such as marriage.

    Time to stop putting up roadblocks to hurt innocent gay couples.
    It's mean. It's not civil. And, I believe, it violates a very basic principle of justice.

    January 12, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. Annoyed

    This is hilarious... Where are the atheists?!? I'm surprised none of them have come out and thrown a fit about a prayer being said. I wonder how many of them will be offended??? Hmm..

    Gay bishop... totally contradictory. And Mr. Robinson's statement is a joke. His god is definitely not the same GOD that I pray to. So many people throw the words 'christian' and 'God' around. It's unbelievable how so many of you people talk about being a christian and yet you are all for gay rights and blah blah blah... oh it's so aggravating! You people give me a headache!

    I think it's funny how people are saying us "christians" are so hateful and intolerant yet you people are bashing us for our beliefs and you expect us to sit on the sideline and be fine with it. We are all created by God but only few of us are children of God. And most of you making your comments are not.

    One of these days, you will be judged and you WON'T be with the same God I will be with – that's for sure!

    January 12, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  25. Mark Ramsey MD, Milwaukee WI

    Tolerance and brotherly love are virtues, whether you are a christian or not. The hate and intolerance in this discussion scare and sadden me.

    January 12, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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