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. Home of the Free

    God created man, woman, gay and straight. But, who created Idiots?

    January 12, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. Stan Pitak

    What's missing in the analysis of this reporter is that Gene Robinson has blasted Obama's choice of Warren but Warren has not done the same to Robinson.

    That seems to me to be an obviously important point of consideration.

    It makes me think that those who are blasting Warren about being a bigot may not really understand the man or his viewpoints. And those lauding Robinson for being enlightened may not be understanding the man or his viewpoints.

    January 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. final judgment

    are we ready for the Obama nation to begin?

    Good thing Jesus is coming soon!!

    I am so glad to be living in the end times! exciting days are ahead!

    famine, pestilence, disease, all manner of wickedness, etc.

    are you ready to meet your maker?

    January 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. sandee in Portland

    For all those bloggers who say God wrote the bible, you need to educate yourselves. God didn't write the bible. A human being just like you and me tried to interpret what he thought God said to him. The bible can be interpreted many ways by many different people. That doesn't mean if one person interprets one way and another person interprets it another way, that either one of them is wrong. I personally thing Jesus was the greatest salesman ever! He convinced people he was the son of Jesus, but most of us will never be able to convince even our own family to think like we do.

    January 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. philip

    reply to:

    Gene January 12th, 2009 8:49 pm ET

    FIrst, I will asume you are both ignorant and uneducated. Homosexuality IS NOT the same has Pedophilia, in fact I might suggest you are more likey to be a Pedophile than Bishop Robinson.

    Second, As a supporter of the President-Elect, I was at first disapointed in his choice of Rev. Warren, but then I realized it is Barack Obama's day and thus his choice. We need to have faith that he will be fair, just with everyone and live up to his commitment to All Americans including the GLBT Community.

    January 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  6. Traci

    This man is not a man of GOD. The Bible is clear., homoxexual behavior is a SIN. Hopefully this man will have his heart changed and will turn from his sin and turn to GOD.

    January 12, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  7. Gene

    Robinson has been at the front of an enormous rift in the global Anglican communion. The Episcopal Church in New Hampshire thumbed its nose at a Church which was not in agreement with with the appointment. His participation is hardly in harmony with the way the Obama administration wants to do business, whatever we might believe about whether or not there should be gay bishops.

    January 12, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. TCM

    @Home of the Free

    Being against homosexuality isn't racist....go to school.

    January 12, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Jeremy

    Martin Luther King Jr. would not approve of what Obama did by letting a gay minister do this. He wouldn't even approve of a gay minister.

    January 12, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  10. Me

    Obama, you can't please everyone. You've disgusted me and hopefully every other self-respecting individual who isn't gay. gay/bishop? what an oxymoron. pathetic decision. too late to take back my vote.

    January 12, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  11. Jonah

    People who try to dictate how others should live are far better off fretting about the idiosyncrasies of their own lives; which probably demand far more attention than what they spend on trying to oust the gay population from its stringent and unfortunate path.

    Calm down and leave well enough alone. I don't even believe in Jesus, but I know he did say some great things about loving your neighbor, about not judging others, and about not casting stones unless you yourself are without sin. Many homophobes often throw these things on the back burner and quote scripture from the Old Testament instead.

    Focus on your own lives, leave people be for heaven's sake. No amount of praying or yelling or hating will change the facts; gays aren't going anywhere, its time to move on and learn to live with it.

    January 12, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  12. J.C.

    There are two ways to cover diversity. One could choose to be a centrist, or pick the two extremes of the whole spectrum.

    January 12, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  13. TCM

    @George January 12th, 2009 9:25 pm ET


    You're insulting me, and you support Obama...??? That's like slapping your own face, and beating your kids at the same time...you idiot! Your vote put him there, so it's your and that idiot "home of the free's" loss...you'll see...

    January 12, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  14. DHG32msa

    I hope the lush is dried out enough to do a decent job. For the benefit of the Church he should have gone over the side a long long time ago!

    January 12, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  15. Artola

    I personally would prefer that an openly gay bishop not be a part of the inauguration, however, It's not like Obama is giving him a cabinet position or asking him to advise him on policy. It's one prayer. One that I doubt my God will hear, but none the less, it's still just one prayer. Let's keep this in perspective. Robinson isn't going to turn anyone gay and Warren isn't going to turn anyone straight. They're going to pray and that's it. On Jan 21st the economy will still be priority #1.

    January 12, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. Conejo

    I am not homosexual and do not believe people who practice homosexuality understand the bible correctly. In fact I lean toward the conservative side on most issues. However, one of the main ways someone draws closer to God is to get on their knees and ask for counsel from Him. Through prayer, many people have become refined in their walk with God, understood better their faults, and asked for repentance. To be upset that Mr. Robinson is participating in this way, in a public forum, is hypocritical. I can only hope that Mr. Robinson's prayer serves to cause himself and others the reflection necessary in order to better understand God.

    January 12, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  17. Ashton

    Personally, since heterosexuals can get married without religion involved in the United States, I do not see the point of arguing why homosexual marriage is wrong – and using any form of religion as the reason. There is more than one belief in America and even those who do not believe in any particular religion, so again, why should we use religion as the main factor as to why it is wrong.

    Denying two people to be married without religion involved because they are of the same sex but allowing it for a heterosexual couple is not only hypocritical but discriminatory. My solution, let two people that are of legal age in their state and who are not legally married elsewhere regardless of sex be given the opportunity to be married (do not call it civil union) without religion. For those couples who wish to perform a religious ceremony, give them the right to seek a minister, preacher, etc to perform the ceremony. If the church does not approve of the marriage, the church should reserve the right to refuse to marry the couple – regardless of sex.

    Regardless of the fact that Rev. Gene Robinson is openly gay, I am happy to see that Obama is entering into this Presidency with an open mind..

    January 12, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. Amaterasu

    To Mark in Chicago- It seems that Obama selected Gene Robinson BEFORE he chose Rick Warren. I don't think he is trying to placate anybody. It seems that he is attempting to be inclusive rather than divisive.

    January 12, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  19. Romin

    Wow abomination this and abomination that. Cant you morons think for yourselves? USE YOUR BRAIN> NOT THE BIBBLE!

    Half the people here quoting the bibble and saying that "homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of god"...dont even know what the hell they are talking about.

    FIrst of all if homosexuality was wrong or an abomination or even a choice, then why has there been plenty of evidence of homosexuality coccuring in a number of other species. Did the animals choose to live this lifestyle? Ofcourse some of you will refuse to believe that there are gay animals even if the evidence slaped you in the face.
    The corruped (by men) teachings of Christ have closed your minds and hardened your hearts...If Jesus was alive today im sure he would weep for all the lost souls that THINK they are following his teachings when infact they are following the devils; to hate and to spread fear and intolerance. HOW SAD.

    January 12, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  20. TCM

    Obama's beliefs are only those things that need to be said, shown, or promised in order to keep him in power. All of you "modern," so-called Christians who "tolerate," this, really should reexamine your core beliefs. You don't have to hate the gay bishop, you just don't support it. Too many things have been "polluted," in this country for too long, and now it's oozing into the white house.

    January 12, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  21. Brad

    Looks like Obama is trying to please the critics who were upset about him having Rick Warren do the swearing-in. Good move.

    I'm not Christian or very conservative, but it seems there is a very nasty anti-Christian/Conservative attitude that has crept into our society. There needs to be acceptance on ALL levels.

    And this Robinson guy has some nerve to disagree with the choice of Rick Warren, simply because he's gay and Warren does not support gay marriage. Hey, guess what: people have different views on this subject matter. All sides should be represented, not just the loudest.

    January 12, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  22. Jeff From Jersey

    Gay Priest.Gay Reverand.Gay bishop.Only another Bible thumper knows for sure.Is that why they call them Bible Thumpers?

    January 12, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  23. Me

    "and I think the transition team failed to ask the question of what, symbolically, this might say to some of our citizens." Or perhaps they are saying exactly what they meant and their motives are straight forward(no pun intended).

    January 12, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  24. shay

    I'm confused.

    Is President Elect Obama a christian and is he born again? .

    I have learned that if you are a christian are born again and hang around sinners you will surely get into trouble.

    Of course God is a forgiving God but he also HATES SIN

    January 12, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. victim of sexual abuse as a child

    Sadly I have a biased opinion but even if I was not a victim, I, and many others, and priests and religious leaders around the world consider this a shock and a shame as ALL religions state clearly that homosexuality is a sin. And we are to sin no more. i can't imagine facing God in the end, knowing his teachings and not asking for forgiveness, admitting my ugly weakness, but stopping it. Although God is a forgiving and loving God, he also created the world and in that world male and female are the only beings to have sexual intercourse. We are not animals who at time must show dominance of another weaker male; however the act is not consumated. All of us have sexual feelings; it is WHAT WE DO WITH THEM that matters.

    January 12, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
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