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. Jo An Gaines

    Government of all sorts....state, national, local needs to get out of the 'marriage' business. If someone wants a religious ceremony, they go to their priest etc. The state couples up anyone who wants to be coupled....in a civil ceremony...Probably like China...this is all so childish. I could care less who marries who.

    January 12, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Giovanna

    The "Reverend" Robinson should remove his clerical collar and stop preaching. He's no role model for my kids. What do they teach at episcopal seminaries these days?

    January 12, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Steve

    I have a lot more respect for Obama now that he has chosen someone like Bishop Robinson to participate in this important event. People need to know that all Christians are not fundamentalists. And, as for the people who keep quoting Leviticus...if you are going to be a biblical literalist, you cannot pick and choose...remember that Leviticus also says women are subjects to their husbands, slavery is justified, anyone who works on the sabbath should be put to death, and anyone who touches the skin of a pig (...a football!!!) should be put to death.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Real Change

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

    ga, let's be consistent here. Here is Exodus 31:15

    "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."

    Okay ga, if you're really suppose to hate gays, then you also have to murder your neighbor. OR...you could realize that the Bible is nothing more than the thoughts and teachings of men from an exclusively patriarchal society from thousands of years ago.

    Martin Luther King said the arch of Mankind is long, but it bends toward righteousness. Naturally there came a day when humankind realized that slavery was wrong, though it is approved of in the Bible. Plural marriage is wrong though it is approved of in the Bible. Because Mankind improves, we bend toward righteousness. To follow a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, negates that progress and leaves us stuck in an exclusively patriarchal society of thousands of years ago.

    The death and resurrection of Jesus established a new covenant. Leviticus is no longer our law, the Holy Spirit is. The New Testament trumps the Old. For New Testament teaching ag, look at John 8: 1-11

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Ray Houston

    President elect Obama is showing in this choice that he is openly welcoming everyone to the table. Even though this is against my personal beliefs, and God's word, it is his right to do so. As Pastor Rick Warren was a choice, so is the choice of (suppose to be) Bishop Gene Richardson. So President elect Obama is doing as the people who elected him wanted by having every voice heard. Know right from wrong and silience no-one.

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. chuck


    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Interstellar Aliens! Why has Obama not invited any ET's to perform and deliver a message of peace and harmony?

    Where are the Klingons when you you really need them?

    January 12, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Abyssinian Lion

    As opposed to all the hidden gay men in the clergy that you have no idea is trying to seduce your sons.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Gretel

    For the folks who believe that Obama is "trying to please everyone," you are missing the point. If he was trying to "please" everyone, he would have disinvited Warren the minute that gays started protesting. Instead he stood by his decision and provided a rationale for his choice. His choice to invite the gay bishop is not simply to "please gay people." It is keeping with Obama's long-standing belief (and campaign Rhetoric) that we should embrace diversity in all forms and make this an all-inclusive democracy.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. sean

    If your only argument against gay marriage is the Bible, perhaps you need to read a little deeper into that book. Marriage was originally a contract between two men in which they transferred property, including a daughter. Sounds romantic, right? Polygamy also used to be the norm. And how about the stories of incest in the days of Adam & Eve? If they were the first humans, who did their sons marry? Oh yeah, their daughters.

    It's not gay people that want to re-define marriage. Straight people did that long ago. Now that gay people want to share in the love and legal aspects of our modern institution of marriage, heterosexual bigots are backtracking. If you're that concerned about the sanctity of marriage and the strength of the American family, perhaps you should address the 50% divorce rate and all the unwed mothers out there.

    As for Obama's pick, I'm glad to see he's offering both sides of the issue. Is it pandering? Perhaps. But I'd rather have a President who openly acknowledges both sides of a complex issue rather than bully those who don't agree with him.

    January 12, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. HF from PA

    Ga Said:
    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.

    it also says slaves obey your master and women cover your heads and....the list is endless... Literal interpretation of this ancient text that was pieced together by MEN over thousands of years has been an excuse for hatred and bigotry for too long...wake up...you are no different than the Taliban..you just go to Sunday school instead of a Mosque.

    January 12, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Marie banderas

    in 2012, wont matter anyways, only GOD will matter and if you choose good over evil...catyscylmasic days ahead folks...

    January 12, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Mike- Kansas City MO

    As a Gay Man AND a Christrian, I think the selection of Bishop Robinson do have a part in the inauguration is a great idea.
    I don't see it as pandering to the gay community.

    January 12, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. New Yorker

    Come on CNN, I took time to write it; please post my other comment

    January 12, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. AnnMM

    You people are pathetic. How unsure of your own sexuality do you have to be to fear the preferences of another.

    Oh and leave God out of it. My God isn't a wimp. If something bothers him, he takes care of it himself, he doesn't need my pitiful help. What kind of a limp wristed, incompetent, pansy do you fools pray to?

    January 12, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. MWA

    The problem with Americans is that they cannot handle their own uniqueness or that this is supposedly a country that reflects all walks of life. Good that we can all express our opinions without morons like Joe the Plumber who wants to ban all media (except himself) from war coverage.

    January 12, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. tired of corporate politics

    He puts up this guy for 5 minutes. But how many open gays are on his staff so far? What legislation is he considering endorsing?

    Thanks a lot. Another DNC / RNC stooge.

    January 12, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Joe the Troll

    To those people who say that Obama is trying to win back the gays after his selection of Rick Warren, perhaps you missed this phrase from the story above:

    "has accepted an invitation issued by the Obama team prior to the announcement of the Rev. Rick Warren’s selection"

    PRIOR. See that? That means "before."

    Anyway, this is great. Maybe now the gays and the far righties can stop bugging the rest of us for a while about which side loves their mythological spirit daddy the most.

    January 12, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Jazz

    What Would Jesus Do.

    January 12, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Jazz

    People ask yourself What Would Jesus Do. Say no or yes.

    January 12, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. shucks

    How can god judge me if I don't believe. This is a great choice. Obama is becoming the president of all Americans. Let the evangelical christians and religious right implode on this choice.

    January 12, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Roy

    It's funny, a lot of people here are happy to live their own lives and not bother anyone else....but if someone else who lives a different way wants to live 'their' own life .....some want to stop them at all costs!
    Your attitude is most hypocritical, especially when you throw around MISquoted Bible verses. You should remember the main character of the New Testament loved and helped ALL people......are YOU (haters) better than Him?? Judge not lest YE be judged (Dylan from MN that's for you!)
    Speaking from a tolerany point of view....if two people live in peace they should be allowed to their own preference.....any rewards or punishment in the afterlife will definitely not be decided by US!

    Let's see if Warren and Robinson sit together at the inauguration!!

    January 12, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. boered1

    poor no (liar)hillary=no obama she still cannot get over the liar hillary lost nor can she seem to understand that in order to serve to all people you must first be willing to listen to them and include them in your discussion. Since this is a national discussion our President (elect) wants to have this means he is listening to those he agrees with and those he may disagree with. he is not limiting himself to only one side of a discussion. Now I understand the members of the radical religious right and the loonely left (including the followers of the liar hilalry) do not seem to get this fact and have always operated by the idea that if you do not agree with them then you are evil and wrong but you see the real world understands this that is why president (elect) Obama has a 81% approval rating (up from 76% last week!)

    January 12, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Douglas, Los Angeles California

    As Obama said; We are the "United" States of America. All should be inclusive. The man is making a concerned effort to listen to all of America and we just keep beating up on the guy even before he becomes President. Get United people and stop the hateful blogging. And we wonder why the world thinks we are so third-rate. I mean; read some of this stuff...

    January 12, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. yellow dog democrat

    TO: No Hillary = No Obama January 12th, 2009 1:52 pm ET

    Please get a job! you are totally a waste of space! as is WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! January 12th, 2009 1:30 pm ET

    Thanks but no thanks to your comments – you are all obviously clueless and lack any real direction – you have never offered anything constructive – only destructive – you exist why???

    January 12, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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