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. John, Brooklyn, New York

    To Ken in Dallas,

    Please don't mistake the GLBT community's outrage at the selection of Rick Warren as simply our attempt to prevent someone who disagrrees with us from having a role in the inauguration. Heck – we know we are a minority – and not an especially popular one. If we were angry at everyone that disagreed with us – we'd go crazy.

    Rick Warren is something different. He not only opposes marriage for everyone – he actually actively campaigned (using his church to do so) for a law that would RETROACTIVELY strip the legal legitimacy of thousands of gay people who were ALREADY married. He isn't just someone who disagrees with gay marriage – he, in fact, is an active persecutor of gay-led families. He has, in fact, actively campaign for the DESTRUCTION of responsible, loving, productive, "pro-family" relationships simply on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    I pray for the soul of Rick Warren and his angry, hateful soul.

    January 12, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Eunice


    January 12, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Eunice


    January 12, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Adam B.

    He was the first openly gay *bishop*, not priest. The first openly gay priest in the Episcopal Church was Robert Williams of New Jersey in 1989.

    January 12, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Proud American

    Praise the Lord.

    January 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. carol

    Come on people, don't get your knickers in a twist...so what if the Bishop is gay and what difference does that make to him giving a prayer for heaven's sake?
    PE Obama wants to be inclusive of all people, he has made that clear so can you all please just settle down and move into the 21st Century, things are changing with this administration you better get used to it.

    January 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. John

    "American" (comment from 2:25pm)... ironically your comment is not very American. America looks bad enough to the world and Obama has A LOT of undoing to do ahead of him. This is one of the many steps you're going to have to stomach, like we "Libr'als" have had to endure since Novemeber of 2000.

    January 12, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. honeychild

    I may not agree with this decision... but I say "LET GOD BE THE JUDGE!"

    God have Mercy on us al!

    January 12, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Oh No!

    boered1 January 12th, 2009 2:14 pm ET

    Your life will be reviewed on Judgement Day and there will be much gnashing of 'YOUR' teeth.

    Genesis 1:27
    So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.


    January 12, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. sine

    Everyone just shut up....you people ask for a better america but don't know how to accept it when it's being given to you. He is trying to include everyone – we should all agree to disagree. If you want a gay marriage go and get one...you deal with God when your time comes. If you don't believe in gay marriage just shut your trap and live your life like you think it should be lived because God will surely deal with you too.

    January 12, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. liz

    It is so past time for people to realize you do not have a heaven or hell to place anyone in. Each of us must be responsible for our own salvation.....just because you disagree with the action does not mean it is okay to condemn the person. Why is it so hard to live life without always making an effort to find fault in others?

    January 12, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Ekbaaaal from Pakistan

    Arey madhar choddhon.....

    There is a HUGE economic problem on hand and you all are worried about about these loude ke discussions???

    What about Jobs / growth before we get to the gender related aspects?

    tum logh sudarne waale nahin ho...


    January 12, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I like it! Maybe he and Warren can mud wrestle in front of the Smithsonion dressed like panda bears.

    seriously, if they are going to have someone who doesn't believe in freedom and equality doing some preaching, why not someone who does?

    January 12, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Jill American

    I think Warren by his side and Robinson 'in the shodow of the Linclon Memorial' says a lot about Obama.

    January 12, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Maryland Democrat

    To those who asked how you can have a gay christian priest.

    Technically, the Bible says nothing about being gay, which is a state of being. The Bible only says one cannot act on that state of being.

    Meaning, even according to the hardliner opinion, that having a sexual relationship between two men is an abomination, there is nothing wrong at all with a Priest (who is never supposed to have sex anyhow) being gay, so long as he doesn't act on it.

    January 12, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Al, NY NY

    American January 12th, 2009 2:25 pm ET
    Welcome To The Obama Show!!!!! People like you make Americans look bad!

    Did you vote for the village idiot....twice? If so, you are ten times worse than any Obama supporter. If not for him, what about the Old Man and the C? He surely would not last a full term meaning that dip would have been in charge, you betcha

    January 12, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. Virginia

    Barack, do the words coming out of both sides of your mouth taste good? How are you going to keep trying to satisfy everybody? You can't so don't try. By the way, this is disgusting....

    January 12, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Jim Hall

    You religious idiots go back to your caves. Most of you that are married have committed adultry regardless of your gender and the ones that are single definately aren't virgin regardless of gender. This is the 21st century Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    January 12, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Karen- Change is coming

    WHY NOT! People forget that God said to love NOT judge. I am not for their life styles but at the end of the day, I don't have to pay for their sins and they don't have to pay for mine. When we all stand before God, we don't have to pay for each other sins, we will be held accountable for our sins only....and I don't need one more sin to pay for by not loving someone because of their sexual preferences. We shouldn't point fingers!

    January 12, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Lu

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.....

    January 12, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Mike

    Since people like bringing up the first admendment in all these discussions perhaps you should know what it actually says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" Where in any of this is congress creating a law? This proccess has nothing to do with congress and as such the first amendment doesn't apply. If there as truely seperation from church and state then perhaps we should adjust the Declaration of Independce to remove any referance of God or Creator.

    January 12, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. proudliberal-independent

    inaugurations are stoopid when they are infested with religion, gay or otherwise. who even cares anymore? the divisiveness and hatefulness in this country is shameful, and it's mostly because of fairy tale religions. people need to learn to have faith in themselves. i for one will not participate.

    January 12, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Meh

    Jon> I believe hatred is frowned on in the bible, too. Let he who is without sin...

    That goes for the rest of you hatemongers on this site. What is wrong w. you?

    It's about love, guys, something the bible speaks highly of and maybe something you should try practicing a little more. Why is that so hard to understand? The bible was writen during a time when people wanted to populate the earth. Therefore it makes sense DURING THAT TIME to look down on any acts that wouldn't lead to populating the earth. These are rules that a PERSON made up. God doesn't care what people do in their bedrooms. Don't you think he has better things to do w. his time?

    And Truth Hurts> That is incorrect. Marriage being defined as one man and one woman is a fairly recent development. Men had many wives in the bible...even some of god's "choosen" ones i.e. – Isaac.

    January 12, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Florinda

    Obama is being true to himself. In selecting this guy he has proven to me along with others hopefully that he has no stand to take. Obama is trying extremely hard to be everything to everyone and you just can't do that unless you really don't have any stand on anything. In that case we are in real trouble. Bush for all his mistakes and errors never gave any illusion for being anything other than what he is. He did what he did and made no bones or apologies for his beliefs. Obama is wishy washy. No backbone. He wants inclusion for all but is a mistake because who is Obama underneath it all?

    January 12, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. Meh

    I think all the people ranting about how "disgusting" this is might be a little closeted themselves...

    January 12, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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