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. Daniel

    Wow.There's a whole host of right wing nut jobs here today.Go back to the 19th century people!

    January 12, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Pat in NY

    Now I wish I could renege on my vote. I find this disgusting. An openly GAY bishop!!!! Lord help us. Our children have no none to look up to and our country is the laughing stock of the world and the abomination of the universe. UGH! UGH! UGH!

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

    The Left preaches "tolerance," which is synonomous with utter "intolerance" of individuals who base their beliefs on faith, reason
    & the Holy Bible. The President Elect's recent selection is a disappointment, a PR move if there ever was one.

    January 12, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. suzy

    TCM – you are a sad sad person.........and the reason we still have to have stupid discussions over issues like this.

    January 12, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Kevin, Austin

    Bravo, Mr. Obama. And for those of you who don't understand what is happening here... I'll pray for you to get an education.

    January 12, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Sarah in the South

    Obama can pick whomever he wants, but I have to ask, how can you preach the bible when it "straight" (pun intended) out says that your lifestyle is a sin against the God you are wanting to worship?

    And to John in NY... the voters in California were against same-sex marriages a few years ago. The California Supreme Court decided that it was thier job to MAKE the laws, not uphold them. They, more or less, told the voters that they don't count and allowed same-sex marriages. This last vote was to show the state Supreme Court that the VOTERS have rights too. Rick Warren was just following the Bible and protecting the rights of his church.

    January 12, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Jen

    Oka I wont be watching, they are making this way too controversial religious!! In my life, nothing against gays as its their choice and life, but my religion says God abolishes homosexuality. Second of all a woman preacher. I am sorry but that is against my religion too. THis is just getting crazy!! I like some sort of Standard morals in Government ... the main things that just about everyone agrees on would have been more of a safe bet. Let the small things people believe in that is very controversial stay out of government. That is when Church and State are crossing boundaries.

    January 12, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Daniel

    The rights of gays and lesbians should not be voided to promote the rights of Christians. How is that Constitutional? We can take away the rights of one group to suit the rights of another? What then of the rights of Muslims and Jews? America is NOT a Christian country. It is a country for ALL PEOPLE. Everyone should be afforded equal rights according to the U.S. Constitution. At one time I was an evangelical and voted for Reagan; however, the Evangelicals have spewed hatred, biogtry, and racism for two decades. Rick Warren is no different; his message has been just at hateful, and yet, he claims to "love gays and lesbians." Sorry, you can't love someone and then take away their rights.

    January 12, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Terry

    A female minister, a fundamentalist minister, and a gay minister. I think the Obama administration is off to a good start. Somehow, we all have to get along. Fundamentalists are not going to persuade gay people to turn straight. Gay people are not going to persuade fundamentalists to change their rigid theology. Women are not going to persuade the Catholic Church to accept lesbian priestesses.

    No matter what you believe, most of the people on earth think you are an idiot for believing it. As Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?"

    January 12, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Vincent Petrosino

    My God is a loving God who loves all his children. Obama wishes as many people to be seated at the table of America as possible. No one is to be left out for any reason. God did not write the Bible. Men wrote the Bible without input from women I might say! Men chose what to include in the Bible and what should be left out as if we could not think for ourselves. They had their reasons and they were all not holy. To take the Bible literally and as the ONLY source of Christian doctrine is simplistic, naive and problematic. There are many ways to reach GOD not just one. We have no right to judge lest we be judged in return and found wanting. Are we to believe that a faithful follower of Buddha, Mohammed or the pantheon of Hindu gods cannot reach his/her Nirvana.? Think again.

    January 12, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Mike

    Christians believe everything in the bible to be the true word of God. Therefore Romans 1:18-32 can be held up as what the Bishop is supposed to believe. But like the right they ignore what they do not like.

    January 12, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Joyce in Indiana

    All of you Christian-right haters need to realize that the ONE book in the Old Testament where homosexual behavior is specifically prohibited also contains prohibitions against wearing clothing made from two different fibers and from eating seafood without scales or gills. So while you're sitting in your local redneck bar eating fried catfish and wearing your poly-cotton blend work pants, you are sinning twice!

    It's purely a Victorian convention that has made some Christians see sexual sin as worse than any other sin. Christian-right haters, take the log out of your own eye before you go after the speck in your neighbor's!

    January 12, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. jd

    What a sad day in American when an open gay preacher is allowed to even be preaching let alone give the opening for Obama. Oh well he has only got one person to answer to and it is not here on the earth.

    January 12, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. John

    We can all claim to be, or believe, anything we want. But our actions prove what we really are. The vast majority of people that claim to believe/follow the Bible, in reality, do not, clergy included. Whether you choose to follow the Bible or not is up to you. But in both pre-Christian and Christian times God has made it known very clearly how he feels about homosexuality and pre-marital sex. We can't pick and choose which of God's laws/principles we will follow & which ones we won't. His standards don't change. But our's sure have.
    While God wants everyone to serve Him accurately, He won't force anyone. But, in the end, we are responsible for our actions. So, while the lifestyles we choose are up to us induvidually, none of us can honestly claim to be a true Christian if we live a life contrary to God's standards. It would also be wrong for anyone else to attack, verbally or physically, anyone that chooses to do so. None of us has the right to judge. So, let Mr. Robinson say whatever he wants to. He has the right. We also have the right to listen...or not.

    January 12, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Tbee

    Jen I agree with you. A woman preacher?? no way. Obama is trying to please everyone and every interest group. Next he will have the KKK doing something. This is way too much cross over. Some of the people that Obama is bringing in are not according to God's word and he is really crossing the line

    January 12, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. wow

    This is definitely the begining of the end.

    January 12, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. AR

    That is why this world is the way it is, because of all you morons that hate people. Gay's have the same right and straight people to be happy and to love someone. We are not hurting anyone by being gay. And Obama is showing that he is equal to everyone and not like most of you out there and other president that are bias to certain people. from the begining Obama has shown that he will be a president for the people and not just for the wealthy. This is a great opportunity for us as Amerincan's to have a President that cares about his people, no matter what background they come from.You people out there that are talking bad about gay's and hating gay's are the ones going to hell for not loving god's creation. If god did not love gay's he would not have created us, but he does LOVE US, just like he loves you as well.

    January 12, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Jen, oh my GOD, what is crazy is what you said, UNBELEIVABLE especially to come from a WOMAN if you are one, people need to mind there own business my GOD makes the JUDGEMENT call not me or you.

    January 12, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. I can't beleive it


    January 12, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    If you want to be gay good for you. It is not ok to be gay. Nor should it be depicted as ok. If you are gay then you made a decision and will have to deal with the consequences of your actions. Like not being able to get married. Being gay should not be shown to be a good thing. Gay people should not be able to adopt children. Doing so is child cruelty as that person will not be able to live a normal life. Gays should not be allowed in the military for reasons such as housing. In other words they would not let men in to the womens showers. If a school student is gay they should not be allowed to use the locker rooms marked for a certain gender. Like i said if you want to be gay good for you but be ready to accept the consequences.

    January 12, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. nom deplume

    Out of all the available clergy, Obama picks an openly gay reverend.

    Think there is a message being sent about whose values matter and whose don't?

    Travel tip: Fly over country is going to be a dangerous place for liberals if the economy doesn't improve. Take a plane.

    January 12, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. PJP in OK

    Hey Vincent, you think so, HUH? The Bible is the inspired Word of God. God had men write what He wanted them to write. There is nothing in the Bible that God did not want there. Do I take it literally? You bet I do! Do I still slip, yep, that to! Yes, God is a very forgiving God, but there are things He does not and will not tolerate and if Americans do not get on their knees and ask for forgiveness America as we know it is coming to an end and pretty soon, with or without Obama.

    For those of you that don't agree with me, ask me if I care???? I speak the truth!

    January 12, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. jaye

    Everyone should be recognized in this inuguration...people from every walk of life. Period!
    NO MORE racism, no more anti-gay, no more anti-American.
    This is the United States of America – not the white republicans of America.

    January 12, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. PJP in OK

    Scott January 12th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

    Hell…meet handbasket….

    Hey Scott, that's the most I've 3 words say in a long, long time!!

    January 12, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Oh No!

    kuriya January 12th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

    People who think they are not sinners and are righteous please give Obama a break. Neither are any righteous or perfect either, we are all children of God. Let God be the judge not you haters.
    I am not a hater... I voted for Obama, but still believe in the Word of GOD (the Bible). I know that I am saved by grace. We don’t start out being children of God, you have to accept Christ as your personal Savior.

    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.

    John 1: 11-13
    v. 11 – He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him
    v. 12 – Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
    v. 13 – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

    Romans 3:22-24
    v.22 – This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
    v. 23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    v. 24 – and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

    Peace to all and lots of love!


    January 12, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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