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. cat

    Oh my goodness...I remember this story from the Bible...They must be the two men pray at the bottom of the mountain. And the one says thank you Lord that I am better than that guy.

    January 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Florida

    It's good to see Rev. Robinson accepted this invocation.

    While I understand why Rick Warren was offered the swearing-in invocation, I still do not think he was the best choice. Joel Osteen, Joel Hunter, or Joyce Meyer would have been better IMO.

    Personally, I was a bit discouraged by Rev. Warren's dishonesty recently. He tried to claim he did not make certain social comparisons when there's actual video of him doing just that.

    God bless all just the same.

    January 12, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. BK

    I'm always amazed at the "devout Christians". They are always the least tolerant among us. I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would be appalled by the behavior of many of his followers.

    January 12, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. BK

    Oh, and I wasn't speaking of the gays and lesbians – just the intolerant haters!

    January 12, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. PJP in OK

    Scott January 12th, 2009 2:33 pm ET

    Hell…meet handbasket….

    I meant to say, that's the most I've heard 3 words say in a long, long, time!

    January 12, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. SL

    Vincent you know less than nothing about reaching God! I'm sorry for that but, would be glad to expalin if you really want to understand.

    This man is commiting an abomenation and is doing it from the position of clergy. This is horrible. And if you continue to support this behavior you will share in the same hellish judgment he will. Not me, The Bible.

    May God forgive you you know not what you do!

    January 12, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. oh man

    To you who think there are many ways to God need to reread the Word. Jesus said the He is the Way, The Truth, and The Life, no man comes to the Father but through me. There are many ways to Christ, but only one way to God. Some say the Bible is outdated, you would bet your whole eternal existant on that. You are a big gambler, you better hope you win. The Bible speaks against homosexuality, He said it is detestable. That's not judging anyone, those who represent Christ, speak the things of Christ. That's witnessing to ones lost soul.

    January 12, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |

    I don't get this.....never have....never will.....does not make sense

    January 12, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Pee4Poultice

    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12).

    PE Obama: If you don't take a stand for something, you'll fall for anything...you've put the presidential stamp of approval in an area that God clearly disapproves.

    January 12, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Honestly!!!!!!

    Look at all of you judging! The Bible says "judge not lest you be judged..." It isn't your place to judge and if you know anything at all about God, He hates the sin but LOVES the sinner! Check it out, it's all in The Word.

    Stop judging because you don't have the right to do so. Look inside, you KNOW you have something in you you would rather God not know about, but guess what HE know all. Think about that the next time you dare to judge another soul. Only you can answer to God for your thoughts, behavior and actions. It's the same for each one of us!

    You guys, with your judgemental, holier than thou, self-righteous attitudes get on my LAST nerve.

    Go ahead...examine your self. Are ya perfect and sinless? I didn't think so.

    January 12, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Selah Brown

    I love Barack Obama.

    January 12, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Honestly!!!!!!

    One other thing I must add to my previous post:

    If you were dying and you had one opportunity to connect to Christ before you did, would you rather not be connected because the only man who could pray for you was gay?

    Self-righteous idiots! Still on my nerves!

    January 12, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. ryan

    Thank God my rights are protected by anti-discrimination laws and legislation because you people scare the hell out of me. You call yourselves Christians? Really? Talk about hypocrisy! All you "haters" out there, I would put good money down that you have some demons in your closets....You really think you're better than me and more deserving of civil and human rights? I am SO thankful that American is moving in a different direction and you soon will be the minority! Thankfully, I was raised with the true Christian values, so I will never cast judgement when your views are seen as the minority's. I will always treat you better than you have treated me. That's God's true message! By the way, PLEASE start getting some form of education and information regarding homosexuality, instead of subjectively boosting your egos with nonsense, judgement, and opinion only. Psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologist and the Surgeon General of the USA recognizes my right to exist and states I do NOT have some type of deficit or disorder. Genetics and Psycho-Social factors have determined my sexual orientation and my sexual identity–it's not a weakness in a belief system or in a person's willpower (no matter what you think! Do some research, PLEASE!). You bigots have no idea how uneducated, hateful, narrow-minded, and discriminatory that you sound and come off in your lives. How's that working for you in your day to day encounters? Again, if I had to put down some money, I would bet that your narrow views are creating interpersonal conflicts and certainly one day you will have to face the pain you have caused others. I am so thankful we finally have a President that is working to accommodate and include the diversity of his American citizens. Hang on people, you are the ones soon to be on the bumpy ride as rational, educated, and diverse citizens start to shape policy and law and become the majority. Awe....Justice is on the horizon!

    January 12, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. RJR

    Some of you need to read the BIBLE it is the only book not written by men but by the inspiration of the holy spirit... It clearly states in the bible that homosexuality is a SIN just as anyother sin... and it needs to be repented of and not lived in...

    January 12, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. NJVote08

    Maybe this fellow will get saved before millions of viewers.

    January 12, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Pat Pearson

    Jen, I don't know what Bible you have been reading but nowhere in any Bible can I find where God "abolishes" homosexuality. In fact, most Biblical references quoted by so-called Christians are actually from the Old Testament whereas Jesus Christ gave us the New Testament (the new covenant) and the request that we "love one another as I have loved you." I don't remember any exceptions to that statement. Unconditional love is what he preached. Furthermore, it is well-established scientific fact that homosexuality is NOT A CHOICE. People are born either heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual (and some poor unfortunates asexual). It is a biochemical determination. And may I remind you that it would be God-given as God is the giver of all life. Ignorance is one of Satan's best weapons – so get yourself educated.

    January 12, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. G-baby, Austin, Tx


    January 12, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. al in memphis

    Whether you are hetrosexual, homosexual, adulter, poligimist, or just a student cheating on a test. God has given all the right to chose. No one can take that away from you, however that doesn't make it right or acceptable. There is a difference in exercising your God given right and doing what is right.

    This issues and other social issues are not that complicated if you just look at how nature is ordered. Maybe we need to start more than just studying wildlife–we need to learn something from them.

    January 12, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Those of you who claim to be a follower of christ should be ashamed of yourselves for judging others. Go ahead and defy everything you supposedly believe in. I really wish there was a hot place for you all to burn.

    This world is tired of your backward ways and hatred.

    January 12, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Joe Green

    Does he go on BEFORE or AFTER the openly homophobic evangelistic preacher gives his invocation?

    Obama is trying to be inclusive, and that's nice, but we now have prayers, invocations, sermons, and what-not from half the clergy in the country.

    It's going to be a LONG inaugeration, for sure. I think I'll get chinese take-out and go see a movie that day....

    January 12, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. boered1


    Please understand that if Marriage was simply a religious sacriment than there would be no problems with what you suggest. unfortunately when the US made marriage a secular law (ie ANY Justice of the Peace can perform one) we removed it from the church and gave it over to the state. Therefore if you want to keep marriage a religous sacrement no problem lets make ALL UNIONS performed previousl, now and in the future, civil unions and any union performed by a chiuch a sacriment and not a part of civil law. That would mean many "married" people would become members of a civil union and many married people would lose their civil union status (unless the minister is authorized by the state to perform the civil unions). think of the outcry that would effect.... but this is what happened in CA and people support it! legal, binding unions were annuled by the state wihtout regard to the people involved. We either call them all marriages (a chuch would NOT have to perform them if they choose not to) and give them equality or we continue to say to a percentage of our citizens that they do not deserve the same rights and freedoms as everyone else because some believe it is an evil and against their religion. BTW there have been NO studies that show a family raised by a pair of homosexual parents is any worse off than one raised by hetrosexual parents.

    January 12, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Mick in Mesa

    Admit it – Rick Warren is a politically active homophobe evangelical minister.
    Question for Rick – If you're against gays marrying, would you prefer that the Rev. Robinson marry your daughter?

    January 12, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. mc- atlanta

    Good for you Obama, America is becoming more progressive, Keep up with times or you get left behind.

    January 12, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. GA Independent

    I am loving this.

    All these folks are "honored" to be selected to be a part of the inaugural party AND they HAVE to play nice with each other regardless of their personal opinions, beliefs, etc. It is wonderful and I think it will either make them LISTEN to each other for a change or demonstrate that they can't behave like adults in public. Either way, it's a win for the American people.

    Obama is demonstrating that we truly are a melting pot. Let's hope some of them actually melt a little and can join hands and voices.

    Obama has got to feel like he's in charge of a kindergarten sometimes tho... Geez.

    January 12, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. DIZIZI31

    Obama's not even Catholic, What gives here!!

    Let's not be the judge. We should let our supreme Creator judge the appropriatness of this man's prayer. I can't image God will listen to a man who willfully disobeys him and expects God to conform this mans standard of righteousness. God has not changed so maybe this bishop won't be using any references from the Holy Word.

    January 12, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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