Obama picks gay bishop to launch inauguration festivities

Obama picks gay bishop to launch inauguration festivities

Bishop Gene Robinson
Bishop Gene Robinson


President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration has already seen consternation amongst homosexuals over Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation. However, today it was made public that openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire will offer a prayer on Sunday to open the inauguration events.

On Monday an anonymous source from the Obama team told Politico that Bishop Robinson had accepted an invitation to kickoff the inaugural ceremonies with a prayer on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

With President-elect Obama in attendance, Bishop Robinson will help launch Obama’s “We are One” string of ceremonies.   In an email to friends, Robinson said that he is “humbled and overjoyed at this invitation, and it will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.”

An Obama aide told Politico that the plans to feature Robinson were in place “before the complaints about Rick Warren. Many skeptics will read this as a direct reaction to the Warren criticism – but it’s just not so.”

Joe Solomnese, president of the pro-homosexual group Human Rights Campaign, described the Robinson invitation as showing that "ultimately, Barack Obama is a friend to the LGBT community.” "I believe his administration is going to inspire us and advance our agenda more often than not," Solomnese said on Monday.

Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to offer the invocation for the inauguration ceremony has drawn the ire of gay activists, including Bishop Robinson who called the Warren pick “really, really unfortunate” because of Warren’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a December 2008 interview with Beliefnet, Robinson said that he “would love to engage him [Warren]. In some ways he's a very brave person, but he's woefully wrong about the issue of homosexuality. He needs to be confronted about the lies he told about gay people to the people of California.”

“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 added.

CNA attempted to reach Bishop Gene Robinson for his reaction to the invitation, but did not response immediately.

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