UPDATE: This is the official statement from Team Obama:
"We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson's invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday's program. We regret the error in executing this plan -- but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event," said PIC communications director Josh Earnest.
TWO's Response: "We appreciate the explanation," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "However, it seems that Team Obama should make up for its error by having the courtesy to invite Bishop Robinson to address the nation on national television. He is a major national figure, and more historically prominent than Rick Warren, who will give the invocation. He deserves a 'Do-Over'."
Warren Gets Prime Time, Robinson Gets No Time, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out today urged the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) to explain why openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson was excluded from a Home Box Office airing of inauguration festivities. He gave his sermon on Sunday, but HBO did not air it, leaving America wondering why he was bumped from the broadcast. Additionally, Robinson's microphone wasn't turned on until his prayer was nearly over, so the crowd was also unable to hear him.
Robinson's remarks were newsworthy and much anticipated because they were viewed as an attempt to mend fences with the gay community, after Obama chose anti-gay evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the main invocation.
"We strongly urge Team Obama to get to the bottom of this because people are perplexed and looking for a reasonable explanation," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "As it stands, Rick Warren gets prime time and Gene Robinson gets no time. We would like the Inauguration Committee to strongly consider offering Robinson a new chance to deliver his remarks on national television."
The website AfterElton.com contacted HBO on Sunday and the premium channel replied with an e-mail: "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."
"Like all Americans, we just want to enjoy the inauguration of our new president," said Besen. "We will feel much better about the event, once this situation is resolved."
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay lies. TWO also counters the so-called "ex-gay" industry and educates America about the lives of GLBT people.
Somehow the phrase, "Business as usual," comes to mind. Despite Obama at the helm, we should continue to talk about being in the proverbial back of the bus and do something about it! According to Coretta Scott King, MLK would want us to!
posted by richard schillen, at
1/19/2009 1:23 PM
It was probably deliberate. If Obama were so interested in inclusion, why did he not pick Bishop Robinson for the benediction in opposition to the right wing bigot Warren?
Further, why should there be a religious invocation, why is it necessary and why do we need it? I know of no other western country where this is a requirement when a current administration passes to the next. Makes absolutely NO sense. Keep all religion out of politics and in the home or place of worship where it belongs if necessary. Why is it that American politicians feel compelled to express a religious belief system anyway? What's that about? Why is that so necessary or relevant to one's ability to govern? Why should it matter?
posted by Robert, NYC., at
1/19/2009 2:20 PM
I am not surprised. I am pissed off but i am not coming to the rescue of religion whether it is lead by gay or straight men or women. Forget it. I agree with RobertNYC. Let us remember that the larger Episcopal Church does not include us anymore than they do Robinson. They can have their religion. What they cannot have is God unto themselves and only themselves telling me what God is when none of us could possibly ever know. Shame on Obama to start out like this. It is a bad omen if nothing else creating horrible karma due to inequality.
posted by mail, at
1/19/2009 2:47 PM
Obama's involvement of Warren in the inauguration shows that Obama is as sexist and homophobic as Clinton and Bush. All of his talk about "change" was just talk.
posted by libhom, at
1/19/2009 5:06 PM
First of all +Robinson is anything but an *ass*, he's a very kind and gentle man, which says something about his character considering the constant barrage of hate and ignorant comments that are thrown at him. And the Episcopal church IS one of the most gay inclusive mainline denominations in North America and becoming more and more so. The 'southern cone' of the church, mostly Africa, is still rabidly homophobic. But I agree with you all that these benedictions dont have any place in a supposedly secular government. The presidents should only engage in private religious activities on their own time (if they so choose). BTW, I heard on TV this morning that when Bush first became prez. he attended one of the 'traditional' presidential churches in DC for a while, but then stopped going all together. I always knew he was a phoney who played the conservative religious card to get votes and support from the Hooterville crowd.
posted by gary, at
1/20/2009 10:13 AM