Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson

Controversy has been brewing since gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation on Sunday prior to the We Are One concert was left out of HBO’s broadcast of inaugural events. According to reports, HBO pointed the finger at the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC), saying the committee made the decision that Robinson’s prayer was “pre-show” material. The PIC has apologized.

Sarah Pulliam, at Christianity Today’s politics blog, reports that Robinson’s prayer will be rebroadcast on the mall. For those of you (like me) who aren’t in D.C. and for those who didn’t have HBO to begin with, Pulliam recorded it on video and transcribed it.It was also on YouTube, although several commenters on Pulliam’s blog said it was taken down, then later put back up.

There was some pre-prayer consternation over whether Bishop Robinson would invoke the name of Jesus in his prayer (he said in an interview with the Concord (NH) Monitor that he wouldn’t use the Bible and that the prayer wouldn’t be especially Christian). Reading and hearing the prayer, any fuss was unfounded. It’s theologically sound and appropriate, offered to “God of our many understandings.” [Did anyone really think he’d pray to the purple Tele-Tubby?!?]

Some bloggers and commenters are angry about the slight of Robinson, wondering if it was intentional on the part of Obama’s people. I don’t think it was (that’s my uninformed opinion, of course) but I understand how the GLBT community would be sensitive to the handling of Robinson. It’s unfortunate how things turned out.

Joan Walsh, on her Salon.com blog, reports that the PIC released a statement:

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.

Robinson writes about the experience (and lots of other inaugural happenings) on his own blog. Reading it, I was moved and inspired by his humility. And, as he reports on his blog, he’s been invited to be on the Presidential Platform today.