The pulpit is getting even more crowded at the Inauguration festivities next week. After miffing gay and lesbian groups by picking pro-Proposition 8 Rev. Rick Warren to offer the invocation on his big day, President-elect Obama is giving homosexuals a turn in the limelight. In a surprise announcement, it appears the Obama team is trying to soothe the ruffled feathers over Warren's role by asking Bishop Gene Robinson, an open homosexual, to kick off the We Are One event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial January 19.Garrison Keillor: "Why can't Episcopalians play chess? Because they can't tell a bishop from a queen . . . snip"
"It is also an indication of the new president's commitment to being the President of all the people. "...[I]t will be my great honor to be there representing... all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community" Robinson said. Robinson will deliver the invocation at Sunday's ceremony, which both Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden are scheduled to attend. According to the AP, "Robinson said he doesn't yet know what he'll say, but he knows he won't use a Bible. 'While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans,' Robinson said. 'I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer.'" [emphasis added]
While the choice of Robinson may be designed to placate angry liberals, the irony of it isn't lost on religious conservatives. The ballyhoo over Pastor Warren's selection was in large part because he was "divisive" in supporting Prop 8. Yet if there was ever a pastor whose actions were divisive it was Gene Robinson who almost single handedly devastated one of America's oldest Christian denominations. Robinson's confirmation in 2003 as the first openly gay Bishop shattered the once-conservative Episcopal Church and created a painful split between the liberal leadership and faithful Anglicans that cost it hundreds of thousands of followers.
Robinson says, "I believe in my heart that the church got it wrong about homosexuality." This view, which he emphasized in at least three private meetings with Obama, may be reflective of the next president's ideology, but it's far from mainstream. While liberals may not appreciate Warren's position on marriage, a majority of voters happen to agree with him. Far more states--including California--have banned counterfeit marriage than have ratified it.
[Hat tip to E.E.]