Commentary By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
It must have been one of those “God-incidences.” Yesterday’s invocation by openly homosexual Episcopal bishop Gene V. Robinson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which began with “O God of our many understandings,” wasn’t heard by too many people. A malfunctioning microphone and HBO’s decision not to include the prayer in their coverage resulted in Robinson’s message being largely unheard.
The bishop was invited to give the invocation at Sunday’s opening inaugural event after President-elect Barack Obama was criticized by homosexual advocacy groups for inviting Christian Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration.
Robinson made it clear a week ago that he planned to deliver an inclusive prayer that would not be Christian. In a Jan. 12 interview with the New York Times, he said that he was researching inaugural prayers throughout history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”
“I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer,” he said, “and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”
While more then 80 percent of the American population describes themselves as Christian, with Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and atheists sharing the other 20 percent, one can only wonder why Robinson was so afraid of sounding too Christian. By invoking Jesus Christ he would have connected with far more Americans than by calling upon a politically correct God most people never even heard of.
The lesbian and gay community exploded with outrage over the event. “It was supposed to be the olive branch given to LGBT communities (and straight allies) over the high profile Inauguration participation of Rev. Rick Warren, the California pastor who urged his flock to vote for Proposition 8,” said one popular gay rights website. “Instead, openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s opening prayer at Sunday’s kick-off ceremonies was (1) not televised by HBO at all, and (2) apparently not heard by most of the Inaugural crowd (the Bishop’s mic wouldn’t work).”
The blogger concluded. “There’s no easy way to say this: We were hoodwinked.”
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