GENE ROBINSON…. Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson delivered quite an invocation yesterday, to help kick off Barack Obama’s inaugural festivities. Calling on a “God of our many understandings” to bless the country, the American people, and our incoming president, Robinson said:
“Bless us with tears — for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
“Bless us with anger — at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.”
I’m going to guess that this was the first invocation at an inaugural event to cover this specific ground. Good for Robinson.
As for his prayer to a “God of our many understandings,” Robinson said that was entirely deliberate. He told the Union Leader that he’d researched previous inaugural invocations and prayers and found them to be “aggressively Christian.” He preferred a more inclusive route: “All I could think about when I read them was, ‘My goodness, what does a Jew think hearing this? What does a Muslim think? What does a Sikh or a Hindu think?’ Having been not included, as a gay man, in so many instances, the last thing I want to do is exclude any American from this.”
I didn’t see it, but Digby added, “I just saw Obama hug Bishop Robinson at the Lincoln Memorial and it did my heart good.” Indeed.
And speaking of not seeing things, apparently, HBO’s broadcast of the event at the Lincoln Memorial began after Robinson’s invocation, so the national audience couldn’t watch it. One of the attendees got a pretty good recording of it, however, and it’s online, as is the transcript.