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article imageGay Clergy Prayer at Inaugural Event Kicks Up Controversy

By Carol Forsloff     Jan 23, 2009 in Lifestyle
Gene Robinson is an openly gay bishop. His status in the Episcopal Church has created divisions. Even in small towns people talk about him.
His appointment as Bishop was celebrated by the gay community in 2003 while the straight community didn’t like it. Nearly six years later, at the time of the inauguration of Barack Obama, controversies surrounding this man continue in Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and many other parts of the world. In fact it has threatened to create a major schism.
Robinson claims that he was asked to give the opening prayer for the inauguration ceremonies before Rick Warren. He told Rachel Maddow this in what was called an exclusive interview, which can be viewed with this article. Instead it was decided that Warren would have the high visibility position to lead the invocation with Robinson to give a prayer at an earlier kick-off inaugural event during the four-day celebration period.
His prayer at the Lincoln Memorial was left out of the initial broadcasts. He laughed about that later, but the gay community wasn’t laughing.
The Robinson prayer was considered innocuous in the gay rights community. The community was also concerned that the television stations did not give it fair play and that Robinson’s gayness was not underlined so that the message of inclusion would be clear. A Natchitoches gay rights supporter, Scott Lumry, who was interviewed for this piece, said the gay rights groups were concerned that Robinson was not featured and hoped something would be done to rectify it. Eventually the prayer was aired on some television stations.
Robinson has been controversial because he has spoken out for the rights of gays and for the inclusion of gays in the clergy. This newest issue will likely keep him at the center of the debate.
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