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Episcopal Reverend V. Gene Robinson gives ceremony invocation

Bishop Robinson is best known for being the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate. His homosexual feelings were privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family. He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in the 1980s. When delegates to the Episcopal convention were voting on the ratification of his election, he was a controversial figure. His election was ratified 62 to 45. After his election, theologically conservative parishes have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the U.S., a process called the Anglican realignment. His story has appeared in print and film.

Gene Robinson Opening Ceremony Invocation was silent to the crowds on the South side of the reflecting pool. This was due to a malfunction in the speaker tower. Here are his remarks.

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

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.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

AMEN.

Recent comments

(view all 5 comments)

Enchanting Cherry Blossom view of the Washington Monument - click on picture!

Posted by John Allen on Fri 20 Feb 2009 07:19:34 PM UTC

Dear Heather:

Murder is a crime because it, well, kills another human being - being gay involves no malice toward the participating individuals, i.e.: get your damn logic straight next time before you start your senseless barking.

Posted by John Allen on Thu 19 Feb 2009 10:18:40 PM UTC

V. Gene Robinson

His invocation was not televised by HBO (the sole "broadcaster") ... do I sense there's a homophobe in the house?

Posted by John Allen on Thu 12 Feb 2009 09:56:38 PM UTC

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