By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2009 ( – Following the row that erupted after pro-marriage and pro-life Saddleback pastor Rick Warren was picked to preside over the main inauguration event, Obama has selected the Episcopal Church’s only openly homosexual bishop to give the main invocation at a Sunday event celebrating Obama’s inauguration, to be held two days later.

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, a central figure in the homosexual clergy controversy that has rocked the worldwide Anglican communion, will deliver his invocation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

“I’m just overwhelmed and so humbled by this invitation,” said Robinson, who entered into a legal civil union with his long-time partner Mark Andrews in June.

Joe Solmonese, president of the homosexual activist group the Human Rights Campaign, said Robinson’s selection was “encouraging.”

“Bishop Robinson models what prayer should be – spiritual reflection put into action for justice,” he said.

Robinson said his prayer would focus on inclusiveness.

“It will certainly be a message that everyone in the nation can identify with. And part of the prayer will be for President Obama but also I am going to include words of prayer for the nation and what I think we are called upon to do,” he said.

Mr. Obama felt the ire of homosexual activists and social liberals on the whole last month after inviting Rick Warren to deliver the main invocation at the presidential inauguration on January 20. 

Warren is widely known for proclaiming Christian teaching on marriage and family, which has frequently earned him the brand “anti-gay.”  Robinson and his associates denied that Obama picked the bishop to help soothe anger from gay lobbyists; rather, the pick reflects Obama’s longtime friendship with the bishop.

Obama sought out Robinson on several occasions during the presidential race.  During one such meeting, the two shared thoughts on being “first” of their kind.

Speaking of Obama, Robinson said in a Times interview last November: “The thing that I liked about him and what he said on this issue is that he and I would agree about the rightful place of religion vis-a-vis the secular state.

“That is to say, we don’t impose our religious values on the secular state because God said so. Our faith informs our own values and then we take those values into the civil market place, the civil discourse, and then you argue for them based on the constitution.”


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