As you may probably already know, Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson's
invocation, which has kicked-off the President-elect Barack Obama's
inaugural celebrations, "We Are One", was not broadcast at all on HBO and it
was poorly transmitted by CNN and other news services, ostensively because
of "technical difficulties".
However, thanks to an excellent video recording by Sarah Pulliam, an on-line
editor for "Christianity Today", who attended the event at the Lincoln
Memorial today (Sunday, 18 January 2009), we now have media documentation of
openly gay Bishop Robinson's historic pre-inaugural invocation!
Here is the YouTube site:
"Gene Robinson's Prayer Kicks off Inaugural Events"
Gene Robinson gives the invocation at the "We Are One" concert, which kicked
off inaugural ceremonies.
Length: 4:14 minutes
Here is Sarah Pulliam's article at the Christianity Today web-site,0Awhich
also features her clear video recording of Bishop Robinson's invocation.
Published on Sunday, 18 January 2009
"Gay Bishop Kicks off Celebrity-filled Event"
*... by Sarah Pulliam*
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gene Robinson, the divisive figure who was the first
openly Episcopal gay bishop, led the invocation at today's inaugural
Robinson prayed for God to "bless this nation with anger – anger at
discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women,
people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people." He also
prayed that God would bless us with "the understanding that our new
president is a human being, not a messiah."
Overall, his prayer was not especially surprising, since Robinson had told
the *Concord Monitor*<http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090112/FRONTPAGE/901120347>that
it wouldn't be "especially Christian" and wouldn't use a Bible. Below
is the video I took on my camera of Robinson's prayer.
The event was mostly focused on the celebrities, including Bono, Tiger
Woods, Beyonce, and Bruce Springsteen. Several journalists clearly need a
brush-up on *People, In Style, and US magazines because people had to call
out each celebrity for those of us who were clueless. My favorite moment was
when it looked like Samuel L. Jackson peeked around the corner to t ake a
picture on his phone. Even Malia Obama pulled out a small digital camera.*
Click below for the full text of the prayer and more pictures.
During the event, I stood close to the front and heard the prayer just fine,
but my friend who stood closer to the Washington Monument said the sound of
the prayer didn't reach the crowd until halfway finished. In any case,
here's the full text of the prayer:
"O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will ...
"Bless us with tears – tears for a world in which over a billion people
exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are
beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from
malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
"Bless this nation with anger – 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 our
world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of
"Bl ess 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 as a
nation 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.
"Bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion's
God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.
"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, inspire him with President Lincoln's
reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy's ability to enlist our best
efforts, and Dr. King's dream of a nation for all people.
"Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.
"Give him stirring words; 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
"Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that
experience of discrimination, th at he might seek to change the lives of
those who are still its victims.
"Give him 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
"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 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.