LGBT Community Upset That HBO Didn’t Air Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s Invocation

Last week, progressives cheered the news that the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church in New Hampshire and the first openly gay priest ordained by a major Christian denomination, would be delivering the invocation at President-elect Obama’s opening ceremony.

Yesterday, however, viewers watching HBO — which had exclusive coverage of the opening ceremony — didn’t get to see Robinson’s invocation; the network never aired it. Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend wrote:

Remember, this was the supposed salve on the wound to the LGBT community for the upcoming high-profile appearance of Rick Warren at the actual inauguration on Tuesday, which will be seen by millions and will float out there on YouTube in perpetuity. I had no illusions that Robinson’s appearance would reach the same level of exposure as Warren’s, but damn — no broadcast of it at all?

The site AfterElton.com contacted HBO yesterday, regarding the omission of Robinson from the network’s broadcast. HBO responded (via e-mail): “The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show.” Michael Jensen of AfterElton wrote that it was unclear “as to whether or not that meant that HBO was contractually prevented from airing the pre-show.”

Sarah Pulliam of Christianity Today managed to shoot video of Robinson’s invocation. Watch it:

Robinson’s address yesterday was also marked by protesters from a group called “Brother Ruben and the Official Street Preachers” who shouted phrases such as, “Jesus doesn’t love homosexuals.”

Pam’s House Blend has a round-up of reaction from LGBT bloggers here.


Statement from Presidential Inaugural Committee Josh Earnest:

We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan – but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.

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,Leah McElrath Renna reports: “A PIC source reports that some clips from the Lincoln Memorial event, including Bishop Robinson’s prayer, will be played on the Mall prior to the swearing in ceremony. In addition, there are reports that HBO will likely include the prayer in its re-broadcast of the event.”

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