Monday, January 12, 2009

Bishop Gene Robinson To Open Inaugural Weekend

By MIKE ALLEN 1/12/09

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop in 2003, will deliver the invocation for Sunday’s kickoff inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said.

President-elect Obama is scheduled to attend the afternoon event, which is free and open to the public.

“The president-elect has respect for the Rt. Rev. Robinson, who offered his advice and counsel over the past couple of years,” an inaugural official said. “It also has the benefit of further reinforcing our commitment to an open and inclusive inaugural.”

Many of Obama’s supporters were furious at the choice of Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and best-selling author, to deliver the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony.

An Obama source said: “Robinson was in the plans before the complaints about Rick Warren. Many skeptics will read this as a direct reaction to the Warren criticism – but it’s just not so.”

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