In a surprise move, President Obama turned to openly gay Bishop Gene R0binson for the closing prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast Monday. Robinson, who was the nation’s first openly gay Episcopalian bishop, was clearly caught off guard, tweeting “OMG!”
The audience is not necessarily a friendly one, since the attending clergy represent the full spectrum of positions on LGBT issues. However, Obama knows Robinson, who presided over a prayer during the President’s 2009 inaugural festivities. The choice of Robinson for the closer was clearly pointed, given the President’s comments on the shootings Sunday outside a Jewish center in Kansas City.
“And we have to keep coming together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism that can lead to hatred and to violence, because we’re all children of God,” Obama said. “We’re all made in His image, all worthy of His love and dignity.”
As for the prayer itself, whatever Robinson said apparently resides solely in the memories of those in attendance. As he later tweeted, “It was totally off the cuff.”