Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopalian New Hampshire bishop whose ordination precipitated a mini-schism within his own church, will deliver the opening invocation of President Barack Obama‘s Inauguration this Sunday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. An unnamed source within the incoming Obama administration says that Bishop Robinson’s inclusion was planned before the controversy over Rick Warren but predicts that critics will suggest otherwise.
No? Really? You think so?
Politico reports on the late-breaking announcement:
“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.”
With networks planning an unprecedented level of coverage of all things inaugural, you’ll probably wind up seeing the event on CNN, but the event is much less prominent than the actual inauguration, which Rev. Warren will officiate in all his ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ glory.
The inclusion of Bishop Robinson is not nothing, however– and the symbolic importance of Robinson’s invocation at the same spot that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech won’t be lost on anyone.