First it was Barack Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright. Now it’s Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson. Obama’s association with radical fringe religious leaders has provoked major controversy even before taking office. Bishop Robinson, the nation’s first openly practicing gay Episcopalian bishop, who has a partner by civil union, gave the invocation for Obama’s “We Are One” pre-inaugural concert Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The divisive bishop was added to inaugural events in response to criticism of Pastor Rick Warren giving Tuesday’s inaugural prayer. Warren supported Proposition 8 last year, California’s Protect Marriage amendment, which enraged some gay activists. Robinson opposed the amendment, and has said about Pastor Warren, “It's just that on the issue of gay and lesbian relations, the stuff he has said is appalling."
Robinson assured inauguration organizers that he would not use explicit Christian terminology in the invocation. Instead of trying to bring people together in his message, he used the opportunity to push his own agenda. His invocation was a broad endorsement of progressive Democrat priorities, going so far as saying, “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….Help him [Obama] remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.”