Historic inaugural slap in the face to LGBT community

Just as I was starting to put together a few posts about my experiences at this weekend's ScienceOnline'09 soirée, I get a Tweet from Pam Spaulding that openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson didn't appear on HBO's inaugural coverage today and, at least for Kenny Yum of Canada's National Post and others in attendance, could not be heard.

As Pam says:

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? That's just freaking rich.

I've long admired Pam and we are grateful for the many people among the LGBT community who we count as friends and have also wonderfully loving influences and intellectual contributors to the upbringing of PharmKid.

As we are now about to inaugurate the nation's first African American president, this episode reminds me of an old post on a powerful advert from Faith in America about religion-based bigotry.

The full text of Robinson's prayer, from the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, is below the fold:

A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God's blessing upon our nation and our next president.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will...

Bless us with tears - for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger - at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort - at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience - and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility - open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance - replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity - remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln's reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy's ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King's dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him 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.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters' childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we're asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand - that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Regardless of whether religion is part of your life, the messages in this prayer surely deserved to be heard.

Should you wish to register your displeasure with HBO, you may do so here.

More like this

Weâd like to have you speak at our inaugural eventâ¦
Weâd like to put your face up on the screen
Look around you; all you see are Democratic eyes.
Stroll around the Mall until itâs time to speak

And hereâs to you, Bishop Robinson,
CNNâyour speech they wouldnât show
Wo wo wo
Bless us with tears, Bishop Robinson,
Heaven knows it canât be cos youâre gay
Hey hey hey, hey hey heyâ¦.

Use another camera while the Bishop says his prayer.
Put it on a crowd scene for the broadcast
Keep him in the closet, Bishop Robinsonâs not there
Most of all, weâve got to hide him from the kids

Shoo, shoo, to you, Bishop Robinson,
CNNâyour speech they wouldnât show
Wo wo wo
Bless us with tears, Bishop Robinson,
Heaven knows it canât be cos youâre gay
Hey hey hey, hey hey heyâ¦.

Standing on the marble steps, with Lincoln looking down
Going through the motions for TV
Laugh about it, Shout about it, Try to spread the word
Anyway, the Bishop wasnât heard

Where have you gone, Marian Anderson?
The GMC is singing just like you
Ooo ooo ooo
Whatâs that you say, Bishop Robinson?
CNN sure kept you locked away
Hey hey hey⦠hey hey heyâ¦

wow. just wow. I thought Robinson's appearance was on the 20th. Love the prayer - beautiful. I watched most of the CNN coverage and HBO online today, truly stunning to see people of all walks there, freezing their asses off, and singing away.

How lucky to be blessed with discomfort, oppression, and anger, oh, the irony.

Cuttlefish, you outdone yourself! I'll be singing that damn song all night now. At least it replaces the Garth Brooks version of American Pie in my head:)

I heard that Gene Robinson's was delivered two days before the actual inauguration. Did HBO's coverage included other events from two days before?

I'm actually more disappointed that the LGBT community didn't get mentioned in Obama's inaugural address when he mentioned many groups of people, and he had mentioned us in many of his previous speeches.

Anyway, it has been barely a day since he's president, so I'll just be patient with his actions instead of clinging on to his words.