I received this email from Paul Laughlin forwarded to me.
“At the first inaugural festivity, January 19, at Lincoln Memorial, the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the openly Gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, gave the opening prayer. HBO, which had paid for exclusive rights to the event, chose not to broadcast Bishop Robinson’s prayer. So if you watched there you wouldn’t have caught it or even known that it occurred. NPR didn’t air it either. There’s no record of it in images placed on the sites of Getty Images, New York Times and the Washington Post. It’s a complete erasure of his ever having delivered the prayer.
“Such is the continuing policy of silence and erasure we have to live with from people who should know better. We are used to this. If you know your Gay history this has happened again and again. In fact this little list-serve is really about recovering the truth in our history and celebrating it. So we’re going to celebrate it by providing here the full text of Bishop Robinson’s prayer. I suggest you forward this around so that everyone has a chance to enjoy it.”
Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 19, 2009
Delivered by the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson:
“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.
I thank Mr. Laughlin for his “little” list-serve, for finding and making the text of this remarkable prayer available. Let’s forgive HBO; it was probably a decision related to broadcast time constraints rather than outright discrimination. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
That concert performance was thoroughly remarkable. Bono hit the nail on the head when he asked us to think of the Palestinians. Beyoncé, a performer that just doesn’t do it for me, was phenomenal. Jamie Foxx did such a good impression of Obama that I was gasping for breath I laughed so hard. Garth Brooks worked the crowd with such skill that it made me want to see one of his concerts.
And, though I did not know, Bishop V. Gene Robinson prayed a prayer for all people at this time in our national story. God, please bless the bishop!