My story today about the selection of V. Gene Robinson as an invocator at the Sunday’s Lincoln Memorial extravaganza is getting some nice comments and hits, so I thought I’d add a few more details in there culled/stolen from various sources. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington is also among the packed list of star acts slated to perform that day on the steps of the revered monument. OK…so all the openly homosexual folks are not front and center at the actual inauguration next Tuesday but they will be allowed to surface Sunday afternoon.
According to the Washington Blade, the group asked for a spot in Tuesday’s program. Not much of chance of that, guys. But at least they asked, which may be why they’re on tap for Sunday. Ditto with Bishop Robinson who complained like the dickens about how offended he was when Rick Warren of Saddleback Church was asked to do the opening prayer next Tuesday.
I talked with Linda Douglass, spokeswoman for the inaugural planning committee, if the bishop’s complaints were what got him an invite to the Lincoln Memorial. She said no. Bishop Robinson, she added, “was chosen on merit. He was one of Barack Obama’s earliest public supporters. They were in touch during the campaign. He preaches a message of tolerance and inclusivity that he shares with president-elect.”
All of the people getting star roles in terms of inaugural prayers “are all preachers who welcome anyone into their congregations,” she added. “They are all diverse voices. There is certaily a message of loving your fellow man which is prominent in their sermons.”
In terms of other reaction out there, here is one of better blogs about the selection. Things will get really interesting when they announce the line-up of folks appearing at the National Prayer Service next Wednesday. Am betting prominent spots will be given to Muslims, Jews, Catholics and other groups who thus far have no one representing their constituencies at any of the inauguration events. But will there be folks on the list from, say, the Southern Baptists, who believe homosexual activity is a sin? Don’t hold your breath.
- Julia Duin, religion editor