On this date the RIGHT REVEREND GENE ROBINSON, the bishop of New Hampshire, and the first openly gay bishop of any denomination opened the inaugural festivities of Barack Obama’s presidency when he gave the opening prayer at the Lincoln Monument. HBO, which had paid for exclusive rights to the event did not broadcast Bishop Robinson’s prayer. So those watching the event live or later in replay would never have known it had occurred. Curiously, National Public Radio chose not to air the prayer live either. Of course in light of recent political developments this seems like small potatoes. But it was an issue at the time.
There was no record of Bishop Robinson or his prayer in images placed on the sites of Getty Images, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Very curious indeed.
After some lame excuses HBO later aired a complete version of the afternoon’s proceedings with Bishop Robinson’s prayer included. No good excuse was ever given by the inaugural committee. On an added note the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington also performed at the event but there was no chyron to identify the group performing (perhaps to not upset any viewers out there). A disappointing day of sorts.
In April 2009, Robinson made the OUT magazine Third Annual Power 50 list of the most influential gay men and women in the USA, landing at number 7.
In August 2009, Gene Robinson was a key speaker at the 2009 Greenbelt Festival, held in Gloucestershire, England. Here he delivered three talks, each garnering an attendance in the thousands, based not only on his views of Christianity and homosexuality, but also on human sexuality in general and the rights of LGBT members of society. The three talks were entitled “Homosexuality: What the Bible Says & Why It Matters“, “Keeping your cool in the eye of the storm” and “Sexuality and spirituality: keeping them together”. As well as these three talks, Gene Robinson made a big impact on some gay and lesbian festival-goers by leading them collectively in prayer on the second night of the festival as part of a small group. Robinson has retired and his latest book God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage.