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January 12, 2009

Gay Bishop, Woman Added to Obama's Inaugural Prayers

After choosing an evangelical pastor to deliver the invocation at his swearing-in, President-elect Barack Obama has chosen two progressive Protestant leaders – a woman and an openly gay bishop – to bookend his inaugural ceremonies.

"It reflects his commitment to pluralism," said Shaun Casey, an ethics professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington who advised Obama during the presidential campaign. "My advice is for folks to look at the full range of people invited (to deliver prayers) – the sum is larger than its parts."

Obama's pick of California megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 was heavily criticized by liberals, especially gay groups. Warren advocated for the passage of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California.

Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson was among the most vocal critics, saying that Obama's decision to invite Warren "was like a slap in the face."

Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, announced Monday (Jan. 12) that he's been invited to kick off the inaugural ceremonies on Sunday (Jan. 18) by delivering an invocation at a celebratory concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Rev. Sharon Watkins, the first woman elected to lead the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will preach at a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral that concludes the inaugural ceremonies. She will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at the traditional inaugural event, according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Obama's invitation "is an indication of the new president's commitment to being president of ALL the people," Robinson said in an e-mail to supporters. "I am humbled and overjoyed at this invitation, and it will be my great honor to be there representing the Episcopal Church, the people of New Hampshire, and all of us in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community."

Robinson endorsed Obama in August, 2007, and has remained an adviser to him, a spokesman told the Concord Monitor newspaper in New Hampshire.

"This is something the gay rights movement should focus on as much as the Warren pick," said prominent blogger Andrew Sullivan, "(that) Obama's understanding that American Christianity is not a monolith on the question of the sacredness of gay marriage."

Watkins, who was elected general minister and president of her 700,000- member denomination in 2005, serves on the board of the National Council of Churches and Sojourners, an anti-poverty ministry in Washington.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is closely aligned with the United Church of Christ, the denomination Obama joined when he became a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ nearly 20 years ago. Obama broke ties with Trinity, however, during the campaign, after controversial church sermons were broadcast.

Unlike the UCC, which endorses gay marriage, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) does not have a denominational policy on same-sex unions.

"I hope that my message will call us to believe in something bigger than ourselves and remind us to reach out to all of our neighbors to build communities of possibility," Watkins said.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a United Methodist and civil rights pioneer who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., will deliver the benediction at the swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Comments

God save the President!

Where's that handbasket? Jesus was not politically correct. That's why they THOUGHT they killed Him. They were wrong about that, too.

Spurgeon wrote "If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world's favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout 'Well done' to the Christian man." This stands in stark contrast with how much the world has embraced Obama.

Considering how much Obama has strayed from the teaching in the Bible, he fits the description provided by the apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy. Paul says "men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." Obama’s position on abortion, homosexuality and other issues (and his own mocking of the Bible), fits the description. And Pauls calls these people "evil men and impostors."

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What a shame to see how God is so easily policed out of public life in the name of the "common good." Obama is the president, not the pope, of the US. All of this talk about who gets to pray, etc., is civil religion. Robinson has already made it clear, his claim to "represent the Episcopal Church" notwithstanding, that his prayer will not be "Christian." Bishop of what? and of whom? I suspect Warren's prayer will not be much better, but only given a different spin than Robinson's - toward the "purpose driven" life. I have been Christian for 50 years and was taught that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. Is Obama open to this kind of faith?

There is a price to pay for those of you who call your selves Christians and do not follow the Word of God. There is no such thing as a gay or lesbian Christian. Jesus came to diliver us from sin. The truth is not in you when you try to make God out to be a lie. He destroyed the City of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the sin of sexual perversion.

This is not hate. This is the truth. God is truth and God is love. However, there are somethings that He requires of all of us. You have to change the same way all of us who call ourselves Christians do. It is only through the blood of Jesus and the forgiveness of sins that we are transformed and considered righteous in the eyes of God.

I know you don't believe that but your unbelief does not change God's Word. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. You will find out one day. Hope it won't be too late.


Friends

It is amazing to me how condemning we can be of others who do not see things the way we do! For those who care, even the Bible warns us about condemning others. The message of James in his Epistle declares 'mercy triumphs or judgment' and that God is so zealous for the spirit he has made to dwell in us that 'He gives even more grace'. (Js 4)

I don't know the heart of Bishop Robinson or Rich Warren or Present-elect Obama but I am willing to let God deal with each of them. However, I do have many friends who are godly & prayerful, who disagree politically or theologically with me and with them.

I believe that God is big enough to deal with us all. And He will have the last word about judgment without asking what you and I prefer. It is clear from Scripture that the Christian's obligation is NOT to judge others but 'to glorify God for his mercy' Rom 15, Js 4. Following God for believers is about showing 'good will' for others, especially our enemies. If we ask God, perhaps he will have mercy on all of us. Thank God for his mercies to us.

MP,

To say that there are no gay or lesbian Christians is a strong statement and in comparison would be to say that there are no lying Christians. Have you ever answered the phone and told someone that your mom or dad was not there when really they just didn't want to talk to the person calling? That's a lie right? James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. I didn't make it up. It's right there in the Bible. The truth is that we are all sinners saved by God's grace through Jesus. When I speed in my car, I have broken the laws of the land. Does this mean I am not a Christian? Absolutely not. However, I do have consequences for my actions as was the case with Sodom and Gomorrah (SP?) Jonah tried to hide from God. A sinner? Yes. A Christian? You bet! We as Christians will never... arrive. We will always be sinners saved by grace.


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Here is a video taped presentation that I gave at t he Martin Luther King library in Washington

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8V53D1w__Po
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPwuwlVBOV0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZejptOwMTzQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqcTgIAhrhc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7HPKcT_iwY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9iQfgiYAnw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3RzRS6tJDM

I totally agree with the person who says there are NO SUCH THING as a gay or lesbian christian. And yes some Christians do lie BUT it is not an everyday lifestyle. If you have been saved and were once gay or lesbian or whatever, God has set you free at that point. So to say that there are gay Christians just means that they are not truly followers of Christ, because homosexuality is anti christ and its a demon and it needs to be cast out. You don't give your life to Christ and then become gay! That will frustrate the grace of God. Don't conform to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of you mind. Its not judging. The man of God always speaks out against sin he does not condone it! And to say we are sinners saved by grace is biblically incorrect. Truly Christ died while we were yet sinners but after we accept him and receive the holy ghost in its fullness we no longer committ sin. If you commit sin you are the servant of sin. If you love God keep his commandments, that is what Jesus said.