Monday, January 19, 2009

Bishop Gene Robinson's Elegant Prayer For Obama Censored By... HBO? Obama?


Yesterday HBO-- not understanding what "family friendly means-- decided to censor Bishop Gene Robinson's invocation at the "We are The One" pre-inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial. The "gay" Bishop was rushed onto the schedule after the huge expression of outrage from progressives when Obama made the politically expedient decision to have bigoted pop-preacher Rick Warren deliver the big invocation tomorrow. I'm betting Warren's address isn't likely to be nearly as meaningful or stirring as the one by Robinson that HBO decided not to air. (By the way HBO claims the decision to censor wasn't their own but was made by the Inauguration Committee, a lame excuse even if it's true. And Obama says he intended for Robinson to be broadcast.)

Since its one of the best pray-type things I've ever heard and since HBO decided not to show it, I figured we'd reprint it in its entirety here at DWT and show the video as well:
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.



It clearly wasn't HBO's decision, because the event schedule called for the invocation to be delivered at 2:25 and the telecast to begin at 2:30, and HBO clearly didn't control the event schedule.

It's also way worse than just the invocation being somehow missed. The Obamas and Bidens didn't enter until the start of the telecast, which means that somebody scheduled for the invocation to be given before the guests of honor were present -- and before the TV cameras were rolling.

And note that the Obama camp statement doesn't even blame HBO. It merely regrets the error in executing their plan.

My guess: Some of the high-up "concept" folks in the Obama team took it for granted that Bishop Robinson's invocation would be telecast; why else invite him? But at some point in the back-and-forth between the "get it done" people on the Obama team and HBO, confronting a rigid two-hour broadcast time limit, it was suggested that with all that wonderful music to pack in, nobody wants to watch some old windbag bishop, do they? And to the people at that level, I'm guessing it really didn't make any difference.

What's shocking is that apparently nobody higher up in the PIC ever checked the schedule, which everyone involved had to have had. Somehow, nobody even noticed that the First and Second Family weren't scheduled to make their entrance until after the old windbag bishop had been hustled safely out of microphone range.

Great work, team! It's going to be an interesting four years. -- Ken

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At 12:27 PM, Blogger woid said...

A lot of people are laying the blame for this on HBO, but I don't think it's their fault.

The show came on at 11:30 (Pacific) on the dot, which must have been just after Bishop Robinson's invocation. That wasn't HBO's decision — it would have been whoever scheduled the event, namely the Inaugural Committee. So people there would be the ones to blame.

Putting the blame on Obama himself is also a stretch, unless there's some evidence that he okayed the decision.

So yes, it's a rotten thing, but one that's not so easy to find a scapegoat for.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger libhom said...

Obama did it. We need to face the fact that he is a homophobe.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beautiful, healing words from this very important Gay Icon could have done so much goo -- if only the millions who watched the broadcast could have seen and heard it. That is the tragedy.

Snark is not appreciated on this thread by this LGBT-centric person. imho

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Koshem Bos said...

Change! Robinson was treated as in the past; he was sent to the closet. Change!

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work for HBO -

This was a misunderstanding on the part of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, not HBO. They already issued a statement acknowledging the issue, although they were not all that clear.

To put it simply - HBO had a licensed timeslot to broadcast the official Inaugural Celebration - from 2:30pm eastern until 4:30. Rev. Robinson went on at about 2:25pm - which was considered part of the pre-show not on HBO.

HOWEVER, we are concerned about the issue and are working with the Inaugural Committee to re-broadcast the celebration to include the beautiful speech.

The first Re-broadcast will be TOMORROW 1/21 at 11:30pm on HBO2. Additional times are being configured.

For those that don't have HBO...we will be offering it on, as well as youtube.

There it is - straight from the source. I'll try and come back to this post later today and answer any specific questions!


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