And now the latest installment in “As Obama’s Faith World Turns”
President-Elect Barack Obama has chosen a controversial gay bishop to give the invocation this Sunday at the big inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial. Obama will be in attendance.
More from the Politico below and then get my analysis.
The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who became the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop in 2003 and last year entered into a civil union with his gay partner, will deliver the invocation for Sunday's kickoff inaugural event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with President-elect Obama in attendance. The event is free and open to the public. An Obama source: 'Robinson was in the plans before the complaints about Rick Warren. Many skeptics will read this as a direct reaction to the Warren criticism – but it's just not so.' Robinson has been referred to as 'the most controversial Christian in the world.' A Sewanee graduate!
So for those scoring at home we have the pro-life, pro-prop 8 Rick Warren performing the Inaugural invocation. We have a Reverend from a liberal leaning denomination delivering the prayer at the day after Inaugural prayer service. We have a social justice type pastor delivering the benediction at the Inauguration and now we have a gay bishop at one of the big Inaugural events. Can you say kumbaya with me? Click here to get in the mood.
Now all Obama needs is James Dobson and Jesse Jackson walking hand and hand down the Washington Mall singing, “We go Together” from the hit movie Grease. Click here for that.
My pastor scorecard shows three liberals to one conservative so far. OK, so Warren gets the big prize but Obama definitely seems to be reaching out to the left side of the faith spectrum.
If you line up ten Evangelicals on the street, my guess is that eight of them would say it doesn’t surprise them that Obama would choose an openly gay Bishop to deliver an invocation like this. But this cuts both ways to a degree. Obama took heat from the left on Warren and will no doubt take heat from the right on this pick. It’s a tough position for Obama to be in. He wants to reach out to all Americans but in the process he’s probably going to tick off a lot of people of faith. When you pick a controversial gay bishop that has been in the headlines for years and has come to symbolize gay rights (for some), it’s bound to get under the skin of conservative minded Evangelicals, many of whom may be ready to cut Obama some slack. But you don’t want to push their buttons if you’re interested in building a broader coalition. Same thing with Warren. Obama pushed some hot trigger buttons on the left.