The free “We Are One” Sunday concert on the Mall during the Inaugural weekend began with an opening prayer by Bishop Gene Robinson. I missed it live and on the HBO replay. My sister emailed the following message with the prayer text.

Millions of people heard Rev. Rick Warren deliver the Invocation at the inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama on Tuesday. As many of you know, Warren vocally supported the passage of Proposition 8 in California, which took away the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry. Fewer people saw the “We Are One” inaugural concert that took place at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday. And even if you followed on radio or watched it on tv, you would not have seen Bishop Gene Robinson’s opening prayer because HBO and NPR chose not to air it. As many of you know, Robinson is the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church.

According to updates, the Presidential Inaugural Committee miscommunicated the time Bishop Robinson was to appear on the program. His prayer will be included on future broadcasts according to HBO executives. Bishop Robinson took his place on stage at 2:20 pm. The start-time was 2:30. NPR hosted Bishop Robinson on “Talk of the Nation” the next day (1/19/09). As far as the Bishop is concerned, the broadcast omission is all “water under the dam.”

However, what you didn’t see on HBO “citizen media” via Christianity Today and YouTube made this video possible (Sunday, January 18, 2009)

Opening Inaugural Event
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC
January 18, 2009

Delivered by the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson:

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.


On another note (no pun intended), it appeared what you saw during the performance of the classcial quartet January 20th, was not what you heard. The performance was live for those within earshot; the broadcast was a recording.

But let me speak in their defense and from experience. Instruments made of wood and string instruments especially HATE COLD WEATHER. They are impossible to play in tune in cold or damp weather. The wood will crack. The strings might break. You will sound horrible. So, I’m not mad with these musicians. All water under the dam now.