Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bishop Robinson's Prayer a No Show on HBO

Openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson gave the invocation prayer at the kick-off for the inauguration. It is a historic moment for the LGBT community, one that many of us tuned in to see.

HBO aired all the actors, musicians, and comedians, but failed to air Bishop Robinson's prayer.

Demand to know why.

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You may contact HBO's Consumer Affairs Department at 212-512-1208 Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

Below is a video and transcript of the Bishop's speech.

"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.



Anonymous said...

this is a disgrace! please use the link provided above to email HBO and tell them how you feel. i feel like s**t. i most of all wanted to see Robinson, as a tiny balance to the despicable rick warren. i think Robinson is a wonderful, truly spiritual man. HBS sucks.
j. davis

Bill Graber said...

He gave the prayer.... I was there... I saw it

Bill Graber said...

I am heading over to the HBO peeps now... let ya know what going on here.

Ed RosenBerg said...

I am incredibly disappointed.

I very much looked forward to seeing Bishop Robinson's prayer...but he was left out...excluded from the broadcast.


I will be contacting HBO as soon as I am finished posting here.

Unknown said...

President-Elect Obama in his stirring speech on the Mall stated " or straight..."
After being in awe at HBO's coverage of the celebration then learning of their squashing of the invocation by the archbishop, I can only say "Shame on HBO".

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just HBO. CNN & MSNBC & CSPAN were all covering the day's events and completely talked over the invocation with no mention of Bishop Robinson. Not to mention, the Obama & Biden families weren't even seated until after Bishop Robinson spoke. I sent emails to, HBO, CNN, & MSNBC. I'll be emailing the White House on Tuesday.

I thought it was ironic that in the concert they quoted an interview with Rosa Parks when she said about her decision not to move to the back of the bus: "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in." I think the LGBT community is tired of giving in. Raise your voices!

Queers United said...

anon - HBO & NPR had the exclusive taping rights, so whatever you saw on those other channels was borrowed footage.

I am emailing as well, I'd like an explanation.

Alice said...

Thank you soo much for posting his words. I am heartbroken that I did not see it -- I turned off CNN for HBO so I would not have to listen to the announcers -- and where was Gene? He is an amazing man, someone I have known since I was a child, and his eloquence was not given its due, either in the celebration or the broadcast. I emailed HBO, but it is also sad that the Obama and Biden families did not get the full benefit of his gaze and words. How sad.

Anonymous said...

Just more bullshit like he cared about us. Just more pretty words. I'm done with Obama. I've tried to forgive, tried to be hopeful. I'll be just voting for congressman and senator in 2012.

Anonymous said...

The other slap was that the DC Gay Men's Chorus was not given a graphic like the stars were. I am sure that most individuals did not know who was behind Josh Groban.

Peevish said...

Thank you for posting this. My mother--a life-long Episcopalian who did not go Anglican--and I turned on the TV specifically to see Bishop Robinson. We were very disappointed and not just with HBO. CNN, MSNBC, and even C-SPAN all chose to show pundits rather than prayers.

Lloyd Jason said...

I was at the national mall for the concert, about 1/2 a mile from the Lincoln Memorial, and the moment Gene Robinson took to the stage, the speakers went out. We couldn’t hear a word of the entire invocation. Of course minutes before when Elmo was on the jumbotrons speaking about unity, everything was fine. The moment the gay bishop takes to the stage suddenly there is technical issues. Of course when I get home I find out that HBO cut Gene Robinson from the footage. It’s really horrible and sad. I really don’t think it was a “day of unity” for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I've written HBO and told them that, owing to the gravity of this omission, they had better issue a satisfactory explanation and apology by Tuesday morning or I would call by cable provider and cancel HBO. And I will, too! I suggest that other queers do the same. I will also write to the White House the moment Obama is president and tell him he needs to try again to mend fences with his gay constituents, as his first effort was a total flop. I didn't know about the Gay Men's Chorus; that just adds insult to ... insult. Ironically, two of the major musical components were written by a gay national treasure, Aaron Copland--but who knows he was gay except other gays? As usual, the "we" included us only as long as we appeared straight in public. Bad show!

Anonymous said...

Here's what I sent to HBO:
I want to know why Bishop Gene Robinson's opening prayer was not included in the program you aired. Granted I'm not particularly religious but I AM a member of the LGBT community and I must protest the blatant shove to the back of the bus...
Oh, btw, I had to go to a friend's to see the program because I haven't paid for your programming in years. Now I know why.

Anonymous said...

Snubbed. There will be excuses, there always are. If HBO was going to telecast the whole show, that is what they should have done. It's almost like the Tonight Show or Letterman starting after the monologue. If Bishop Robinson was part of the program, then he should have been part of HBO's broadcast. One step forward, two back. Sorry to say, things are not going to change. Dogma's have hindered equality for centuries. Dogma is a prominent word when discussing equality.

If you get a chance, check out my YouTube on Equality:

Anonymous said...

I would definitely like to know why, and I will email them!

Anonymous said...

I really an not shocked... I am sure there was a real chat about it and we were tossed under the bus AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

Really? Is this some part of a vast conspiracy to hold the gays down, or is it a simple oversight? There's no evidence that this was done intentionally at all. People pay to watch HBO to be enterntained. They don't pay to watch people pray.

Anonymous said...

Stuff like this doesn't happen by "accident". This was orchestrated and people shouldn't look to HBO, this was planned by the OBAMA TEAM, from the cutting out of the mic locally to making sure only HBO had tv airing rights so it would be that much easier to technically have Gene on but then be able to say "Oops we guess HBO made an oversight, and all after we made sure that Gene could speak, sorry!" And it doesn't take a genius to guess that homophobe Rick Warren's invocation will be carried by ALL networks and have NO mic problems whatsoever. We queers really have to learn to become more collectively p**sed on a sustainable level and not let this crap slide anymore. We won't have equal rights or be treated equally unless we demand it. It's just so sad to see this day of equality so fully tainted.

Anonymous said...

No need to ask why.

No reason to complain.

HBO needs to be made an example of.

All people who truly believe in an inclusive society should call their cable or satellite company and cancel their HBO subscription.

If HBO wants to pander to bigotry then let it be the "HOMOPHOBIC BIGOTS ONLY" network.

Anonymous said...

I googled "Bishop Robinson video" and your blog was right near the top. Thank you for posting the video and his moved me to years and was really powerful. I was waiting to see his speech after hearing he would be included. I'm a straight, white female but his words spoke to me. They speak to all of us. It seems his exclusion was a direct contradiction of the whole message of the day. I feel like everyone watching from home truly missed out.

NorCal Gary said...

This is what I emailed to HBO.

I want to know why Bishop Gene Robinson's opening prayer was not included in the program you aired covering the Inauguration of President Obama. I must protest the blatant shove to the back of the bus for the LGBT community. Owing to the gravity of this omission,I expect a satisfactory apology and airing of the prayer by Tuesday or I will call by Surewest and cancel HBO Multiplex.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they even let people know that the Gay men's chorus was on stage singing with Josh Grobin and Heather Headly.

Anonymous said...

Blah, Blah, Blah, more blogging about how you've been wronged. Do something about it beside's whining.

T. R Xands said...

So any news on what actually happened? Poor Obama, the man can't even get through his inauguration ceremony. I think on this one I'm going to have to agree with Anon 1:20AM.

Ed RosenBerg said...

A thought for this moment:

The cry from our Gay Community...indeed, from all Americans should not be for inclusion, but full inclusion...not for an inclusive society, but a fully inclusive one.

Anonymous said...

As to the omission of the prayer, I would not blame Obama. After all, he has included the gays in many speeches and did so during the weekend. I would say it had more to do with HBO, but they regularly have controversial programming, so that is questionable also.

As to defining the choir, the only choir I remember being identified was the one that Tiger Woods introduced. The others were not identified either. I will say that on liberal blogs it was mentioned who they were and the bloggers were very supportive.

Anonymous said...

An impromtu kissin in front of some religious fanatics at the Obama Concert!

Anonymous said...

HBO blames the incident on the bigot who began his campaign with Donnie McClurkin, ended it with Warren and on the way torpedoed our effort to defeat prop 8 when he said "god's in the mix". Obama is his name.

I believe them.

Bill Perdue

Anonymous said...

Are you completely ignoring the fact that most Americans would have been appalled at the gay bishop's prayer? Obama and his team are not idiots, they wanted to distance themselves from all things LGBT. The exclusion was entirely intentional.

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