The Obama team has just opened up a new front in their skirmishes with gay rights supporters over Obama’s decision to invite Rick Warren, the anti-gay megachurch preacher, to give the invocation at the inauguration tomorrow.
HBO says it was ordered by the Presidential Inaugural Committee not to broadcast the gay bishop’s prayer.
The latest incident occurred yesterday when HBO failed to broadcast an invocation delivered by openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson during pre-inaugural events at the Lincoln Memorial. Now HBO is claiming it was ordered not to broadcast Robinson’s prayer by the Presidential Inaugural Committee:
…HBO insisted in an email on Sunday night that it was not their decision to omit Robinson’s invocation, saying, “The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show.”
Pam Spaulding speaks for millions:
Remember, this was the supposed salve on the wound to the LGBT community for the upcoming high-profile appearance of Rick Warren at the actual inauguration on Tuesday, which will be seen by millions and will float out there on YouTube in perpetuity. I had no illusions that Robinson’s appearance would reach the same level of exposure as Warren’s, but damn — no broadcast of it at all? That’s just freaking rich.
The hasty addition of Bishop Robinson to the lineup a few weeks ago was also badly bungled, when an Obama staffer somehow managed to channel both Clintonian truthiness and Bush stubbornness in in one short statement:
An Obama source said: “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 itâ€™s just not so.”
Riiiiighhtt. Makes sense. Why would Obama want to appease homos he has just slapped in the face?
The addition of Robinson was quickly followed by word that Obama would dump the military’s Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy, a move that polls around 70 percent, and with the appointment, finally, of an openly gay person to a relatively high ranking position in the government.
At the core of the boondoggle are Rick Warren’s extremist views and associations. He is California’s most prominent gay rights opponent and an ardent supporter of one of the most hateful anti-gay bigots on the planet, African Anglican Bishop Peter Akinola.
Two years ago, Akinola officially endorsed laws in Nigeria that impose prison terms on gays who marry (five years for each spouse), as well as gays who openly associate in public and even on reporters who write about gay issues. Warren defended Akinola in a puff piece in Time Magazine — even going so far as to compare Akinola with Nelson Mandela.
More recently, Warren said there is no moral difference between gay marriage and pedophilia and incest.
There is debate about whether Obama’s gift to Rick Warren of 90 seconds with the whole world watching will be seen as a tacit endorsement of Warren’s anti-gay views. At the very least, Warren’s appearance tomorrow will be a indelible stain on the opening minutes of the Obama era — and the fact that America’s first African American president chose a notorious bigot to deliver a prayer at his inauguration will stand forever as a sadly ironic moment in presidential history.
Update: The Obama team has apologized for ordering HBO not to broadcast Gene Robinson’s prayer:
Presidential Inaugural Committee spokesman Josh Earnest issued this statement: “We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan – but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.”
HBO and Team Obama both doing make-goods! HBO will add the Robinson invocation to the replay of “We Are One” that will be broadcast to everyone on the Mall in Washington as they gather for the inauguration tomorrow. HBO confirms that the invocation will be added to ALL future telecasts of “We Are One” … except tonight’s because it’s just too late to get it in.