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Homosexual bishop to pray for Obama

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Prayer became an even more polarizing facet of Barack Obama’s inauguration with the Jan. 12 news that the Episcopal Church’s controversial homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, will lead an inauguration-related prayer event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Jan. 18.

Prayer first became a hot topic for Obama when he selected Rick Warren, a pro-life, pro-family California pastor to deliver the inaugural prayer Jan. 20.

Obama supporters heatedly denounced the choice of Warren, who hosted Obama and his Republican opponent, John McCain, for a question-and-answer forum during the 2008 campaign. Homosexual rights groups, which overwhelmingly backed Obama, objected to Warren’s outspoken support of Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative in which California voters upended the state Supreme Court’s embrace of same-sex “marriage.” Robinson was among these critics, calling Obama’s choice of Warren a slap in the face, according to a Reuters report Jan. 12.

The news of Robinson’s role at the Lincoln Memorial prayer event, where Obama will be in attendance, sparked a testy reaction from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to unite Americans, and yet he chooses the most polarizing person in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Gene Robinson, to offer a prayer at one of his inaugural events,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement. “Robinson, who dumped his wife and children to live with another man, is not just an embarrassment to rank-and-file Episcopalians, he has a record of offending Catholics, as well.”

Donohue complained, for example, that Robinson led a retreat for gay Catholic priests three years ago, quoting the Episcopal bishop as telling them ‘that if you work for the ordination of women in your church, you will go a long way toward opening the door for the acceptance of gay priests.'”

Also scheduled in prayer roles in conjunction with Obama’s inauguration are Sharon Watkins, president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and an active member of the National Council of Churches governing board, who will preach at the National Prayer Service in the National Cathedral on Jan. 21, and Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr. and others in 1957, delivering the inaugural benediction.

David Brody, senior national correspondent for CBN News and a frequent commentator on CNN, wrote on his blog, “The Brody File,” Jan. 12, “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?”
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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