+Gene Robinson’s Prayer for President-elect Barack Obama


A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama

(Also available on You Tube).

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire

Opening Inaugural Event

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

January 18, 2009

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.


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Ref Peter MacInnis' comment above.

Peter may have taken his heart out of the safe.

I volunteered hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to Obama.

Only to be vilified by Warren. I let my heart have hope again with Bishop Robinson, and went to the Mall to take part in the joy, only to have his prayer censored.

I think I'd best put my heart back in the safe.

(editor's note: Thanks, Tom. We need a full name next time.)

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Daniel writes:

"Eastern religions don't have even a faintest idea of support for it [homosexuality]"

Absolute nonsense.

First of all, most Eastern religions today have been reformed to the point that they are no longer "organized religions" in the Judeo-Christian or Islamic sense of the term but spiritual philosophies that tend to be universalistic and pluralistic, accepting all people. In addition, the Eastern religions simply aren't moralistic and obsessed with sin the way the Abrahamic traditions are. In "Homosexuality and World Religions" Arvind Sharma points out that in early Vedic India, a "third sex" was legitimately recognized and tolerated, which basically maps to modern-day LGBT people.

You will be surprised to know that most of the major Hindu spiritual teachers in the 20th century barely batted an eyelash when initiating gay devotees into their spiritual orders. Famous gay people like Edward Carpenter, Christopher Isherwood, E. M. Forster, and Alain Danielou were accepted by their Hindu spiritual teachers. For an account of Isherwood's relationship with his guru (including frank discussions of his guru's attitude to his homosexuality), read "My Guru and his Disciple" by Isherwood.

Here is a Vaishnava Hindu perspective on LGBT issues:


Daniel, please study the Eastern religions before claiming to know anything about them.

(editor's note: Ned, we need your full name next time.)

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Jim Naughton

Daniel, Buddhists don't consider Buddah to be God. That Gene chose to give a prayer that could speak to people who did not share his faith is not in any way a reflection of the depth of that faith.

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Daniel Ham
Daniel Ham

Is Gene Robinson a Christian? 'God of many understanding'? It's given me a confusion and doubt about his Christian confession. I always see a Buddhist monk calls his god "Buddah" with pride, an Imam respectfully invokes "Allah", and so on and so forth, but this Bishop dares not to call his God "Jesus" or "Jehovah". So why bother to conclude the shallow, meaningless prayer with "Amen" even though it is veneered with beautiful words and lofty concepts? Gene contradicts himself since he invoques god of many understanding but doesn't stick to it. Why? because my god doesn't use "Amen", and a lot of gods don't either. What an insult and laughing stock to other religions. I can't help to think about a coward at best, and an obvious Judas in modern day Christianity. You need to have a backbone and identity. Unfortunately, this bishop has neither. Too much for honesty that a man in such a position shows. This has nothing to do with gay/lesbian issue, don't quickly jump to attack me. I just want to raise a question. It seems funny lately to see Christians behave. Some of them, even on this site, quick to criticize/condemn Rick Warren since he says what he means and he is proud of being a Christian. At least, I respect him because of that. Out of curiosity, I check Christian bible and found out lots of verses clearly saying something about how Christian God considers homosexual as 'abomination', 'shameful acts' and 'sin' with severe consequences, having said that these lead me to questioning how Gene and the likes read their bibles, or do they have different bibles? how they deal with their own god that they proclaim every Sunday? do Christians have different Jesus? that's unthinkable. As said, I respect Rick because he reflects and faithfully shares with other people what he is taught from his God. Why people readily put a big hat of 'bigotry','intolerance' on him? just FYI, Islam also condemns homosexual and Eastern religions don't have even a faintest idea of support for it. I wonder if those people who condemns Rick and the likes as 'intolerance', can they show that they are 'tolerant'? obviously not. They are even worse, since they don't live up to what they preach. Back to this shallow, funny prayer, shame on you Gene, you reflects nothing, and I don't know your god at all, at least I know and proud of my god, you have shown no clue of who and what you have boasted that you worship.

Daniel Pham

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Jim Naughton

We've got a number of fresh items on this fast-moving story up-blog at:


The Obama camp is doing what it can to make this right.

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