My hope for enjoying the inauguration as an American and citizen of the world was lost when, openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation was not aired due to a “misunderstanding” between HBO and the Obama administration. The Obama inauguration committee apparently “mistakenly” advised HBO (the network with exclusive broadcast rights) that this very politically charged invocation by Robinson which was seen by many as Obama’s effort to include the gay community, was part of the pre-show and should not air. I was sick. I kept imagining how such a mistake could be made in the spirit of inclusion. Tuesday came and, having took the day off work for the inauguration, I sat myself in front of the TV to watch the event and hope for some sort of “apology” and recognition of all of us as part of this country. Instead, what I received was a message of equality and diversity, in Black and White.
By now you’ve all heard the controversy regarding Rick Warren’s invitation to deliver the invocation at the Presidential Inauguration. Many LGBT activists and their allies called the Obama administration out on his invitation to Warren. Warren, who compared gay marriage to pedophilia, incest and polygamy, did deliver the invocation. In true religious hypocracy, he said:
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.
I died a little inside and the inauguration – what was supposed to be the greatest moment in my life as it relates to the greatness of the United States was now nothing but meaningless sidebar. Warren, asking God to forgive when “we fail to treat our fellow human beings… with the respect that they deserve…” while he continually fails to treat a large segment of human beings with ANY respect, reminded me of the man who beats the hell out of his wife every night only to apologize the next morning – over and over again. Stop asking God to forgive you for your wrongs Mr. Warren and start doing something to earn forgiveness from those you are holding under the water.
I then spent the remainder of the inauguration thinking too much about how the statement “equality for all” was met with such great applause – how comments about the end of discrimination and segregation were met with such great fanfare – yet people are still suffering under the foot of those that rule. We build a wall against the Latinos, we profile the migrant worker, we bash gays and lesbians and disenfranchise our transgendered brothers and sisters – all the while we celebrate our great victory in the civil rights movement, a movement which is now being defined as “black and white” rather than “we the people.”
The following is what you didn’t see: