Monday, January 19, 2009

Hear My Prayer

Updated at bottom.

We had intended to declare Roxie's World a snark-free zone today, out of respect to those of our readers who are in the mood simply to savor the long-awaited end of the Shrub presidency and the much-ballyhooed beginning of the Obama Era. We were prepared to shift into a HOPE-ful, even sentimental mode after watching bits and pieces of yesterday's inaugural celebration and realizing that, at a bare minimum, it will be very nice to have people in the White House whose taste in music comes pretty close to our own and whose unselfconscious response to any song is to smile, sing along, and move their bodies in time to it. Trust me, you would have loved the post we were planning to write.

But then my typist clicked over to Pam's House Blend for her morning cup of something strong and black and learned why we hadn't managed to catch openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson's invocation on HBO's broadcast of the festivities. According to AfterElton (by way of Pam), HBO didn't broadcast the prayer because the Presidential Inaugural Committee decided the invocation was part of the "pre-show." AfterElton explains:
Uncertain as to whether or not that meant that HBO was contractually prevented from airing the pre-show, we followed up, but none of the spokespeople available Sunday night could answer that question with absolute certainty. However, it does seem that the network's position is that they had nothing to do with the decision.
In other words, the buck stops with the same dimwits who decided open, active homophobe Rick Warren would be a swell invocation speaker for the inauguration itself.

In other words, queers are fine for the unseen warm-up act, but the play itself -- on the main stage, under the big top, through the front door -- is reserved for those who hate queers in the name of the little lord Jeebus. Awesome, dudes. Way to progress! Hey, could I by any chance borrow that snazzy Obama sweatshirt of yours? It's kinda chilly here in the back of the bus.

Perhaps Dan Savage (again by way of Pam) says it best, apropos of Robinson having been included to appease the LGBT community for the Warren kick in the teeth and then rendered for all intents and purposes invisible:
When you're throwing folks a bone it's a good idea to make sure they can, you know, see the bone.
Indeed. For a visual representation of reaction here in Roxie's World, we refer you back to this extremely clever post.

Wanna hear the prayer the Obanauts decided not to show you? Here 'tis, courtesy of Sarah Pulliam at Christianity Today:

Sigh. Maybe they didn't like the part about the new president being a human being and not a messiah. That news still hasn't gotten out to many parts of Obamerica, and perhaps the Powers About to Be prefer to keep it that way.

Anyway, we sincerely apologize to those of our readers who are trying to sustain a pre-inaugural buzz. We had no intention of interfering with your happy dancing, but our blogger's duty to tell as much of the truth as we happen to notice on any given day required us to report that the president-elect continues to be tone-deaf when it comes to the LGBT community. Just to show you that we haven't lost HOPE for the era of CHANGE that is finally, fer dog's sake, about to begin, we will end with another snippet from We Are One (without any cynical questions about the nature of the "one" that "we" "are"), the rousing performance of "This Land Is Your Land" by Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger that closed the show. Our prayer for a nation battered by eight years of official deception, destruction, and abuse of power is that the incoming administration will walk with some humility and bear in mind the deeply democratic dream that impels this song. It is a dream of collective agency, shared ownership, and profound responsibility to all who dwell here. Please, Mr. President-Elect, hear this prayer:

[Update: Apparently, HBO didn't get the memo about shared ownership. The network is asserting copyright claim to video of the inaugural celebration and has taken a bunch of stuff down off the YouTubes, including "This Land Is Your Land." Got that, kids? Nothing of value really belongs to "you and me" after all. Meanwhile, HRC continues its shameless shilling for Team Obama, posting on its web site a statement from the Presidential Inaugural Committee claiming it had "intended and planned" to include Bishop Robinson's prayer on the broadcast but that somehow there was an (unspecified) "error in executing this plan." Thanks for clearing that up, guys!]

[Updated again: Found another version. Let's hope this one lasts.]


  1. AMEN, Rox! It is chilly here in the back of the bus, and "our" means EVERYBODY. I seriously doubt they'll censor Warren tomorrow. He'll be broadcast to 100s of millions. Thanks for putting up both Robinson's prayer and the prayerful song.

    Your own Goose (aka your own Emma Peel)

  2. Color me unsurprised.

  3. Oh give me a break with the PIC's "excuse." If they really wanted Robinson's prayer to appear, they would have made sure that he was scheduled in order to appear. How stupid do they think we are. And I was about to renew my membership in HRC, but if they're not going to hold the PIC accountable for this, then they're the same group that supported Alfonse D'Amato over Chuck Schumer in 1998? HRC the organization needs to have courage and they could take a cue from HRC the outstanding stateswoman.

  4. Anonymous11:35 PM EST

    I'm too naive--I am surprised--and outraged. Somebody definitely has some 'splainin to do.

    But what's interesting is that Christianity Today--Christianity frickin' Today!--has made the prayer available, and that so many of the comments on the CT site about the prayer itself are positive and so many about its deletion are negative. (Goose does not need me to tell her how very interesting that response from CT readers--and from CT itself--is.)

    Folks, these are Rick Warren's (no peace be upon him!) natural allies and followers. And they think Robinson's prayer should have been presented as part of the HBO broadcast. I have no idea--are they disturbed that a prayer, any prayer, was apparently censored? Or are things changing in the evangelical camp? (Yeah, I'm a cockeyed optimist. So sue me.)

  5. Well, Goose thinks that Christianity Today is just discovering a significant part of its audience that's ALWAYS been there. The Reagan Era and the shrill force of Jerry Falwell & Co made people think that fundamentalists are all about hatred and a cramped way of thinking. But in spite of my ex-father-in-law and the Rick Warrens, there have always been fundamentalists like my parents who wanted to open up to everyone (well, opening up to their children was a bit more complicated, but then that is not unusual in parent-child relations). As in everything I can think of, there is cramped Christianity and Christianity that is more open, accepting, more flexible in its knowledges (as our friend Katie would probably say). Trouble is one often looks like the other and it's difficult sorting it out. We'll just have to see how CT deals with its audiences and its audiences with a much more accepting view of queerness from the pages of CT.

    I wish this man had never put us in this position so that we're discussing this and not how to deal with the economic crises that loom, ready to engulf us all. Has distraction become THE way of "governing"? What can we, the citizens, do to push us beyond this spinning our political wheels?


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