A controversy is brewing over HBO's decision not to air the invocation by Bishop V. Gene Robinson at Sunday's big concert at the Lincoln Memorial. The openly gay bishop called on God to "bless us with anger - at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people," the Boston Globe's religion blog reported.
Media critic Aaron Barnhart says the apparent snub of Robinson appears more widespread than HBO:
Nor did Robinson's picture find its way into NPR's gallery of images from the concert. Admittedly, the news division did not cover the event -- NPR Music did -- but the website certainly is the domain of NPR News. A search of Getty Images, NYTimes.com and WaPo slide shows turned up nothing. In short, I found no visual evidence that an invocation was ever said.
Suddenly, Barack Obama's minister friends aren't news?
Robinson, a supporter of Obama, was given the concert role after criticism mounted against Obama's choice of pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration on Tuesday. The two will never be confused for one another.
A "technical glitch," is reponsible, according to Religious Intelligence, which doesn't appear to buy the explanation:
Concert-goers reported that while Bishop Robinson could be seen on the "Jumbotron" viewer, he could not be heard by the crowd --- estimated at 750,000 by organizers. One person present told ReligiousIntelligence.com that the HBO logo did not appear on the jumbotron until after Bishop Robinson's prayer was concluded --- apparently indicating the prayer as a pre-concert event. Those close to the front of the podium, including a reporter for Christianity Today, reported the sound system was working around the stage --- and privately recorded videos of the invocation were taken, showing that Bishop Robinson did indeed appear that day.
Messages to NPR's ombudsman have not yet been returned. NPR.org, coincidentally, is currently featuring a profile of Rick Warren.
Update: Robinson was on NPR's Talk of the Nation on Monday.
Thanks so much, Bob. Talk O' the Nation has had Gene on for more than 1/2 hour so they are doing some mea culpa now.
I can't comment on the sound system problem, and, I think HBO wanted Entertainment and the prayer was not entertainment.
BUT I think NPR should have broadcast the prayer. They were there. They could have done it. What's their excuse? If the HBO broadcast started at the half hour and Gene's prayer happened 12 minutes before than, then NPR should have run the prayer.
It's a nice prayer.
I will just add that HBO was running a movie just prior to the program. Between I would guess, 1:10 and 1:30, HBO ran nothing but commercials for their upcoming shows. Almost as if they had originally left space for the invocation.
We are regular npr/mpr listners and this comment is related to Neal's interview with Bishop Robinson.
Being civil right minded Episcopalians, we anxiously tuned into HBO to hear Bishop Gene Robinson's awaited invocation at the beginning of the Sunday Obama celebration, but thought we must have just missed it, which we did, along with several million others.
We, along with several other Americans, want our nation to move forward with an honest commitment to protect and defend all of our civil rights. The seeming omission of the broadcast of Bishop Robinson's invocation was ashameful oversight that must be addressed in some overt way as soon as possible. Denying or failing to acknowledge our fellow GLBT citizens their voice or civil rights is not compassionate nor constitutionally okay. Let's get with it America, HBO, and npr, quit making excuses and make absolutely certain going forward during Obama's administration everyone receives access to their civil rights.
Emily Waymire, MN
It is not just a gay issue as Emily points out previously! thank you Emily!Here is the #202-651-2009 The exclusion of the LGBTQ community along with the ones who do not have media accesses,The poor the elderly others in different parts of the world, who I'm sure they meant to include also?The thing about this is don't we the people own this event ?Aren't we paying for it along with the bail out?So with that thought in mind give us back our footage HBO or allow for full broadcast across the net works or put bishop Robinson on tuesday "Obama team" or cut Warren on tuesday? resolve thi conflict please! A shout out to all who say to LGBTQ to"Stop nit picking" Along with other comments,Inclusion is about safety and It's about civil rights, It's about not being killed because people are intolerant of you and pass moral judgment! And its not just against LGBTQ people but any one mistaken as a LGBTQ person! Your privilege is blaring its ignorance when you make lite or forget to include Mebers of any community!!Lets be clear Rev Warren is not up on womans rights either and we are 52 percent of the population!!!Call Call Call! call #202-651-2009
HBO- NPR- I support you both and am ashamed of you both today for eliminating Bishop Robinson's invocation. It was discriminatory and rude. I question support of either of your organizations going forward.
The invocation wasn't on C-Span either. Who made the decision? I doubt that it was HBO or C-Span. Whoever decided not to broadcast Gene Robinson's beautiful prayer should be ashamed, very ashamed, and should be outed for such a stupid, nasty, mean, decision!