Since the opening invocation by the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, was excluded from HBO's copyright coverage of the pre-Inaugural festivities on Sunday, here is what he said:
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. ...
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. ...
Whether you believe in God or not, the bishop's message is one worth pondering in a secular way. Replace "bless" with an internal exhortation of some sort, such as "Remember to have patience," "remember to be appropriately angry," "remember to be discomfited." Something else worth pondering is why the bishop's invocation was slated at a time when HBO wouldn't be broadcasting.
Contacted by the Web site AfterElton.com, an HBO spokesman e-mailed in reply:
"The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."
"We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan – but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event." -- PIC communications director Josh Earnest