So, as I wrote below, the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, whose invitation to pray at yesterday's opening celebration was suddenly remembered after the Warren kerfuffle broke loose, didn't make the cut for HBO's broadcast. This was per the request of the Obama camp. And, despite my rather glib take below, my mood is steadily souring the more I think about it.

I genuinely want to believe the very best of Obama. I am sincerely moved and grateful when he makes mention of gay people in inclusive language, as he did yesterday. I am trying very hard to fight the assumption that the Obama team just didn't feel like taking the (small, in my estimation) risk of being associated with so controversial a figure as Gene Robinson. But I am finding it hard to come up with a good explanation for why it was requested that HBO not include Robinson's prayer in its coverage.

And I think an explanation is due. So, apparently, do a lot of other people. I don't want to rain on the parade, but would someone tell me what the point was of inviting the most prominent gay member of the clergy in the country to pray, in a move that smacks of damage control, only to make it look like he was snubbed?

Update: I don't know if it will make any difference, but apparently they're going to rebroadcast the concert on big screens at the Mall before the Inauguration, and the rebroadcast will include the prayer. Is any of this significant? I don't know. But it still doesn't make me particularly happy.

Update 2: The Inaugural Committee's response:

“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
Weak. So, let us assume that we should be giving them the benefit of the doubt, and that Robinson's exclusion was an error. It only makes it seem even more like his opening prayer was a tacked-on panacea for gays angered by the Warren pick.

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