President Obama this morning asked retired openly-gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to give the closing prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast.
The President had invited 150 Christian leaders to the White House to kick off Holy Week.
Robinson, was who apparently surprised by the President’s request, announced the news via Twitter.
Robinson is famous for a brouhaha that happened during his election as Bishop, as he was both openly-gay and in a relationship with a man.
Robinson’s ordination led to a number of conservative American Episcopalians breaking with the US church and aligning themselves with the crazier, and anti-gay, factions of the Anglican church that tend to reside in Africa, though the head of the church in England is also a bit of a raving bigot.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican church, recently told a radio interviewer that Anglicans must discriminate against gays, lest gay-bashers get confused and think Anglicans are gay too.
I wrote about Welby last week:
In an interview on LBC radio, Welby said that if the Anglican church accepted gay marriage it would be “absolutely catastrophic” for Christians in Africa. Why? Welby explained that he had recently visited south Sudan where he saw 369 bodies in a grave. They were allegedly Christians who were killed because the locals feared that “if we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”
Welby, apparently swayed by the unassailable logic of bigots, suggested that the Sudanese Christians were killed because America is too pro-gay, or something.
He said this in response to a caller asking about the Anglicans embracing gay marriage: “The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic and we have to love them as much as the people who are here. I’ve stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who’d been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America. And they were attacked by other people because of that.”
Members of an English church were killed because some American states have finally legalized gay marriage? Really?
Welby’s conclusion was, therefore, that Anglicans need to be more anti-gay in order to convince potential future gay-bashers to skip Anglicans when choosing their victims.
So that’s the larger context here. It matters that President Obama is embracing an openly-gay Episcopal Bishop.