I didn’t think much of missing Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson’s opening prayer at Sunday’s “We Are One” concert on the Lincoln Memorial. I just assumed that the Swedish station carrying it had picked up the feed a little late. (Swedish TV programmers are famous for their inattention to detail.)
But it turns out that folks watching in the U.S. didn’t see the Robinson invocation either, with a lot of them immediately suspicious that HBO, the only cable network airing the concert, had chosen to exclude it. While I hoped this wasn't the case, I actually found the public reaction somewhat gratifing. It seems my fellow Americans are *finally* willing to not only question the judgement/motivation of the media but to also ask for an explanation.
The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson
But it turns out HBO was not the bad guy. A spokesman for the network very quickly set the record straight (no pun intended) that the Obama transition team had designated Robinson’s prayer as part of the pre-show, and thus, not part of the broadcast. WTF?
Adding insult to injury, many people who were actually on the Mall report that the sound system failed just as Bishop Robinson stepped up to the podium, so most of the crowd didn’t hear him either. This just completely breaks my heart in addition to pissing me off…to the point that I can’t even express it properly.
Fortunately, other bloggers haven’t been so hobbled. Click here for some of the reaction from around the web. Audio of the actual prayer and an NPR interview with Bishop Robinson following the glitch is available here. He is a lot more gracious and forgiving than I could ever be.