Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Repeats of ‘We Are One’ Event Will Include Bishop, HBO Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Observer Update) - Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s invocation at Sunday’s (Jan. 18) “We Are One” inaugural event will be included in future repeats of the telecast on HBO, the premium cable channel, executives at the channel said Monday (Jan. 19). HBO was criticized for not televising the appearance by the Episcopal bishop, who is openly Gay, reported the New York Times.

It was the presidential inaugural committee, not HBO, who took responsibility for the perceived slight on Monday (Jan. 19), issuing a statement saying that it had always intended for the bishop’s invocation to be included in the telecast and that the omission was an oversight. The inaugural committee scheduled the opening event at the Lincoln Memorial, and HBO purchased the exclusive rights to broadcast it.

“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,” Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the inaugural committee, was quoted as saying.

Bishop Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly Gay bishop, was invited to deliver the invocation last week after Mr. Obama endured criticism for asking the Rev. Rick Warren, the megachurch pastor who opposes same-sex marriage, to deliver the invocation at the inauguration on Tuesday. Cathleen Falsani, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote on Monday: “Silencing the bishop’s voice was a great loss. Obama’s loss. Our loss.” Christianity Today posted a video clip of the invocation on YouTube.

The bishop’s invocation was delivered around 2:25 p.m. Eastern time, five minutes before the nationally televised portion of the event began. In an interview on National Public Radio Monday afternoon, the bishop said he had no idea why the event was scheduled that way. HBO broadcast the event live on Sunday afternoon and replayed it in the evening. It is scheduled to be rebroadcast on a sister channel, HBO2, on Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

The event is also available for replay viewing anytime on — without Bishop Robinson’s invocation for the moment, though the cable channel said it may be added to the version posted online as well as to the repeat broadcasts.

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