Bishop Gene Robinson got a surprise Monday when President Obama asked him to deliver the closing prayer at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast.
The now-retired Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, tweeted that the president’s request came “out of the blue.” His remarks weren’t caught on video, but he told MSNBC’s Alex Wagner last night, “I did what I always try to do when I say a prayer, which is to ask God’s blessing on all of God’s children worldwide. I asked a special blessing on this nation and our president and also … I always pray for the poor and the oppressed and the marginalized. I think God cares especially about them.”
He told Wagner, who was filling in for host Lawrence O’Donnell on The Last Word, that he was relieved there were no cameras on him during the prayer and that the “OMG” in his tweet was a request for divine assistance. His full tweet, accompanied by a picture of Obama at the event, read, “POTUS ‘preaches’ at the Easter prayer breakfast. Then, out of the blue, asks ME to close with prayer. OMG! #privilege.”
In the interview with Wagner, Robinson also discussed Pope Francis’s moves to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming, saying full equality for LGBT people in that church and other conservative Christian denominations has “taken on an air of inevitability.”
Watch the full interview below, and read more here about the prayer breakfast, in which Obama reflected on the weekend’s shootings at Jewish community facilities in Kansas.