Over the Inaugural Weekend, openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson found himself at the center of coverage and controversy after his opening invocation was left out of the initial broadcasts of the "We Are One" concert at the Lincoln Memorial. The next day HBO, who broadcast the event, and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, each blamed the other for the gaffe. The dispute was a terrible public relations moment for the Obama team and the President, who had already elicited a firestorm of recrimination for the decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the actual Inauguration invocation.
Well, if anyone was wondering how Robinson himself handled being at the middle of all this, they need only have watched his guest appearance on The Daily Show Tuesday night, where he exuded a steady grace, abundant hopefulness, and a measure of wickedly good humor to boot. Asked about how Obama's historic achievement might presage future civil rights advancements, Robinson said, "For every gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person, that dream for us is now in place, and all we have to do is the hard work to get there." Robinson struck a note of comity over Warren as well. "I greeted him, he was very kind to me," Robinson said. "And then just before we went out for the swearing in I let him know, and I was sincere, that I was praying for him."
But the key moment of the interview came early on, in this exchange:
STEWART: Washington DC was so crowded today, there was so many people. You as a Bishop are sort of doubly handicapped in that situation, only being able to move diagonally. How was that, negotiating the crowds.
ROBINSON: John, you have to remember, there's a queen on the board, as well.
There's nothing quite like a moment where a Daily Show guest one-ups the host where laughs are concerned. Gene Robinson FTW!