Gene Robinson, First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop, Spontaneously Invited To Lead Prayer At White House Easter Breakfast

04/15/2014 11:15 am ET | Updated Apr 15, 2014

The White House hosted faith leaders for the fifth annual Easter prayer breakfast on Monday, where President Obama remembered those killed in an attack on two Jewish centers in Kansas and urged Americans to stand together against "religious-based violence."

After the program was over, Bishop Gene Robinson was surprised and delighted to receive an impromptu invitation from the President to close the gathering with prayer. Robinson is the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, and he immediately tweeted about the unexpected honor.

Unfortunately Robinson's off-the-cuff remarks weren't caught on camera, but he joined MSNBC host Alex Wagner to discuss the moving moment. "I did what I always kind of do in prayer, which is to ask God's blessing on all of God's children, worldwide," he said. "I asked a special blessing on this nation and our President, and also, since you mentioned Pope Francis, I always pray for the poor, and the oppressed, and the marginalized. I think God cares especially about them."

Wagner asked him "How optimistic are you that the Catholic Church- and broadly the Christian Church in general- is getting closer to opening its doors truly and meaningfully to the LGBT community?"

Robinson replied, "I think it's taken on an air of inevitability. We see such change in the culture. President Obama's evolution on this topic is really a reflection of what has happened all across the nation, across every demographic group, and certainly among young people. They just don't know what the big deal is."

He added, "And I think we will see even the more conservative religious groups understand that the love that two people share, one for another, is of God. And the gender of those people is not the important thing, it's the love and the relationship."

According to Talking Points Memo, Robinson retired as the bishop of Diocese of New Hampshire in 2013, and is now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

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