The Rev. Louie Giglio will not be delivering the invocation at President Obama's inauguration after all. ABC News reports that he backed out of the ceremony over criticism of anti-gay remarks he made in the mid-1990s:
Rev. Louie Giglio, who had been announced as the pastor to give the invocation at the presidential inauguration, has now pulled himself out of the ceremony, after criticism of his previous anti-gay comments and actions, sources confirmed to ABC News.
Giglio, who is now Pastor at Passion City Church in Georgia and his role at Obama’s second inauguration was first announced Tuesday. But the liberal website Thinkprogress reported Wednesday on audio of Giglioi delivering a sermon in the mid-1990s in which he said homosexuality is a sin and advocated gay “recovery.”
ThinkProgress has posted this statement from the pastor:
I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.
Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.
Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.
Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.