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Pastor chosen for Obama’s inaugural benediction anti-gay?

Pastor chosen for Obama’s inaugural benediction anti-gay?

Yesterday, Episcopal Cafe focused on the announcement that the widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers would deliver the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration.

The same Washington Post article also announced the plan to have conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio give the benediction:

An inaugural official said Giglio was picked for the benediction in part because of his work raising awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Those were core issues at his most recent conference, Passion 2013, attended by more than 60,000 mostly young evangelicals in Atlanta.

Think Progress today has raised serious reservations with Giglio:

In a mid-1990s sermon identified as Giglio’s, available online on a Christian training website, he preached rabidly anti-LGBT views. The 54-minute sermon, entitled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” advocates for dangerous “ex-gay” therapy for gay and lesbian people, references a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impels Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” and prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming accepted in society.

Quoted excerpts, along with the audio of the entire sermon, are found in the Think Progress article.

Box Turtle Bulletin suggests that this might be the worst of the excerpts from the sermon:

[The homosexual] movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family.

If this represents Giglio’s current views, Box Turtle Bulletin is correct in suggestion that this is:

…a reversion to the kinds actions which angered the LGBT community ahead of Obama’s first inaugural ceremony, when Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren was selected to deliver the invocation. The selection was announced just a day after comparing consensual, loving same-sex relationships to polygamy, incest and child rape. The inauguration committee tried to mollify the anger by asking openly gay Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson to give the invocation for a inauguration-eve concert at the Lincoln Memorial, only to have his prayers cut from the live broadcast.


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barbara snyder

I don’t really think “objecting to Louie Giglio giving the Inaugural Benediction” is in any way equivalent to his “being silenced.” Nobody has the “right” to give the Inaugural Benediction, after all – and he’s still free to say what he likes.

I also can’t see what it has to do with politics; people object what they see as his harmful actions and advocacy – not to his political affiliation.

Ann Fontaine

It also makes me wonder if a blessing asked by this person is less a blessing – ala Donatist heresy.

Benedict Varnum

As I wrote on the facebook announcement mentioning this topic, I’m a bit struck by the backlash to this man being asked to give the benediction. I happen to disagree with this pastor’s stated views, and I think he’s got bad theology; I’m less convinced that his public voice in our democracy should be silenced, or that an event that enacts the public life of our entire nation should only be peopled by the “party that won.”

Allowing a conservative theologian to pronounce God’s blessing at the end of the presidential inauguration is interesting political theater, and it might give a news-cycle moment of flare-up if the man DOES choose to use that national pulpit to say something about issues of gay marriage in the US. But it’s significantly less than appointing him something like Secretary of Marriage Rights.

As usual, I think it’s also sobering to consider what feelings might be if the shoe were on the other foot: had Mitt Romney won the election, and chosen to invite a pro-LGBTQ pastor to offer a blessing at the inauguration, then surely LGBTQ advocates would appreciate the olive branch while still understanding that it didn’t represent a change in the president’s position on the matter.

Dan Hutchinson

A petition has just been started on the White House “We the People” site, asking that this pastor not deliver the benediction at the Inauguration. It may be the quickest way to register outrage, and can be linked to your Facebook page to urge friends and family to sign the petition.

Dan Hutchinson


I was dreading that this shoe would drop. Unfortunately, you can’t see the phrase “conservative evangelical pastor” w/o suspecting that it will.

JC Fisher

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