Reverend Louie Giglio has pulled out of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Giglio, an Atlanta-based pastor, had asked to do the benediction at the second-term inauguration, but withdrew after an anti-gay sermon he gave back in the 1990′s came to light.
During the sermon, Giglio preached against what he called the “aggressive agenda” of the LGBT rights movement. Giglio said in a statement that the controversy over the sermon would mean that his inaugural prayer would be “dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. 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.”
In the sermon entitled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” Giglio claims that those who sin are prevented from “entering the Kingdom of God” and that the “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus…We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me … it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.”
According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, they were “not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural.”
The PIC spokesman Addie Whisenant said that “Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”
In full, Giglio stated:
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.