The Atlanta-based Passion City Church Pastor Rev. Louie Giglio has declined today to deliver benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration due to controversy over Pastor’s past support for conversion therapy and negative remarks about homosexuality.
The news of Giglio’s involvement in the January 21 inauguration broke on Tuesday, but shortly after that an audio and transcript of a sermon from the mid 1990’s surfaced online. In it, Giglio urges Christians to stand against homosexuality “lovingly but firmly.”
In the same sermon, while comparing homosexuality to alcoholism or addictive over-eating, Giglio voices his support for the reparative or conversion therapy - counseling sessions meant to rid an individual of homosexual tendencies.
ABC News first reported that Giglio backed out of the celebration earlier today, but as of 3.30 p.m. ET the White House has not released a statement.
The Passion City Church is mostly attended by Atlanta college-age youth. Just last week, the church hosted the Passion 2013 Conference at Georgia Dome, with 60,000 young people from across the world in attendance. Giglio, along with Jeff Lewis, founded the annual event in 1997.
This year’s four-day conference raised $3.3 million towards the fight against human-trafficking and sex-trade.