Just last week, over 60,000 college students gathered in the Georgia Dome for Passion 2013 a four-day conference where Jesus was worshiped and young people made a commitment to ending global slavery.
President Obama mentioned the efforts of Passion 2012 at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast talking about the impact of the students in the fight against human trafficking.
Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. Since 1995 under Giglio’s leadership the Passion Movement has hosted over one million college students at conferences like the recently concluded Passion 2013.
Giglio had been invited to give the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration later this month.
Then the protests came, not because Giglio is an evangelical. Not because he wants to end human trafficking.
But because back in the 1990s he addressed homosexuality in a sermon titled “In Search of a Standard — Christian Response to Homosexuality.” The sermon is available from the Discipleship Library.
Headlines are blasting across the country calling Giglio “anti-gay.”
It’s time the church stood up and called him “Biblically based.”
Today, because of the controversy, Giglio declined the invitation which leads us to wonder if evangelical, Biblically-based Christians are no longer welcomed by the Obama Administration.
So much for diversity.
On the Passion Church blog, Giglio released the letter he sent to the White House:
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 we need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.
Giglio acknowledges that the controversy over his appearance at the Inauguration might distract from his work in ending human trafficking.
He’s right. And that’s a shame.