On Jan. 9, the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) announced it has chosen Atlanta based Pastor Louie Giglio of the Passion City Church, to deliver the benediction for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration scheduled for Monday, Jan. 21.
Reports from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Jan. 10 explain strong criticism was thrown at Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration Committee as a result of one of Giglio's sermons from the 1990s, deemed to be very "anti-gay" in nature.
In reaction, the pastor declined the invitation to pray at the 57th Presidential Inauguration via a public statement on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Rumors surfaced Giglio engaged in an anti-gay scandal, specifically a very powerful anti-gay sermon in the 1990s. Pastor Giglio explained:
“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.”
What did Giglio say in his alleged anti-gay statements? Some of the main points from his mid-1990s were shared by Think Progress:
- Christians must fight against LGBT-equality
- Homosexuality is a sin
- People aren’t born gay — but even if they are, it’s still a choice like giving into alcoholism, addiction, and overeating
- Gay people are going to hell
- Gay people can become straight through Christianity
The Presidential Inauguration Committee agreed with his decision. They explained in a statement on Thursday, Jan. 10:
"We 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."
One of Pastor Giglio’s followers, Ruth Malhotra comments after learning her pastor has declined the President’s invitation:
“The message sent by homosexual activists who opposed Giglio’s participation in President Obama’s inauguration is clear: Unless you embrace, applaud, and advocate for the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage, your views, your voice, and even your work on behalf of the poor and suffering are not welcome in the public square,”
Sources: Think Progress, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Huffington Post
Want to listen to the sermon for yourself? Listen to it here on Think Progress.
No word yet on who will replace Pastor Louie Giglio for President Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.