Anti-Gay Minister Out of Presidential Inaugural

BTL Staff Report

MSNBC reported Thursday that Rev. Louie Giglio, an Atlanta minister and founder of the Passion Conferences, has withdrawn from President Obama's Jan. 21 inauguration because of anti-gay comments he made in the past.

"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," Giglio said. "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," said Giglio in a statement to the press that also said staying in would not best serve his core message.

Giglio was scheduled to deliver the benediction at Obama's second inaugural. However, ThinkProgress discovered anti-gay remarks Giglio made in a mid-1990s sermon entitled "In Search of a Standard--Christian Response to Homosexuality." Giglio urged Christians to fight the "aggressive agenda" of the gay rights movement and advocated "the healing power of Jesus" as "the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle."

The Presidential Inaugural Committee put out a statement saying, "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," Addie Whisenant, a spokesperson for the committee, said. "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."

"It was the right decision," Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign wrote in an email Thursday. "Participants in the Inaugural festivities should unite rather than divide. Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his Inaugural."

In 2009, Obama chose Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation, drawing outcry from some on the left because of Warren's opposition to same-sex marriage.

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