Farewell, Louie Giglio?
What the controversy following Obama's selection of the pastor to pray at the second inaugural says about the gap between gays and evangelicals.

This week the White House announced that Louie Giglio would offer the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration. Giglio isn't a stranger to Obama or official White House events. Last year he prayed with the President at the White House Easter Prayer Breakfast which I attended. At the time no one raised any objection to Giglio's participation either in the media, or at the event which included those with more progressive views on the issue of gay rights.

That is no longer the case. It seems that after the inauguration committee announced Giglio's role, the Center for American Progress Action Fund discovered a sermon by Giglio from the 1990s titled "In Search of a Standard–Christian Response to Homosexuality." In the message Giglio identifies homosexual activity as "sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin in the word of God." He warned that the movement to normalize homosexuality "is not a benevolent movement," and added, "It is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to point where the homosexual lifestyle become accepted as a norm in our society." (The full sermon can he heard here.)

If you recall, President Obama provoked the anger of some gay rights advocates by selecting Rick Warren to pray at his first inaugural. Warren had supported Proposition 8 in California which sought to ban same-sex marriage in the state. By selecting Louie Giglio this time, some in Obama's coalition of supports are saying he failed to learn from the backlash four years ago.

Attacks on Giglio have already begun. John Avarosis, who writes for Americablog, a site the covers LGBT issues, said, "You'd think that once burned, the Obama inaugural team would be twice shy about picking an antigay bigot for the swearing-in ceremony. Well, meet Rick Warren-lite, Pastor Louie Giglio."

Other gay rights activists are postponing judgment. Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, said, "It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on L.G.B.T. people at a moment when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues."

Obama's inauguration committee said Giglio was selected, in part, because he is a leader within evangelicalism on the issue of human trafficking and modern day slavery. He has organized the Passion Conference to tackle this problem and brought awareness to the church of the importance of freeing the oppressed.

January 10, 2013

Displaying 1–10 of 14 comments


January 17, 2013  12:06pm

I live in the US, and as bil_ has correctly pointed out, my use of "-" comes from my many discussions and encounters with Orthodox Jews from whom we could all learn a little bit more respect towards the Divinity of G-d and his Holiness. However, that being said... For me, it is proper that I keep G-d holy in my life, and that, more than anything is why I do it. I am quite human, and my frailties present a challenge to my desire to keep G-d in the fore-front of my mind. Using "-" is more for me as it reminds me to treat the name of G-d with respect...now if only I can train my irritability and mouth under the same restraint I'd solve a major portion of my spiritual problems.

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January 16, 2013  5:40pm

I used to use G_d to reference YHWH in communication, and would have to constantly explain why I would do such a thing. I did it as a sign of respect for the "unspeakability" and indeed near "unknowability" of our glorious heavenly Father! But as time wore one it just seemed to incumber my ability to effectively communicate the Gospel of Jesus with folks. In other words, they would get all distracted by the G_d use and would never quite fully engage in the conversation about the incarnate Christ! Still, Sheer uses it faithfully! In a related thought, when I was working at a major metropolitan hospital I saw a plaque on the wall of one of the doctors that used the word G-d to represent God. This doc was Jewish by blood and practice, and that is obviously tied back to the more fundamental Jewish treatment of God's holiness and reverence for Him. I always think of it as anti-"Jesus is my homeboy" language! :D

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January 16, 2013  10:30am

If Sheerakahn, is writing from an Islamic country then there are very good reasons why the "o" has been replaced by the "-". The censors in some of those countries monitor both inward and outward computer traffic. If you think our fun nazis are bad try living in a country where you can't use the Lord's name or that of the Almighty without fear of running foul of some fundamentalistic nitpicker's interpretation of their blasphemy laws.

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January 15, 2013  4:46pm

Matthew 10:34 "Don't imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

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January 15, 2013  3:25pm

It's a sad day when someone is afraid of a benediction prayer. I understand Mr. Giglio's decision and the effort not to bring distraction to the Presidential Inauguaration, however, I think as Christians, we need to stand firm and not be swayed by every opinion or agenda. It seems that Mr. Giglio has an awesome ministry and compassion in the area of human trafficking. The opportunity to be a light in a dark world should never be dismissed.

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January 12, 2013  9:55pm

"Sheerakahn, what is your problem with the word "God"?" That is a very good question you ask Cog and the answer is no, I do not have a problem with using a "-" instead of an "o" for referring to my Lord's Fathers appellation. " It seems to be it is contrary to the spirit of love and amounts to little more than cherry-picking some of the more crazy parts of the bible." Kind of like what you are doing, Mr. Johnson with, "But if he were preaching a biblical view of slavery, he would be advising slaves to obey their masters, which is what the bible does." ? You see, Mr. Johnson, Mr Giglio, along with other Churches, biblical scholars, and pastors are challenging the notion that homosexuality is okay in the Church, just as it challenged the notion that slavery was okay in the Church as well. But I understand that historical context is not what you were going for, and that the history of the church and it's response to slavery is a bit of a bore to read. However, to the heart of your intention I will say that part of this is a discussion on how we, the Church should respond to this issue publicly, and so far, and admittedly, the Church has pretty much bungled this part irreparably so far, so...yeah, that one needs to be discussed at length. However, the core subject that the [note, small "c"] catholic Church, aka, the universal Church sans nations must first address is the issue in the Church itself which requires thought, love, compassion, and firm scriptural adherence to the context and intent of G-d's will to all who call themselves followers of Y'shua, aka, Christians. I don't expect you to understand any of this, and I fully suspect you will have a viewpoint of us as being little more than a raving pack of nitwits...that is fine...my expectations of Christian behavior and knowledge of the faith is limited to those who are followers of Y'shua.

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January 12, 2013  8:42pm

Sheerakahn, what is your problem with the word "God"? Why do you type it "G-d"?

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January 12, 2013  12:48pm

I understand that many of you think that Giglio is preaching a biblical view of homosexuality. I think that is not true. His sermon seems to me to be spiritual terrorism, threatening gay people with hell fire if they don't do what he tells them to do. It seems to be it is contrary to the spirit of love and amounts to little more than cherry-picking some of the more crazy parts of the bible. (The Bible prescribes the death penalty for "crimes" ranging from not keeping the Sabbath to adultery, but I don't see Giglio et al. preaching that all those who stay at home on Sunday are going to hell.) As far as Giglio's vaunted work on human slavery. I applaud him for that. But if he were preaching a biblical view of slavery, he would be advising slaves to obey their masters, which is what the bible does.

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January 11, 2013  7:22pm

If the Obama administration really wanted to celebrate diversity, they would've stood up for Giglio. His views on homosexuality are completely irrelevant to their stated reason for inviting him. What they should've said was: "We don't expect to agree with everything he believes. But celebrating diversity means that we do not require everyone to believe the same things. We have disagreements with him, and their will be a time to debate those disagreements. But for that day, we want to put aside our disagreements and remember that we are all Americans, and what we have in common is stronger than what we disagree." I would've believed that they want to celebrate diversity if they had responded along those lines!

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Mike C

January 11, 2013  3:13pm

I think the sad reality is that this controversy has overshadowed the work that Louie and others in the Passion have been working on the last couple of years, which is the active work to abolish modern day human slaver around the world. Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and despite the fact that Louie has been working towards bringing an awareness of the 27 million people around the world who are in human slavery, words spoken 20 years ago have wiped that clean from the minds of the news media and the general public. It's truly saddening to me to see how commenters, who want to portray Louie's appointment to do the benediction as a horrible idea, totally are ignorant of the reasons why Obama asked him to do this honor. In addition, when they do acknowledge a bit that Louie has done great work in regards to human trafficking, the sermon he gave apparently had more weight of their opinion of him.

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