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.
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