The 2013 Passion Conference may have drawn 60,000 students to Atlanta, Georgia, last week, but founder and pastor Louie Giglio is already preparing to speak before an even larger audience: the presidential inauguration.
The inaugural committee announced yesterday that it has selected Giglio to deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama's public swearing-in ceremony on January 21. Obama, who reportedly was involved in the selection process, said the committee chose Giglio because his voice and career has "inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond."
"During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one. And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker," Giglio said in a press release. "May we all look up to our God, from whom we can receive mercy, grace and truth to strengthen our lives, our families and our nation. I am honored to be invited by the President to lead our nation as we look up to God, and as we look ahead to a future that honors and reflects the One who has given us every good and perfect gift."
Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, also was selected to deliver the invocation at the beginning of the ceremony.
According to the Washington Post, "an inaugural official said Giglio was picked for the benediction in part because of his work raising awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking."
Slavery and trafficking were highlighted at the 2013 Passion Conference last week, where the 60,000 student attendees raised over $3 million for the newly launched End It Movement that aims to end modern-day slavery. CT reported live from the conference and has previously reported on Giglio and Passion City Church.
Another evangelical leader, Esperanza founder Luis Cortés, will deliver the opening prayer at the inaugural luncheon, which immediately follows the inaugural ceremonies.