Pastor Louie Gigolo has withdrawn his acceptance of the President’s invitation to do the benediction at the inauguration, after a 15-year-old sermon surfaced in which he said homosexuality is a sin.
Earlier this week he said he was excited and honored to perform the benediction, but today Giglio announced he does not wish to be part of a debate on homosexuality at a time when America is deeply divided.
“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 told the White House and the Christian Post. “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.”
Question: If we know the focal point is going to be twisted, what if the pastor simply said, “I affirm that God says homosexuality is a sin,” rather than allowing those with an agenda to continue to paint pastors as bigots and homophobes?
Interestingly, the White House’s Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee thinks Giglio’s pullout is best for the nation anyway, as the President is in favor of Gay Marriage:
“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. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. 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.”
You may remember when Pastor Rick Warren spoke at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, it was widely reported that he scrubbed the homosexual policy language from his website after the gay activists pointed it out in the news media:
Four years ago the mainstream media was particularly critical of Warren for taking the correct biblical response in his policy, and were even more hard on him for removing it from the Saddleback site. For Christians, it was seen as another sign of leadership compromise in order to be liked by the world. But is that happening all over again with Louie Giglio?
An audio clip posted by Thinkprogress featured the Giglio sermon, in which he said that homosexuality is a sin and that there is an aggressive agenda against traditional family stances. Here is that quote from the mid 1990s sermon:
“We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many in the homosexual community. … Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment. That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family.”
According to the Christian Post, many other websites picked up the audio and described the Passion City Church founder as “an anti-gay pastor” whose sermon was stirring up controversy, especially in light of President Obama commenting in May 2012 that he now supports same-sex marriage.
In his Jan. 10 letter to the White House, Giglio explains, however, that he does not wish to be a part of that narrative surrounding homosexuality, and the goals and mission of his ministry are focused on different pursuits.
“Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation,” Giglio wrote. “I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.”
- Pastor withdraws from Obama inauguration after sermon on homosexuality surfaces (foxnews.com)
- Anti-gay Pastor Louie Giglio drops out of inauguration (dailykos.com)
- Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- Pastor Withdraws From Obama Inauguration Following Furor Over Past Sermon About Gays (theblaze.com)