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Topics In the News
Bigoted Pastor Removed from Inaugural Program
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 01/10/13
Last updated on: 01/11/13
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Bigoted pastor Louie Giglio, who had been invited to deliver the benediction at President Obama's Inauguration, has been removed from the program. ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl reports that Giglio withdrew in light of the firestorm caused when his incendiary sermon came to public attention.

According to Karl, whose report may be found here, Giglio voluntarily removed himself from the ceremony. More likely, however, he was asked to withdraw by the President and the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

A spokesperson for Giglio sent a statement to ThinkProgress, the blog that originally brought attention to the hateful sermon, saying in part, "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. 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."

He added, "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."

Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee issued the following statement: "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 for 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."

This imbroglio will no doubt cause homophobes to cast themselves as victims and gay activists as bullies, particularly since the mainstream media has failed to give a good sense of exactly how ugly Giglio's sermon is. I rather suspect that any pastor who spoke approvingly about the execution of Jews, Muslims, or any other group than homosexuals would never have been invited to appear on an inaugural platform in the first place.

The quick reaction to the discovery of the ugly sermon indicates once again the power of the blogosphere. Once ThinkProgress reported on the sermon, the story went viral and bloggers, far more than the established gay rights groups like GLAAD or the Human Rights Campaign (which, I believe, have yet to make a statement about the outrage), quickly made it an issue and quickly petitioned that Giglio's invitation be rescinded.

It is good to know that the Obama administration was not aware of the views of Giglio and would not have invited him had they been. However, they should have done due diligence and discovered the sermon on their own. All it would have taken is a Google search.

Those of us who worked so hard for the reelection of President Obama will be able to enjoy the Inauguration far more than we would have had Giglio been given a platform.

I hope that the Inaugural Committee will select someone to deliver the benediction who shares the President's belief in equal rights for all under the laws of a secular country.

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