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Louie Giglio. Photo by jesario (cc_by_sa_2.5).
The Evangelical Christian pastor selected to deliver the benediction at President Obama's second inauguration on July 21, 2013 has been revealed to be a homophobic bigot. Pastor Louis Giglio of the Atlanta-based Passion City Church is the author of a literally stomach-turning sermon that advocates for reparative therapy, cites a biblical passage calling for the execution of homosexuals, and implores Christians to "firmly respond to the aggressive agenda" and prevent the "homosexual lifestyle" from becoming accepted in society. In short, this disgusting bigot is more fit to deliver a benediction for the inauguration of the President of Uganda than for President Barack Obama.
The 54-minute sermon, entitled "In Search of a Standard--Christian Response to Homosexuality," apparently delivered by Giglio in the late 1990s or early 2000s, is reported on by Josh Israel at ThinkProgress, where it is embedded.
The sermon, which quite apart from its objectionable theology displays unbelievable ignorance and stupidity as well as sheer hatred, is also available on a "Christian training" website called Discipleship.
The question must be asked: did the Inaugural Committee do any research about the people they invited to participate in the Inauguration? Were they aware of this sermon when they invited this bigot?
More prosaically, did they learn nothing from the debacle that resulted from the invitation to Rick Warren to deliver a prayer at the 2004 inauguration?
As someone who worked hard for the election of President Obama, I find the choice of this bigot especially disheartening.
The further irony of this disgusting choice is that there are now literally thousands of people of faith who work for justice and fairness and equality. It would have been easy to find a minister or rabbi or priest who represents the values espoused by President Obama.
As Wayne Besen of TruthWinsOut observed, the choice of Giglio means that progressive clergy who clearly need to have their public profiles elevated are denied a platform. He asks, "Is there not one progressive preacher in this country of 300 million Americans the president could have chosen?"
He adds, "This is another lost opportunity and a slap in the face to progressive faith leaders. It's a shame we consistently squander situations where we could highlight more enlightened religious views."
There is now a petition on WhiteHouse.gov website asking that Giglio be replaced. Please sign it.