Four years ago, the Rev. Rick Warren was invited to deliver the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration, despite some of the California megachurch pastor’s controversial remarks, most notably on the LGBT community.
In 2012, a sequel appeared likely. The Rev. Louie Giglio, an Atlanta minister and founder of the Passion Conferences, was scheduled to deliver the benediction at Obama’s second inaugural, which proved problematic when ThinkProgress uncovered anti-gay remarks Giglio made in a mid-1990s sermon entitled, “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality.”
Among other things, Giglio urged Christians to fight the “aggressive agenda” of the gay rights movement and advocated “the healing power of Jesus” as “the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle.”
As of this morning, Giglio is out.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee issued a statement in response to Giglio’s withdrawal.
“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,” Addie Whisenant, a spokesperson for the committee said.
“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.”
The whole controversy took less than a day. The ThinkProgress item was published at 1:30 p.m. yesterday, and the inaugural committee announced its change of plans around 11:30 a.m. this morning.
It’s worth noting, however, that it’s not entirely clear who initiated the shift – did the committee withdraw its invitation, did Giglio pull out, or was it a combination of the two?
Update: A reliable source emails to say it was Giglio’s decision to drop out of the inaugural event.