Atlanta pastor withdraws from Obama inauguration ceremony

From the Associated Press:

The evangelical pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inauguration withdrew from the ceremony Thursday after remarks he made two decades ago condemning the gay rights movement surfaced.

The Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta said in a statement he withdrew because it was likely that the “prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”

Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said the committee had chosen Giglio because of his work to end human trafficking.

“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,” Whisenant said in a statement.

The liberal website ThinkProgress posted audio of the sermon Wednesday. In the talk, which the pastor said he gave 15 or 20 years ago, Giglio cites Scripture and called same-sex relationships sinful and an abomination. He warned congregants about what he called the “aggressive agenda” for acceptance of the “homosexual lifestyle.” And he recommended the writings of an advocate for therapy that aims to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals.

Repeatedly in the sermon, Giglio urged congregants to welcome gays and lesbians to the church and says God loves them.

In Thursday’s statement, Giglio said “speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past 15 years.”

Obama’s inaugural planners have put an emphasis on reflecting diversity in the festivities, including the participation of gay Americans. Obama personally selected Richard Blanco, whose work explores his experience as a Cuban-American gay man, as the inaugural poet. And the Lesbian and Gay Band Association of St. Louis was one of the first selections to march in the inaugural parade.

Whisenant said the committee was considering others to deliver the benediction at the Jan. 21 event.

The Think Progress post cited by the AP points to remarks from Giglio found on “a Christian web site:”

The 54-minute sermon, entitled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” advocates for dangerous “ex-gay” therapy for gay and lesbian people, references a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impels Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” and prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming accepted in society.

Think Progress cited this passage:

”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.”

And this one:

”I would refer you maybe just to the article “Born gay?” by Joe Dallas, who is the president of a ministry that helps with homosexuals in “recovery.” It was found in Christianity Today in June of 1992. It really unfolds for us that the evidence that they say is there, that the media wants to tell us is there really isn’t there at all. But I want to tell you this tonight. Even if it was there…

“How do you respond to that? How do you respond to the news reports that we’re hearing in the last few months that there is a genetic tendency to be an over-eater and it’s been supposedly proved by the scientists? That there is a genetic tendency to addictive behavior. Alcoholics by and large have a genetic tendency to addictive behavior. I predict in our lifetimes and not a very long period of time from now, scientists and geneticists will have found a way to prove a gene theory for every malfunction in sinful society. And do you know why? We talked about it the very first week—because we do not want responsibility for our choices.”

I still can’t fathom what the White House thought it was getting when it booked a well-known, conservative pastor. Somebody didn’t do his homework.

Beyond that, opinion toward same-sex marriage is one of the most rapidly shifting areas of cultural policy ever seen in American politics. One wonders how many people will soon be penalized for being on the wrong side of this one – which could be a dilemma for a president who wants to be seen as reaching out to religious conservatives.

To that point, here’s a paragraph from a statement that Giglio has posted on the Passion City Church website:

The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, individuals’ rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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264 comments Add your comment

ReaderRick

January 10th, 2013
11:34 am

They will include you, as long as you agree with them. This is why there is gridlock in Washington.

Ernesto

January 10th, 2013
11:41 am

What Christian pastor or Christian leader will not be against homosexuality? Will this mean that they will now choose a non-Christian leader for the benediction? The irony is that the president will be using three Christian bibles; each one of them condemns homosexuality.

M

January 10th, 2013
11:44 am

To be fair, each Bible also condemns shirts made of two kinds of thread and eating shellfish…which should tell you how relative they are to today’s world.

Texas Pete

January 10th, 2013
11:45 am

Why doesn’t Obama give his own benediction? After all, he is probably the only one who knows how to communicate with this wimpy God that he’s invented. Oh, I’m sorry! Was that politically incorrect?

Good

January 10th, 2013
11:45 am

No place in society for his kind of hate-fueled, outdated, uneducated bigotry. Evolve and treat others as you would have them treat you. Learn to acutally follow teaching in your own religion and stop shoving it down the throats of others.

Atlantan

January 10th, 2013
11:45 am

Obama and the left are filled with irony or as I prefer hypocrisy. Just hope the Obama supporters all get to experience the consequences of their vote in November.

TTT

January 10th, 2013
11:46 am

@ Ernesto

Right or wrong, there are plenty of Christian clergy who are “for” homosexuality. Check the Episcopal Church or United Church of Christ.

Bobsie

January 10th, 2013
11:47 am

There are hundreds of thousands of Christian pastors and leader that have not dissed the gay community. Many even conduct same sex wedding. Quit being so narrow and ethnocentric.

ATLien

January 10th, 2013
11:50 am

To be accurate, the Bible condemns homosexuality. It does not promote hate of homosexuals. Why does everyone think these things are the same thing? Can’t you disagree with a lifestyle and NOT hate the individual? Get it together people.

Mr. Independant

January 10th, 2013
11:50 am

Mr. Obama is GOD. (so he thinks) He can give his own inaguration benediction speech.

Aquagirl

January 10th, 2013
11:51 am

There are hundreds of thousands of Christian pastors and leader that have not dissed the gay community.

Yeah, look at Eddie Long. Oh, you meant PUBLICLY denouncing homosexuality? Never mind.

Tag

January 10th, 2013
11:52 am

Homosexuality is not learned they are born that way.

fed up

January 10th, 2013
11:53 am

Did they forget to check with the minister that perhaps his views have “grown and changed” as Obama’s views have?? He was against same sex marriage in his first term and recently before his run for reelection he had an epiphany and believes that same sex marriage should be sanctified by church and government. Talk about hypocrisy….

RGB

January 10th, 2013
11:54 am

“Somebody didn’t do his homework.”

Really?

What a surprise.

Glass Houses

January 10th, 2013
11:56 am

Isnt Obama about to nominate a Defense Secretary who bashed homosexuals as well? Hypocritical

Weetamoe

January 10th, 2013
11:56 am

As far as the bible 2 kinds of thread in shirts goes, there are still shatnes testers employed in New York picking threads out of wool suits. As far as ethnicity goes, why does Obama hate Italians? As far as hypocrisy goes, Obama gives you Chuck Hagel –and takes a bow himself.

Fred ™

January 10th, 2013
11:56 am

Mr. Independant

January 10th, 2013
11:50 am

Mr. Obama is GOD. (so he thinks) He can give his own inaguration benediction speech.
++++++++++++++++++

No, only you idiot talk radio/FOXBOT brainwashed sheep think that. YOU are the ones that call him the messiah and god and other blasphemous names, not the left. All Americans NOT brainwashed by Rush realize he’s just a mortal man.

Have you always been this dense?

Gail

January 10th, 2013
11:56 am

How intolerant of the tolerant

Spike

January 10th, 2013
11:57 am

Yup. Someone on the staff did not do their due diligence. Because of this fiasco, I would think that someone’s head should roll. “Off with their head” (just saw Les Mis)

Ernesto

January 10th, 2013
11:58 am

Not everyone that calls themselves Christians are truly Christians (that they truly believe in Christ).

I Love and respect Louie Giglio

January 10th, 2013
11:58 am

The heck with politics, if you would stop and listen to Louie Giglio you would know the love he has for all people. Do you now have to agree with Obama on all issues to know God and Jesus in DC? Sorry Louie. Please continue with the passion and love that has reached around the world well beyond minds that are closed and will change..

Fresh Autumn

January 10th, 2013
11:58 am

Ummm —– it’s not about “homework”. It’s about a cult “pastor” who is full of hate for his fellow human beings.

GIVE ME A BREAK

January 10th, 2013
11:59 am

A lot of people call themselves Christians. God has the final say on who enters into Heaven. I don’t believe that it’s going to be very crowded. God created a woman for a man. If you don’t believe that then you can call yourself anything that you want.

you can't fix stupid or Democrats

January 10th, 2013
11:59 am

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

This is final word on the subject—-all need to repent before its to late!

1st mate

January 10th, 2013
11:59 am

I am not in favor of replacing him because of his views.. I guarantee you this was not Baracks decision.

DannyX

January 10th, 2013
12:00 pm

“Will this mean that they will now choose a non-Christian leader for the benediction?”

Not even close, there are plenty of Christians that could give the benediction. Episcopal church is full of leaders that could do it.

Btw, could a Christian leader that allows divorce in his church be allowed to give the benediction?

Divorce is a CHOICE!

Blue

January 10th, 2013
12:01 pm

M; not in the new testament. The ‘new law’ after Christ is what most Christians look toward for guidance. The old testament was the pre-Christ laws/atonement, ect. You will never hear this Christian citing old testament stuff. But Romans definitely defines that homosexuality is sinful behavior. That doesn’t make me a ‘hater’ either.

LydiasDad

January 10th, 2013
12:01 pm

Well then, they sure as hell better not have anyone Islamic at the inauguration. They put gays to death.

DannyX

January 10th, 2013
12:02 pm

“Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Don’t forget the divorced and re-married, southern churches are filled with them. Jesus said God hates divorce.

Divorce is a CHOICE!

Lalaland

January 10th, 2013
12:03 pm

Yeah, the only people I’ve heard even remotely refer to Mr. Obama as God-like or allude him to a left version of the Messiah have been extremely conservative and bitter right-wingers. Just because people voted for or like him, doesn’t mean they worship him. I mean, do you worship Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, because that would be your equivalent.

CDubb

January 10th, 2013
12:04 pm

I am appalled by some of the bigotry and hatred contained in many of the comments shared here. Until each of us can find love and peace within ourselves and our own hearts and stop bashing individuals despite their sexual proclivity, we will always remain a society that stands in need of help. If President Obama inauguration committee decided to remove this minister, the committee has the right to do so. When will we understand that politics will always remain politics. Nothing any of us do or say will change that. Come on America!!!!

Fresh Autumn

January 10th, 2013
12:04 pm

OH, and for all the folks here posting about the Christian Bible and Jesus and quoting verses, etc…. ALL religions are by definition CULTS. Doubtful ? Look up the word CULT in any dictionary. Be informed.

louie for pres

January 10th, 2013
12:06 pm

How many millions did louie and the passion conference raise last week to help stop slavary? Do a google search on that

JJ

January 10th, 2013
12:07 pm

Being a Christian does not give a person a license to judge. I can see why a judgmental Christian is not someone to be placed on an inaugural program, if the President is like President Obama, being truly diverse and respects all people.

Stupid is as Stupid does

January 10th, 2013
12:07 pm

O.K. Great. This opens up a place for JZ in the “Show”

Mustacho

January 10th, 2013
12:09 pm

Today, if you disagree with homosexuality you are called a biggot, a hater, a closed-minded. I wonder what will people be called in a not distant future when they say that they disagree with polygamy.

Repro

January 10th, 2013
12:09 pm

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians” – Gandhi

RLP

January 10th, 2013
12:10 pm

We all live in this country and we all matter. Some had it good for years but now its a new day. You pay your taxes and I pay taxes too.

ted in atlanta

January 10th, 2013
12:10 pm

There are two simple litmus tests for those who would judge.

The first is, simple clear human rights.

And the second is, separation of church and state. ESPECIALLY one that conflicts with simple human rights. I can’t wait until these arcane associations with any religion are broken. It will come.

Logical Progression

January 10th, 2013
12:11 pm

It is unfortunate that the lifestyle choices of individuals carry more weight than ability to think independently, understanding that those are personal choices. From experiencing 722 as a college student, and possessing the ability to think about life through various lenses. I am disappointed in this decision, but find that in the court of popular opinion… sometimes the group that presents themselves as most outspoken or victimized, wins. A sad reality that accompanies individual interpretation of constitutional rights.

Justice

January 10th, 2013
12:12 pm

FRED… look in the mirror to see the problem…Obama acts like he is a GOD no one knows what he thinks or doesn’t think. If you look at the history of dictatorships, this isn’t anything new. Maybe a demigod is what you need to feel secure but the rest of this country needs to “check and balance” this behavior.

[...] As our own Jim Galloway posted, somewhat snarkishly (but 100% accurately): “This is unexpected from a well-known, conservative pastor? Somebody didn’t do his homework.” [...]

[...] PressPastor withdraws from InaugurationPoliticoABC News (blog) -New York Magazine -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 69 news articles » Source : [...]

Better Said

January 10th, 2013
12:14 pm

Jim… not sure your headline leads us to be most accurate story. ABC has it more correct.

“Pastor Backs Out of Obama Inauguration Over Previous Anti-Gay Comments”
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/01/obama-inauguration-pastor-steps-down-over-previous-anti-gay-comments/

Not dumped. Chose to remove himself. Big difference. Speaks a lot more about Louie’s decision.

Southern Humanist

January 10th, 2013
12:14 pm

Good. the homophobic BS has to stop.

Good

January 10th, 2013
12:15 pm

I’m with DannyX.. If marriage is such a sacred institution, BAN DIVORCE…lol ..see how fast they change their tune. yall are some crazies hiding behind the bible… picking and choosing passages from that book. Religious people are nothing but hypocrites and hatemongers.

[...] PressPastor withdraws from InaugurationPoliticoABC News (blog) -New York Magazine -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 69 news [...]

Patrick

January 10th, 2013
12:16 pm

Didn’t Rick Warren speak at an Obama function after he said he was for gay marriage? And Rick Warren has anti-gay views. So…..that eliminates about 9/10 comments here.

swatguy

January 10th, 2013
12:17 pm

@ATLien To be accurate, the Bible condemns homosexuality. It does not promote hate of homosexuals. Why does everyone think these things are the same thing? Can’t you disagree with a lifestyle and NOT hate the individual? Get it together people.

You are correct. Pastor Giglio teaches bible. Obama needs to tighten up not lighten up grow some balls and be a Man about it. If you are a Man of GOD own it.

Be Reasonable

January 10th, 2013
12:18 pm

@Fresh Autumn,
Do you know Louie Giglio? Then how can you call him a “cult ‘pastor’ who is full of hate for his fellow human beings”? I don’t believe Mr. Giglio is full of hate. It sound more like a description of you from your post. But again, since I don’t know you, I can’t really make that determination either.

In fact, I bet if you would go to his church, you would find that he is against hatred or discrimination of anyone, including gays and lesbians.

People who claim to be so tolerant of other lifestyles, really don’t appear to be tolerant of anyone else’s ideas.