By Alessio Tummolillo
On January 10th, Pastor Louie Giglio withdrew himself as the one to give the benediction at President Barack Obama’s second Presidential Inauguration.
The day after website ThinkProgress discovered and published excerpts from a sermon Giglio gave in the mid ‘90s titled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” the Pastor stepped down from the honor of giving the benediction, possibly due to the public outrage the discovery of the sermon had caused.
ThinkProgress transcribed segments of the sermon where Giglio clearly states his anti-LGBT sentiments. 17 minutes and 37 second into the sermon, Pastor Louie Giglio states:
…homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the word of God. You come to only one conclusion: homosexuality is less than God’s best for his creation. It is less than God’s best for us and everything in our lives that is less than God’s best for us and his plan for us and his design for us, is sin. That’s God’s voice. If you want to hear God’s voice, that is his voice to this issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear.
People aren’t born gay – but even if they are, it’s still a choice like giving into alcoholism, addiction, and overeating[.]
According to another article posted by ThinkProgress’ John Israel, posted the day after the website published the original sermon, a spokesperson sent in this explanation for the withdrawal from Giglio:
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.
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.
A statement by Inaugural Committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant was released addressing the controversy and Giglio’s removal from the day’s program:
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. . . . 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 can listen to the sermon here, at the end of the article.
You can read the full explanation for withdrawal on ThinkProgress here.