The pastor chosen to speak at the 57th inauguration has withdrawn over controversial remarks about homosexuality he made well over a decade ago.
Pastor Louie Giglio was selected by President Barack Obama to deliver the inaugural benediction, where he would have prayed over the nation and the incumbent’s second term, but bowed out after controversy arose over alleged anti-gay remarks he made in the mid-1990s.
Giglio, an Atlanta-based minister and founder of the Passion Conferences, is in trouble over saying that homosexuality is “sin in the eyes of God,” reports NBC News. “And the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been engrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus,” Giglio continued. He also said that homosexuals aren’t born that way:
“People aren’t born gay – but even if they are, it’s still a choice like giving into alcoholism, addiction and overeating,” he said in a mid-90s sermon.
Recent studies seem to indicate that homosexuals are not strictly born gay, however, the idea that the homosexual lifestyle is a “choice” has been heavily criticized since its induction into the gay rights debate.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee responded 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,” said a spokesperson. “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.”
Giglio said that he withdrew himself because his participation in the ceremony wouldn’t serve his message.
“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,” Giglio said. “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.”
Giglio’s comments were outed by ThinkProgress, a left-leaning sewage processing conglomerate. The Inaugural Committee says that they vet all potential speakers, but stressed that it was Giglio’s decision to withdraw.
President Obama chose Rev. Rick Warren to deliver his inaugural benediction in 2009, a decision which drew some similar criticism over Warren’s anti-gay stance.
Seems kind of strange that the witch-hunters at ThinkProgress could only find something offensive about Mr. Giglio when they reached 20 years into the past. Even so, if you consider the times and the culture, his comments really aren’t that surprising. Seems like his comments are more a standard line than gay hate. I mean, he wasn’t saying that we should line up homosexuals and put them in concentration camps, for crying out loud.
In any case, I don’t think we should hold 20-year-old comments against each other.
What do you think? Was Giglio’s withdrawal over his comments the right thing to do, or is 20 years too long to hold a grudge? Sound off!