An evangelical pastor from Atlanta announced Thursday that he would not give the benediction at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony after a sermon he gave on homosexuality in the mid-1990s resurfaced earlier this week.
In that sermon, the Rev. Louie Giglio called for Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” of some in the gay community. Think Progress, which uncovered the sermon, has a transcript of the most inflammatory passages. Giglio released a statement on his withdrawal from the inauguration program:
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…
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced earlier this week that Giglio was selected, along with Myrlie Evers-Williams, to pray at the inaugural. A PIC spokeswoman told Think Progress they were not aware of Giglio’s past statements when they selected him.