Main | Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Obama's Inauguration Preacher Has History Of Nasty Anti-Gay Comments

Today we reveled in the news that President Obama's second inauguration team has selected an openly gay poet to read at the event. That good news was almost immediately overwhelmed by a swarm of controversy that has erupted around Pastor Louis Giglio, who will deliver the event's benediction. Think Progress blogger Josh Israel reported this afternoon that Giglio has delivered anti-gay sermons that denounced our community with quotes from Leviticus and demands that Christians fight against LGBT equality.

An except from Giglio's mid-1990s "Christian training speech" titled In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality:
(9:20) [God] says very clearly in [Leviticus], verse 22, after he talks about a lot of different kinds of relationships, he says in verse 22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” Now if you would look forward into the New Testament context, to the passage that most of us know most commonly with this issue, into chapter one of the book of Romans, let’s read a few verses together beginning in verse 18. If you’re taking notes tonight, you might make this the note of Leviticus 20:13 and the book of Jude, we won’t look at those passages but there is some support and encouragement there to this topic.

(17:37) Men, women, I can’t say anything other to you tonight than this, that if you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle… 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.
Audio of the full speech is here.

Giglio has also advocated for the "ex-gay" movement, telling his audiences that "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."

Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reported tonight that the White House has so far refused to respond to questions about Giglio. Geidner notes that Giglio is a fan of Jerry Falwell, perhaps the most notorious anti-gay figure in American history.
This past November, Giglio served as the convocation speaker at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University. Although he did not address homosexuality in the speech, he did strongly urge visiting high-school students to attend the college known for its strict policies against homosexual behavior and spoke about the positive influence Falwell has had on his life.
The controversy has already been noted by the New York Times.
The planners of Mr. Obama’s inauguration did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a spokesperson for Mr. Giglio was unavailable. But one leading advocate for gay rights in Washington, speaking anonymously to discuss private conversations with the president’s inauguration committee, said that he told officials the comments were “completely inappropriate” and that he asked for a “complete renunciation” by the pastor. Another gay rights advocate, Wayne Besen, founder of the group Truth Wins Out, said: “It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on LGBT people at a moment when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues.”
A petition has been launched with the demand that Giglio be replaced with a pro-gay member of the clergy.
Below is Giglio's 2012 benediction for the graduating class at Fawell's Liberty University.

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