Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of Atlanta's Passion City Church, will no longer deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration after news came out Wednesday the conservative pastor had preached an anti-gay sermon in the past, according to ABC News.
Thinkprogress reported Wednesday that Rev. Giglio in the mid-1990s preached against homosexuality as well as in favor of ex-gay conversion. You can listen to the sermon, titled “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” here.
During the sermon, Giglio discusses an Entertainment Tonight episode that discusses a gay marriage on the TV show "Northern Exposure" as well as the famous same-sex kiss on the hit TV show, "Roseanne." Both shows were hits in the 1990s.
Passages from the Giglio's sermon that lasts nearly an hour, according to Thinkprogress:
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.
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.
Nothing about Giglio's decision to withdraw from the inauguration ceremony is mentioned on Giglio's Twitter account. But Giglio does mention his renowned Passion Conference, this year's conference attracting some 60,000 college students to the Georgia World Congress Center and tackling the subject of human sex trafficking.
UPDATE: Giglio released a statement on his church's website and a link to it on his Twitter account explaining why he will no longer give the benediction.
The full statement:
Dear PCC Family,
Though I was invited by the President of the United States to pray at his upcoming inauguration, after conversations between our team and the White House I am no longer serving in that role. I sent the following statement to the White House today:
I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21. Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.
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. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.
Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever we need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.
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.
As a pastor, my mission is to love people, and lead them well, while lifting up the name of Jesus above anything else. I’m confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people—any people. Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus.
In all things, the most helpful thing I can do is to invite each of us to wrestle with scripture and its implications for our lives. God’s words trump all opinions, including mine, and in the end, I believe God’s words lead to life.
My greatest desire is that we not be distracted from the things we are focused on…seeing people in our city come to know Jesus, and speaking up for the last and least of these throughout the world.
Honored to be your pastor,
Photo: Rev. Louie Giglio via Wikipedia Commons