UPDATE, 11 a.m., Jan. 10: Think Progress is reporting that Giglio removed himself from the 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,” Giglio said in a statement to Think Progress. “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.”
Read Giglio’s full statement here.
HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement: “It was the right decision. Participants in the Inaugural festivities should unite rather than divide. Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his Inaugural.”
UPDATE, 10 a.m. Central time on Jan. 10: ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl reports on Twitter that Giglio has been removed from the inauguration program.
Looks like President Barack Obama has another big gay pastor problem.
Four years after Obama infuriated the LGBT community by selecting Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his first inauguration, the president has picked another pastor with a history of even more extreme homophobic teachings to deliver the benediction at his second.
The Rev. Louie Giglio of Atlanta, announced Wednesday as the benediction speaker for the Jan. 21 inauguration, delivered a sermon in the 1990s in which he advocated “ex-gay” therapy and called on fellow Christians to fight the “aggressive agenda” of the LGBT movement, according to Think Progress. Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church, is best known as founder of the Passion Conferences, a group dedicated to uniting college students in worship and prayer.
LGBT advocates have already responded to Giglio’s selection by launching a petition calling for Obama to replace him with a pastor who has a history of supporting LGBT equality. One prominent LGBT activist, radio host Michelangelo Signorile, even tweeted that the Human Rights Campaign should boycott the inauguration if Obama doesn’t replace Giglio. You can sign the White House petition by going here.
Although Giglio is now Atlanta-based, he has strong Texas ties, according to online biographies. He attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and he was a graduate student at Baylor University in Waco when he launched the Bible study group that became the predecessor to the Passion Conferences. Giglio moved from Waco back to his native Georgia in 1995. The first Passion Conference was held in Austin in 1997.