Louie Giglio, Who Thinks Laminin Molecules Prove Christianity is True, Will Deliver Obama’s Inauguration Benediction

President Obama is getting praise for selecting Richard Blanco, a gay man, to deliver a poem on Inauguration Day. He’s getting praise for inviting Medgar Evers‘ widow Myrlie Evers-Williams to deliver the invocation.

But he’s making a grave mistake by asking conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio to deliver the benediction. Giglio once delivered a sermon (MP3) denouncing those homosexuals and their agenda of evil:

Louis Giglio

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.

Giglio added that accepting Jesus was the only cure for The Gay.

That was in the mid-1990s, though… Maybe Giglio’s changed his mind since then? We have no idea since his people won’t respond to any media inquiries.

If Obama wanted a decent Christian to deliver a benediction, there are many he could have chosen from. But instead of going for someone who puts love above demonization, he chose someone who very likely doesn’t believe LGBT people deserve equal rights.

And for what? To appease people who would never vote for him and who don’t even believe he’s a Christian to begin with.

There’s another reason to dislike Giglio.

He’s the pastor who once sermonized about how the shape of the protein laminin somehow proved Christianity true:

Science! Even when conservative Christians praise it, it’s because they don’t understand how it works…

(Hint: Jesus had nothing to do with the shape.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Michael Koch

    I won’t be fooled again….. I’ll skip the inauguration next week……….

  • kaellinn18

    I always love when I go to the actual Youtube page for these videos and the comments are disabled. I think they know exactly how stupid this stuff sounds, and they don’t want anyone pointing it out to the sheep.

  • fargofan

    I first heard of this claim through a mass-forwarded Christian email. Snopes does a good job analyzing it (and pointing out its absurdity).

  • trj

    Laminin? More like lame-inin. This Giglio fellow has taken just about the only photo of a laminin molecule that even vaguely resembles a cross, while conveniently ignoring that in the vast majority of cases it looks nothing like a cross (example 1, example 2).

    Also, if we rotate the scientific diagram of laminin (there’s no reason why it should have a particular orientation) we get an upside-down cross. I could just as well use this to argue that Satan has infiltrated all life. That argument makes as much sense as Giglio’s bullshit.

    There’s a reason science is best left to scientists, not to pastors and priests.

  • Bob Becker

    That the President has asked an evangelical Protestant minister to deliver a benediction at his inauguration [why is one necessary at all] is annoying, but what is downright scary is that he’s invited an idiot to deliver the benediction. That bothers me more.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    This is just molecular pareidolia. The photograph of the actual molecule, rather than the idealized diagram has all four ends twisted in the same direction. It looks like it’s on its way to being a swastika. Oh noooo! We’re held together by Nazi proteins!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Alright, where’s the Whitehouse petition?

  • ortcutt

    I’m not particularly in favor of benedictions at all (and certainly not evangelical lunatic ones), but don’t you think it would be a nice change of pace if maybe there was a Navajo, Hindu, Jewish, Humanist, etc… benediction once in a while? Christians make up 78% of the population but they seem to get a much greater share of the benedictions. Does anyone remember the disgusting behavior when a Hindu prayer was offered in the Senate in 2007?


    Why can’t we do better than this in a pluralistic country?

  • WoodyTanaka

    Well, it’s Idiot America. What do we expect? It’s not like Obama’s been a friend to the secular community.

  • LesterBallard

    “If Obama wanted a decent Christian to deliver a benediction, there are many he could have chosen from”

    I’m sure you can, but I notice you didn’t mention any decent Christians.

  • Stev84

    Not the first time. The last time it was Rick Warren. So this is almost a tradition.

  • MichaelBrice

    I was going to post pics, thanks for taking care of that. Upon review of your posted pics I find that lamalin can resemble a four leaf clover, a basketball player, a worm, a swastika, one of those advertising men with the waving arms, a dragon, a girl riding a horse (maybe a unicorn), a ballet dancer, etc., etc.


  • ortcutt

    Something else to consider when watching the Inauguration is that “so help me God” isn’t part of the Presidential Oath of Office. Despite claims to the contrary, there is no documentary evidence that George Washington uttered those words, and it wasn’t until Chester A. Arthur was inaugurated in 1881 that they were spoken.


  • Artor

    He’s just a Giglio, everywhere he goes people know the part he plays…

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, right. And “under God” wasn’t always in the Pledge of Allegiance and In God We trust hasn’t always been on our money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregory-Peterson/1608524690 Gregory Peterson

    The B1 and B2 chain in the diagram of laminin looks to me like two, two headed snakes on an orbed decorated pole. (Thanks trj for the link) The Caduceus of Hermes has two single headed snakes, but it usually, but not always, has wings. A double headed snake, the Egyptian god Nehebkau, guards the entrance to the underworld, according to the excessively handy wikipedia. http://askville.amazon.com/Laminin/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=4925085 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehebkau

    Let’s see… The diagram has eight “orbs.” Again with the Wikipedia: In culture

    The number eight is considered to be a lucky number in Chinese and other Asian cultures.

    Hanukkah is a Jewish festival holiday that lasts eight days and eight nights.

    So, what does a diagram of laminin symbolize if it doesn’t look like the simple Christian Crucifix, but looks instead like a pole with two intertwined snakes and lucky-eight spheres? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_%28number%29

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1353603101 Joe Montoto

    The midichlorians tell me that this guy is “cuckoo in the cabeza!”

  • LeftyLewis

    i came here to laugh at the name “Giglio”

  • J-Rex

    There was another video my youth group watched that’s about astronomy. He makes the same claim about an x shape in the center of the whirlpool galaxy. It really does look like an x, not a cross, but of course the picture is tilted so you could kind of sort of think that it’s a cross in perspective.
    Everyone seemed to think it was pretty cool that God proves himself in so many ways and I couldn’t help but mention…that’s a really simple shape…

  • Octoberfurst

    Oh the pain! The pain! You know there are thousands of sane, reasonable pastors out there. Why does Obama always go for the loons? First Rick Warren and now Rev Giglio. I have read about how homophobic Giglio is and watching this video of him was an eye-rolling experience. His claim that laminin looked like a cross was so stupid that I actually felt embarrassed for him.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Yes, I felt embarrassed for him too. It was at that moment when — after having misled the audience with a diagram — he showed a real picture of laminin. And, again, when he had the courage to say, “How crazy is that? That the stuff that holds our bodies together […] is in the PERFECT shape of the cross of our lord Jesus Christ!” Wow.

  • allein

    I’m impressed you managed to watch the video. I tried and didn’t get past the first few seconds before I decided there were better things I could do with my time. I think it was the Ask an Atheist podcast that discussed this recently; it was the first I’d heard of it and I just sat there thinking, “Really?”

  • sam

    We use laminin alot in our lab to plate embryonic stem cells. They need an adhesion protein to adhere to in cell culture so they don’t apoptose and die.
    Maybe Rev. Douchebag would like to publically support embryonic stem cell research since his god molecule does.

  • macprince

    “one of those advertising men with the waving arms”

    But is there a molecular biology lab on Route 2 in Weekapaug?

  • Octoberfurst

    How true! Did you notice that when he showed the drawing of what Laminin looks like the crowd went wild with applause but when he showed an ACTUAL picture of laminin the applause was much less vigorous? I’m sure most of those in attendance were thinking, “WTF? That doesn’t look anything like a cross!” LOL.

  • Octoberfurst

    Well Rev Tony Campolo is ok in my book. He’s quite progressive actually. I’m sure I can come up with others if you like.

  • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter
  • baal

    The whole ‘pledge’ idea was pretty late as well. I rather like the original motto of our founders, “from the many, one”

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    It might well have been only in my head, but I could almost feel the audience recoil when the actual image was shown. In a way, it was relieving that they didn’t follow him down the path he was making for them.

  • Steve

    We are now all dumber for having seen that.

  • Trewqq

    You’re generally pleased with the war on whistleblowers? With sheilding officials who practiced torture while prosecuting officials who exposed it? With steamrollering Spain into killing its torture investigations? With steamrollering the states into killing their bank fraud investigations? With working together with the banks to crack down on OWS? With declaring Bradley Manning guilty in advance of his trial? With barring the press from filming the Deepwater Horizon spill? With a privatization-monger as Secretary of Education? With a position on Social Security that is “basically the same” as Mitt Romney’s?
    Or are you just “perplexed’?

  • boboskaditdatin

    I have always found it amazing that these discussion forums offer such a safe place for us to rip to shreds other human beings. Is this something that atheism inspires?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I take it you’ve never been to wnd.com, or theblaze.com, or christianpost.com?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    i like Richard and don’t want to pile on, so i’ll skip my comment that would’ve listed about three times as many additional “perplexing” obama administration choices.

  • http://www.skeptimusprime.com/ Dylan Walker

    “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.”

    doesn’t seem so bad to me, also I wasn’t aware that gay rights groups ever pretended this wasn’t their goal.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    i’ve always found it amazing that christians can come to an atheist/progressive blog and whine about their hurt fee-fees and how important it is to be “civil,” but somehow manage to remain utterly silent when one of their own rapes a child, calls for the death of LGTB people, or tells any voter who fails to vote for a war loving or anti-choice politician they’re going to hell.

    nice double standard you’ve got there.

  • boboskaditdatin

    Have you seen me be utterly silent? Or are you making a generalization?

  • boboskaditdatin

    I have not.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    How is criticism the equivalent of ripping someone to shreds? Giglio has made problematic (to say the least) public statements on a number of issues. Are we just supposed to ignore that? If we disagree, why shouldn’t we say so?

  • boboskaditdatin

    You are entirely right. Disagreeing is appropriate, necessary, and beneficial. Phrases like, “Rev. Douchebag”
    “a homophobic bigot to incant the traditional magic spell, but a fruitcake who practices molecular pareidolia” are not disagreements. That’s just mean and belittling. (Most comments on here are totally cool.) I get thrown for a loop anytime I see people saying stuff like this. And this is coming from a page called, “friendly atheist.”

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Well, “Friendly Atheist” refers to Hemant, the owner of the blog. Some commenters can be rude and/or might use harsher language, but that’s a given pretty much everywhere online. As a general rule, I don’t find the majority of people here to be mean and belittling.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    If he really wanted to go evangelical, Jim Wallis might have been an okay choice. Obama’s decision to invite an extreme social conservative is a bit baffling.

  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

    Me, either. And Giglio’s choice of language is blatant fear-mongering. Calling the fight for equality “aggressive,” saying it’s not “benevolent,” and that it’s trying to “seize by any means necessary” the mood of the day.

  • LesterBallard

    Comparatively speaking, yes he is.

  • cipher

    I disagree with Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. I think they’re good men who are misguided (largely for remaining within the evangelical camp; it would bother me less if they ceased defining themselves as evangelicals and considered themselves liberal Christians).

    Giglio is a douchebag and a homophobic bigot. In fact, I think that’s a little lenient. I have no problem characterizing him, and the millions like him, as psychopaths.

  • TonySnark

    Oh, no! I was just about to convert to Islam because of the crescent-shaped distamycin-a molecule! Now what do I do?

  • Jason

    Only one can be right.

  • Free

    I watched the entire video and I will agree that it is unwise to use laminin alone to justify faith in Christ. However, there are far too many “coincidences” that are unexplained by science that should not dismiss the idea that “God” can leave large and small signatures in what we see. This is all about faith. True faith opens new realities. No faith, no new reality. No faith, no God -problem solved. Have faith, experience God. Oil and water. They are what they are.

  • JCK1976

    I am a Christian and I agree with you Mr. Mehta.

    1. Laminin vaguely resembles a cross under a Fluorescence Microscope.

    2. Leave science to the cellular and molecular biologists unless someone like myself has the scientific background and can explain and debate with the best of the scientific community.

    2. It is also not the the best biological scientific proof and cogent piece of evidence to use as a Christian to proof to the secular world including that YAHWEH exists.

    What is the ABSOLUTE BEST Empirical evidence and cogent piece of proof for the Intelligent Design Theory is Watching the Inner Life of the Cell and comprehending what all those little crazy looking things are doing in the video….here ya go:

    The video opens with red blood cells streaking past us through an arteriole. The crawling white spheres are lymphocytes, white blood cells. Each can “smell” only one interesting thing. One is about to find his odor, and everything in him will scream “STOP”.Our hero the lymphocyte (bottom) has attached to proteins being present from another cell (above) This could be the Major Histocompatibility Complex, a sort of hand-shaking device by which lymphocytes know not to interact with foreign or inappropriate cells. Or maybe it’s just Cell Adhesion Molecules.A wonderful depiction of membrane proteins floating on lipid rafts on the outside surface of the cell, a phospholipid sea. The membrane proteins are wildly varied, and carry out all sorts of interesting functions. Right now they are translating the word “STOP!”, and passing the information on into the cell itself.One of these functions is transduction. A stimulated membrane protein is nestling into another one. This will begin a cascade of events that must take us into the cell’s interior.Neither Glenn nor I can figure out the significance of the pentagonal pattern of reticulation on the cell surface, just before we enter.The descent through the outer architecture into the cell’s interior. The next view opens up into an assembling array of microfilaments, part of the cytoskeleton.Microfilaments are one of the three types of cytoskeleton, assembled from smaller building blocks. They are responsible for cell movement and cell shape, as well as simply holding the cell together. These microfilaments are being rapidly constructed in response to the signal received a short time ago. They will brake the cell, and then they will force the cell into a new pattern of movement.Flurries of new activity. An enzyme has latched onto an actin filament and has snipped it into two pieces. There has to be a reason for this.A second portion of the cytoskeleton, the microtubules, is being assembled. These are the highways along which the organelles, those tiny parts of a cell, travel and are conveyed.Microtubules are not only assembled at one end, they are disassembled at the other, giving the impression of a forward direction of movement when in fact there is none.The motor protein, kinesin. Surely the star of the show, and everyone thinks it’s a concoction. “Is this real??” they ask. Yes it’s real. It latches onto an organelle with its “arms” and then literally steps along the microtubule path, always placing its “feet” into the groove, one step at a time. This is how the cell moves its parts around.The enormous organelle the stalwart kinesin guy is carrying is a vesicle filled with proteins destined for the outside, perhaps in response to the signal that the cell had received a while back. The vesicle itself has membrane proteins studding its surface. If you look closely in this sequence, you see hundreds of fellow kinesin proteins hauling their own burdens along the microtubule highways.Now we get to see the artists’ concept of the vast interior of the cell, and in the fuzzy distance, the microtubules radiate outward from the centrosome – Microtubule Organizing Center, the MTOC, dominating the proceedings.The focus shifts toward the nucleus in the foreground, and the MTOC with its star pattern of microtube highways radiating from the cylindrical centrioles to all parts of the cell. These are controlling the events of the moment. Now we’re going to see what the nucleus is doing.Strings of messenger RNA are shooting up out of the nucleus through the nuclear pores. These include the new programming instructions that will produce the proteins that will cause this cell to change its behavior.The RNAs drift above the nucleus and circularize, touching G-caps to polyA tails. The green ribosomes approach, and latch on. They slide around the glistening circle of mRNA, quickly extruding the protein, and then everyone falls off the messenger strand.This ribosome is busily spinning a protein, moving quickly along the messenger RNA strand, translating it, and adding each new amino acid one by one. The protein folds into its proper shape as you watch.Two newly synthesized proteins latch onto one another. A fit! They drift across that manatee-like body, the mitochondrion, from which all energy for all this activity comes.Translation is occuring at the surface of the Endoplasmic Reticulum, too. Ribosomes threaded with mRNA sit down atop an ER pore, and spin their protein right down into the lumen. This protein will whisked off to the golgi apparatus, to be sorted and sent on to its ultimate destination, probably ending up in one of the vesicles being hauled by our kinesin motor protein friends.Speak of the devil! The great, slowly rotating, pulsating galaxy is the golgi apparatus that so bored you in school. This is where the above proteins are headed, to be processed, modified, marked and put into their appropriate vesicles. Delivery to any one of a multitude of destinations is by kinesin express.Now we see the fate of the proteins we’ve seen being made. A huge bubble emerges from the interior of the cell, and bursts, scattering some proteins out into the void. Perhaps these are interferon, or cytokines, and they themselves are messages to other cells that will start a cascade of changes within them. This is exocytosis.Not all proteins are released into the void. Some stick to the outer membrane surface. These are receptor proteins, transducer proteins, channel proteins, and much much more.A lipid raft gathers under a group of the newly arrived proteins.They rise up, and begin to unfold, stretching above the scaffolding hovering above the cell’s surface.Their binding sites are now above the scaffolding and they are prepared to latch onto anything their sticky hands can grasp. Which is to say, only one thing, that which they were made for.And what do they grasp? Apparently just the surface of the arteriole. The lymphocyte rolls to a halt. (And this is why I think maybe this has to do more with cell adhesion than T-cell receptors, but it really doesn’t matter too much.)Having stopped its mindless forward motion, the lymphocyte now squeezes out of the bloodstream and into the cellular interstitial spaces, looking for trouble.

    Now I would love for you or any other scientist including Dawkins try to sell to the public that mud deciding to “joyride” on the backs of crystals is how life began….lol