Anti-gay Pastor Louie Giglio Withdraws from Inauguration Ceremony

Just days after being selected to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration, it appears that anti-gay Christian pastor Louie Giglio has withdrawn from the ceremony:



Liberals had pushed for Obama to reconsider his decision due to Giglio’s beliefs about homosexuality and the (Christian) American Family Association had pressured Giglio to step down before people got the crazy idea that he supported/endorsed Obama (which didn’t appear to be a problem for Rick Warren four years ago):

[Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association] says if he were Giglio, he would respectfully decline the invitation.

“Louie Giglio did not say I endorse or embrace President Obama’s political agenda — [but] if I were Louie Giglio,” continued the AFA president, “I would say This could hurt my credibility within the Christian community because it seems to be an implicit endorsement of President Obama by participating.”

No word yet on who his replacement will be — or why we even need a benediction in the first place — but this is a quick bit of good news for supporters of LGBT equality (and paranoid Christians).

I’m sure Giglio and his laminin molecules will be just fine.

***Update***: Here is Giglio’s official statement.

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.

  • Gus Snarp

    How about, if we must have a benediction, we try something different this time and not use a mega church evangelical? A little diversity might be nice. Perhaps a nice liberal, gay Episcopalian. Or, what I suddenly realized would be brilliant, what about a non-Christian? I’m thinking a rabbi. So those on the right who accuse the President of being anti-Israel and his defense nominee as being an anti-semite will either have to reveal themselves as hypocritical anti-semites or shut up.

    Draft a rabbi!

    I guess it’s too late for a petition.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’d love to see a Muslim just to see half of Fox’s heads explode.

      • Marco Conti

        That would be hilarious

    • ortcutt

      Of the benedictions and invocations since 1989, all of them have been given by Protestants.

    • Jasper

      Why can’t we have a wizard instead? One that could cast Swarm on the crowd.

      • starskeptic

        All public gatherings should have an official Wizard.

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        Q: “Who swore president Obama in for his second term?”
        A: “A wizard did it.”

    • C Peterson

      There are several times more atheists in American than there are Jews. How about a humanist benediction?

      • Gus Snarp

        Oh, that would be great. Or better, no benediction at all. But I’m thinking of political reality and a move that could have really fun political ramifications.

        Obviously we’re not about to get a Humanist, nor are we going to see a Muslim (although wouldn’t THAT be fun? I mean the religious right is going to excoriate Obama no matter what, so why not just blow their minds and leave them all in the fetal position in their living rooms quaking with terror…)

        • C Peterson

          I agree, a humanist benediction isn’t going to happen. But I can dream…

          That said, I do like your idea of a rabbi doing this. The conservatives would absolutely hate it, but there’s nothing they could do except grin and pretend it’s wonderful. Their internal squirming is pleasant to contemplate.

    • monyNH

      Gene Robinson is retiring…I’ll bet he’s free!

  • http://profiles.google.com/mjsoctober Michael Schmidt

    ” it seems to be an implicit endorsement of President Obama by participating”

    Isn’t that like separation of church and state in reverse? ;-)

    • baal

      It also points out that this need to have overt religiosity at a governmental event is also a violation of the Church/State separation – even in the minimal ‘ceremonial deism’ flavor.

  • Matto the Hun

    How about Rev. Barry W. Lynn from AU! That would be awesome!

    • Thackerie

      Yes!

  • Kevin

    And how pathetic is this? For all the talk of diversity, and tolerance, and giving everybody a voice, we now see that such verbiage is only aimed in one direction. Gigglio is a fine man. His evangelical beliefs lead him to say that homosexuality is a sin. THAT is enough to get pressured out of saying a public prayer?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Nobody has to be ‘given’ a voice. He has a voice. And nobody is trying to shut down his Church. He can preach his silly ideas there all he wants.

      We also don’t ‘tolerate’ the ‘diversity’ of people who’s evangelical beliefs lead them to say that women should not be allowed to vote.

    • ortcutt

      He has a legal right to be a bigot, but that doesn’t grant him a right to an honored, prominent role in the Inauguration. Take your persecution fantasies somewhere else.

    • WoodyTanaka

      He’s not a fine man, he’s a bigot. And we should tolerate him only to the extent we would tolerate a Nazi ranting against Jews or a KKK hating on blacks.

    • Matto the Hun

      Go fuck yourself Kevin. Gigglio’s gay hating preachments do not add to diversity, they tear it apart. You are a hypocritical half-wit to try and cry foul.

    • RobertoTheChi

      When you say fine man do you mean a raving homophobic, bigot?

    • Marco Conti

      Seems to me that the anti-gay, anti-obama, anti-progressive religious nutcases are the ones that pressured him out of the inauguration. Or, at the very least, that judgement is still up in the air as he has not clarified it.

      I have watched a few videos by this guy and I can at least agree that he is charismatic. Many of his videos are about science, which I appreciate, even if he interprets it through the lens of “God made all this, isn’t it grand?”

      My hope, of course, is that among his audience of science illiterate people (I judged this from the dumbfounded expressions of some of the young attendees when he explained trivial scientific facts every 5 year old should be familiar with) some will be inspired to go beyond the factoids he uses to glorify his god and really try to understand science for what it is.

      Tolerance doesn’t mean I have to like everybody and give everybody a voice. He has a large pulpit and no one is taking that away from him. But I am certainly entitled to express my opinion as to whom will perform magical utterances at the inauguration of my country’s president.

      • MichaelBrice

        Charismatic, just like Jimmy Jones and David Koresh?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

        Many of his videos are about science? Make me f*cking laugh.

        No my delusional friend, many of his videos are of him hijacking science and twisting it to his own “God Did It” ends. Science does NOT involve god at any stage of the process. What he is talking about is Stealth Creationism v3.0 – the smiling snidey face that spreads misinformation just as much as the Discovery Institute, but unlike them hides the dagger in the hand behind his back.

        He is a scientifically illiterate snake oil salesman who thinks DNA = Proof of God is science.

        And as for “charismatic”? Charismatic like every cult leader from Koresh to Shoko and the Heavens Gate idiot….wow….what a qualification that is.

    • RobMcCune

      He can say all the public prays he likes, but he should not be given a platform to speak by the President of the United States if he holds such odious views.

    • starskeptic

      Oh – his views on gays are perfectly fine for public consumption because his evangelical beliefs ‘made him do it’?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick.goltz Rick Goltz

    Wouldn’t it be a great big breath of fresh air if Obama were sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with his hand on the Constitution in a totally secular ceremony?

    • starskeptic

      Ramen…

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

      and didn’t include taxpayer funded fanfare, media outreach, expensive decorations, musical bands, long distance flights for VIPs, and posh parties in the Beltway?

      yeah. that would be awesome.

      the only “ceremony” we need is the legal swearing in, and the election. and the SCOTUS justice is already paid well enough; he just needs to get his ass over to the WH with a copy of the Constitution and do the deed. they can youtube it for free later.

      • C Peterson

        I’ve read that technically, even a swearing in is not required for a President entering his second term. He’s already been sworn in. The ceremony at the beginning of a second term is a historical curiosity, not a Constitutional requirement.

  • starskeptic

    In place of a benediction – we should have a Sagan-ation

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

      I’m all for an eggs benediction…mmmmmm!

      • starskeptic

        …at the National Wizards Breakfast…

    • RobMcCune

      I’m not sure Clint Eastwood would be a good idea, we don’t know what will happen if he sees Imaginary Obama and Real Obama in the same place.

      • starskeptic

        lol – he could be wheeled in like Hannibal Lecter…

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    I didn’t notice he said he was stupid when he said what he said and he doesn’t believe that any more. I saw the old “they pulled a quote from 20 years ago to embarrass me…” defense. Good riddance

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    If you really want to see FOX and their viewers freak out, have Richard Dawkins give the benediction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=181100183 Shannon Kish

    You can see Giglio’s letter- http://www.passioncitychurch.com/blog/

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Obama should pick a secular humanist to give the benediction. My vote would be for Herb Silverman.

  • LeftyLewis

    let’s try this again…i would hope that a Giglio would use better protection than the pull-out method

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    WWJD?

    The J in this case being Jefferson, albeit recast in a modern setting?

    My guess is a quick 10 minute swearing in with the least offensive official he could pick, then get back to work running the country. Not the cash cow three ring dog and pony show flag wrapped teary eyed meeeja circle jerk this will be.

  • jayjonson

    See the reflection by Claude Summers at glbtq.com in which he calls Giglio a spiritual terrorist. Here is a link.


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