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deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration, it appears that anti-gay Christian pastor Louie Giglio has withdrawn from the ceremony: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.

  • Rich Wilson

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

  • ortcutt

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

  • 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? ;-)

  • Jasper

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

  • Matto the Hun

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

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • starskeptic

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

  • 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.

  • starskeptic

    All public gatherings should have an official Wizard.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Marco Conti

    That would be hilarious

  • 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.

  • Felyx Leiter

    I’m all for an eggs benediction…mmmmmm!

  • starskeptic

    …at the National Wizards Breakfast…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • starskeptic

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

  • MichaelBrice

    Charismatic, just like Jimmy Jones and David Koresh?

  • 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

  • starskeptic


  • Matt Eggler

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

  • 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

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

  • Raising_Rlyeh

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

  • Shannon Kish

    You can see Giglio’s letter-

  • Dangerous Talk

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

  • monyNH

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

  • LeftyLewis

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

  • 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.

  • Sandy Kokch


    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.

  • 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.

  • Thackerie


  • 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.

  • jayjonson

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