Why Gabe Lyons and Others are Wrong about the Louie Giglio Aftermath

Why Gabe Lyons and Others are Wrong about the Louie Giglio Aftermath January 11, 2013

There is so much to sort through after yesterday’s announcement that Louie Giglio stepped down from praying at the Inauguration. You can find a great summary of it all at Red Letter Christians, by The Marin Foundation’s new Associate Director, Michael Kimpan. There were a few prominent evangelicals to weigh in yesterday, and besides Skye Jethani’s insightful and nuanced post, I found most of them to be totally off the mark. In summarizing the themes from yesterday’s evangelical world’s attempt at thoughtful commentary, here is my overall analysis:

The articles written by Gabe Lyons, Albert Mohler, Ed Stetzer and John Dickerson in the Washington Post are wrongly generalizing this situation as the collapse of evangelicalism. I can’t stand when people do that. Does everyone realize that evangelicalism is still the dominant religious entity within our country? Why all the drama? Sure, evangelicalism didn’t get it’s way yesterday and now they’re crying like a baby getting their toy (e.g. political platform) taken away from them. Where is the intelligent dialogue instead of the simple accusations and false generalizations? No wonder so many in the public square have such a hard time taking evangelicals seriously.

First, it is clear that Gabe Lyons, Albert Mohler, Ed Stetzer, John Dickerson, etc, have little to no personal experience with the religious affiliations and convictions of those who advise and surround the President. I’m not talking about Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or Jay Carney or even Joshua Dubois. I’m talking about the people who the public will never know their names because they are never in front of the camera, and yet play very significant roles in shaping public policy and attempting to navigate the ever-changing landscape of our country. In no way, shape, or form am I saying that I am better than anyone because I have been given the opportunity to personally know and be in relationship with quite a few folks at the White House. But I can honestly tell you that there are way more professing and practicing evangelicals throughout our government than any of the “evangelical experts” have a clue about.

The President, regardless of what you think of him or the direction he is leading the country, does surround himself with a variety of worldviews, opinions and experiences. Just because he “comes out” and makes definitive statements supporting the topics LGBTs care so deeply about, doesn’t mean he is not listening to a ton of people behind the scenes from all different walks of life–very intentionally also including orthodox evangelicals. That is a fact.

The broader issue then, becomes, is the conservative evangelical world flipping out because they aren’t getting what they want and are no longer in the political power structure of our country–fearful that the treatment they have implemented over other cultural non-dominant populations over the years will be turned back on them? Or are they flipping out because they just aren’t aware that professing and practicing evangelicals actually do have a role in our country’s highest offices? We’ll have to see, but I sure pray it’s the latter instead of the former. My gut, spirit if you will, unfortunately tells me it’s the former.

A few highlights and analysis from yesterday’s famous evangelical’s comments:

Gabe Lyons called what happened to his very good friend, Louie Giglio, a hate crime**. A HATE CRIME, GABE?! Are you serious. A hate crime involves physical violence against someone. As far as I am aware, Louie Giglio was not physically attacked and has a healthy able body, chilling in Atlanta this morning. He had some people write some very mean things about him on the world wide web. That does not count as a hate crime. Nor, my Bible believing friends, does that count as persecution. There are Christians literally getting killed around the world, just as in what we read about in Scripture. That is persecution! “My feelings get hurt, I get branded in a false light, and I get a very high profile speaking gig cancelled on me” IS. NOT. PERSECUTION. OR. A. HATE. CRIME. I know Gabe personally, and this is very sad to see. He’s better than that.

Albert Mohler, in his usual way of writing, doesn’t offer any productive solutions for advancing the chasm at the end of his commentary, but only insists evangelicals must continue fighting against the evils of what is fearfully going to destroy us all. I don’t know Albert Mohler, I wish I did because I would be fascinated to talk to him. But anyway, this article he wrote, and pretty much any others of his, you’ve read one of them you’ve read all of them. He needs to represent his Southern Baptist denomination in the public square with an eye much more clearly pointed towards peacefully engaging opposing worldviews through within the framework of his theological belief system, rather than continuing to think the mainstream will ever step inside his as a baseline for dialogue. I’m sure he’s a smart enough man to figure this out like Jesus did in his day.

Ed Stetzer’s research shows that the country is at about a 50/50 split with people thinking that homosexuality is a sin. It is true Ed, that with such a split your argument is correct that someone like Giglio should be allowed to pray, speak, etc as he does represent half of the country. But the President of the United States of America, the man being sworn in, is a part of the other 50%. Do you feel that Mitt Romney would have had gay Bishop Gene Robinson offer a prayer? We can only speculate, but with American politics as they are today, I highly doubt it. Why then Ed, are you so surprised this happened, especially after Giglio’s silence to “clarify” his current position since the sermon in question happened in the mid-90s?

And John Dickerson asks the question, is it time to ditch the name “evangelical?” He makes a very compelling argument why. Fine, change the name from “evangelical” to [insert new name here]. Doesn’t change the beliefs, just gives it a new “brand,” as Dickerson put it. Well, as I said in My One Sentence Bible on January 9thJesus doesn’t care about your “brand.” In fact, he can’t stand the fact that you care so much about it. [Luke 20:41-47]. If the beliefs won’t change with a new name, then, a reclamation of “the brand” can only happen through actions. But, if you’re dead set on changing the name, I’m a big fan of Red Letter Christian. Evangelicals talk a great game about what Jesus says in the red letters, time to actually live it out, then.

All in all, the “end of evangelicalism” or the “public oppression of evangelicalism” will all happen much sooner and greater than anyone could have expected without a more intelligent thought towards engaging the public square with more than blames, accusations, fear tactics and false generalizations. A rough day indeed for evangelicals all over, and not because Giglio stepped down.

**Update: As of the evening of 1/11/13, Gabe Lyons tweeted me with a link to an retraction of the use of “hate crime.” See his explanation here.

Much love.

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

46 responses to “Why Gabe Lyons and Others are Wrong about the Louie Giglio Aftermath”

  1. I was directed to your post by Michael Kimpan. So glad to have found your blog. As a gay Christian, this whole affair has really saddened me; I was very excited to see an advocate who works hard against human trafficking be a part of the ceremony. Thanks for gathering these other opinions and responding with your own.

    • Kevin – Thanks for your thoughts on that. I see a few similar sentiments sneaking up around the interwebs. Hope you enjoy your time around here; looking forward to dialoguing. We’re big fans of Michael too 🙂

  2. I can’t really comment on much of this because I don’t know these people in any way you seem to personally. It just needs to be said that you’re not correct about “Evangelicalism” being the dominant religion in the United States. Yes, if you read blogs and watch cable news you’d think that a massive army of white middle class Ned Flanders run this country, but according to the Pew Forum’s study of religious life in America: 51% of Americans are Protestant Christians, and only half of those are identified as “evangelical Christians” (making them just 26% of the population).

    This big, bad evangelical Christian boogeyman is overstated in the blogosphere. No, a uninvitation to a public event is not comparable to religious persecution experienced throughout history and across the globe, but these people are not the privileged majority they’re made out to be in blogs and the media.

    • Matt – I do agree with you very much. One thing to consider as well, Gallup recently released the latest LGBT census info, and it’s about 3.8% of the American population. Goes both ways. That is why there must be a huge emphasis on bridge building between all of these **smaller** and very strong belief systems – LGBTs and evangelicals included.

      • To be fair, Andrew. The LGBT numbers were based off household numbers — except that lots of gay people aren’t in family units and some family units weren’t being counted by the Census depending on how those families were connected to each other (married VS. unmarried VS. civil unions/domestic partnerships). The Census doesn’t ask if you’re gay, lesbian, bi, or trans, so I think the Census numbers are quite dubious.

        • True Jon. The Williams Institute at UCLA, the other most well respected LGBT census org, recently reported that although 3.8% identified as LGBT, just over 11% admit to a same-sex attraction – regardless of their self-assessed label.

  3. I would agree that what happened wasn’t a hate crime or biblical persecution. And it’s not the end of being evangelical.

    My argument is, how does this show bridge building? The gay activists didn’t like the convictions of Giglio, so they stomped their feet until they got their way. How does this show willingness to build bridges? I realize the church has a long ways to go, but so does the gay community.

    Besides, I believe the intension of having Giglio pray was because of his efforts in fighting modern-day slavery – to go along with the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It had nothing to do with gay rights.

    • “The gay activists” didn’t stomp their feet. Some did. Heck some evangelicals stomped their feet and didn’t want Giglio at the inaugeration because he’d be (in their eyes) validating the Obama Administration’s agenda items that disagreed with them.

    • Shawn and Jon – True statement about Giglio and his prayer, as well as some evangelicals up in arms about a perceived “acceptance” by Giglio about Obama (I never understand those fault-by-association accusations: e.g. Jesus). I attended the National Prayer Breakfast last year when Obama spoke openly about Giglo’s great work on modern day slavery. And you’re right Shawn – this doesn’t show any resemblance to bridge building – not in PICs decision to let Giglio remove himself; and not in Lyons, Mohler, Stetzer, etc responses either. No matter who Obama or PIC would have selected, someone would have been pissed. Deal with it; it’s unfortunately a part of our climate today… which is why we are working so hard to get the bridge building message out there.

      • I realize this is our climate today, Andrew. Wasn’t getting angry at you – sorry if it seemed that way. I rail against the church just as much on my blog in reference to the gay community. The Church has work to do. All I’m saying is that bridge building is a two-way street. You and I tell the Church to turn the other cheek, to respond in a Christ-like manner, to quit protesting … we also have to give the same message to those in the gay community. Otherwise, no one is effectively building a bridge. You can’t call out one side and ignore the other. Both have to be held responsible. That was my underline point.

        • Shawn – In no way did I feel that you were getting angry! I totally agree with your bridge building assessment.

    • Most of us aren’t terribly interested in skipping across that one-way bridge to the evangelical fold, so your entire premise, Shawn, is faulty. Just because the guy whose blog you’re reading wants to lure unsuspecting LGBT people over to his side with warm fuzzies, hollow platitudes, and pretty masks doesn’t mean the sentiment is universal. Many, if not most, of us would prefer if the evangelicals would just go away and leave us alone for once. There is nothing for us to gain by kissing their feet, but there is plenty to lose.

      The LGBT community does not have a long way to go, or even a short way. We’re not the problem, and if someone thinks we’re stepping on toes or infringing on someone’s rights simply because we have the audacity to speak out against those who spit on us, then I don’t see much need for any sort of bridge in the first place. It’s a bridge to nowhere.

      • Rev – The point of “bridge building” is not to lead one group of people over to “the other side.” The point is to plant yourself in a place that intentionally and very strategically works with both ends of the bridge to foster a new medium of engagement. Regardless of one’s beliefs on this topic, I don’t know many (or any) that would say the climate is one that is peaceful and productive through the disagreements. And in no way am I pointing out that LGBTs are the problem – hence the article about those dubbed “evangelical” leaders.

        • Shawn was the one implying that the LGBT community had the problem via his implication that we are obligated to play by a set of rules most of us didn’t ask for and had no hand in fashioning. I see that attitude a lot on this blog and in its comments, the idea that when we speak up in our own defense, we’re somehow not playing fair. I think that’s a terribly flawed premise, and the vast majority of my LGBT friends and acquaintances (from all spiritual traditions) agree with that assessment.

          And the purpose of evangelicalism is to convince people to choose to join that particular team and bolster its numbers, and hence its power, yes? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the message hidden in the background here. Would you prefer to see LGBT people join the evangelical movement and work for its goals, or would you prefer to see evangelicals join the LGBT movement and work toward its goals? How a person answers that question demonstrates their true motives. Every bridge’s purpose is to get people from one side to the other, not to have them stand in the middle and hold hands.

          • Rev. Hunt – as someone who considers themselves Christian but not evangelical, I can’t answer that question directly. I can only give you my experience as an LGBT Christian. I believe we (LGBT and the evangelical) can find common ground, but it does take patience, and it can really only happen through relationships. My parents and extended family are all Christian conservative evangelicals, and when I came out to them (and still called myself Christian), they struggled. They still struggle. I get justifiable angry with them a LOT. But they know me, they love me, and can’t deny my truth or humanity. So they struggle. And I’m choosing to be patient with them. I guess I AM trying to get them over to my side of the bridge. Perhaps I am lucky, but they are NOT trying to get me to their side of the bridge. They know I’m gay, they know what I believe, and they know they won’t change that. Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out how to hold hands with them (love them) without hovering in that “middle” that implies something squishy and non-committal. (Also, not necessarily refuting your points; I’m move pivoting off them to share my own experience.)

            • Kevin: Thank you for sharing your own personal experiences. I understand what you’re saying, and can empathize a bit with your situation, as I have been through similar ones myself, though probably nowhere near the degree to which you have.

              I guess, if I had to pick one sticking point for me with all of this “bridge building” stuff, it’s that it mostly seems like people want to build this so-called bridge for its own sake, rather than for any obvious or foreseeable goal or service. Bridges have to lead somewhere, as I said before. The bridge that people talk about here appears to be more about trying to get people to “get along” (or at least pretend to in public) instead of actually accomplishing anything constructive. The further implication, the one they seem to actively seek to obfuscate, is that the true end goal of this exercise is to sweet-talk LGBT people into buying into the evangelical mindset, something that most people would be hard-pressed to call advantageous to us by any rational criteria, considering the evangelical movement’s track record where our rights and human dignity are concerned.

              From the viewpoint of LGBT individuals who are more observant and critically-minded, and less starved for approval from the powers that be, this so-called bridge building looks much more dubious than the favored perception (at least in this particular sphere) would have us believe.

              The bridge building that Marin and his associates are peddling appears to be less about finding common ground (as if there were any to begin with) and more about being vague in order to convince an oppressed people that evangelicals can be their friends. But that’s the thing about friends: true friends fight at your side, no reservations, no demands. What these people are offering is not true friendship, but rather pragmatic evangelism inspired by fear of confrontation, fear of commitment, and a desire to lure the more naive and unsuspecting among the LGBT community into choosing a belief system that is, in most cases, harmful and dehumanizing. It essentially amounts to nothing more than “love the sinner, hate the sin, but let’s just not talk about that last bit so we don’t scare away the prey.” Slap a smile on it, throw around a few hugs here and there, and people are less likely to hightail it so quickly. That squishy, non-committal approach has a purpose, and it’s not to help the LGBT community obtain the legal equality we are entitled to under the Unites States Constitution.

              Most surveys and studies put the number of evangelical Christians in the United States at around 26% of the population. The LGBT community is generally accepted to have 5-10% of the population, probably closer to the 5%. The evangelical community is a well-established social and political power in this country. The LGBT community is only now, after many decades of fighting, starting to reach a point where we have even an inkling of the sort of power and authority evangelicals enjoy. Thus, this would-be relationship that some people claim to be interested in fostering is what some might call unequally yoked, to borrow popular biblical terminology.

              The sort of so-called bridge building that is espoused in this particular circle, then, cannot possibly be tenable, because it is asking a historically disadvantaged group to pretend they have equal footing with a historically privileged group. It asks them, us, to set aside our ideals, goals, and yes, for some, hostilities, and meet the opposition halfway. In essence, it asks us to compromise in our struggle for the sake of…what? Social niceties? Peace and quiet? Feel-good moments? And all we have to do is accept that when we speak up for ourselves, our rights, and our dignity as human beings, someone is going to be right there to tell us that we’re not being fair to the bigots and we really ought to just settle down and be nice to our enemies because their viewpoint is just as valid as ours. But isn’t that just another case of straight people trying to tell us how we’re supposed to feel, how we’re supposed to react, how we’re supposed to engage? Call me crazy, but I’ve always believed that coming out of the closet frees us from any obligation to live, to exist, according to the whims and desires of people who haven’t a clue what our lives are like. They want us to play by their rules when we’ve been living with the consequences of their rules our entire lives. That does not help our advancement into full and equal citizenship. Half-equal is not equal, and we can’t travel all the way to equality when we permit ourselves to take detours that lead in the opposite direction. Crossing this particular bridge does the LGBT community few favors, but golly, it sure does let those bigots feel less like bigots. Nice how that works, huh?

              • Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough reply, Rev. Hunt. I don’t know how to respond other than I hear you and that I’m glad to have you as an ally!! The motives that you describe are indeed detestable. I am sure that there are those out there who have these motives. There’s nothing really to do about people with those motives and those aims. Best ignore and move on. My hope and desire is to find those who don’t have those motives and aims; to establish relationships with earnest people with open hearts. Right now, the only ones I can do that with (really trust) are in my own family. I guess that is the key word–trust. One can’t really build a bridge unless there is some mutual trust, and the evangelical and LGBT worlds are a long way from that. I still have hope that there are trends in the right direction, however.

              • Rev – The bridge building we’re peddling is all about finding common ground. Any other understanding is totally false. I’ve explained that to you before. But you will believe what you do, and that is ok.

              • When I read Rev Hunt’s post, I see more and more of the need to find common ground. This is ironic considering you argued against what Andrew is doing b/c eventually he’s just gonna backdoor the LGBT community to adopt the evangelical mindset. I’ve been following this blog for quite some time and I’ve come to a different conclusion than you do. In fact I sense in your post this “us VS them” mentality that Andrew has pointed out as a problem, which is what he’s trying to address with his foundation. This is the exact same problem that the evangelicals have although your community and the conservatives have opposing viewpoints.

                It’s not just the lgbt community that Andrew encourages to extend the olive branch to, b/c he’s also asking the evangelicals to do the same. Of course, you can argue the evangelicals are in a better position here because all this time they’ve been the oppressors and the lgbt community the victim. I don’t disagree here. Still, it has to start somewhere and both sides need to cooperate if anything is to be achieved.

                I’d like compare Andrew’s cause to the interfaith dialogue between different religions. Take Islam and Christianity. Islam outright denies the deity of Jesus Christ and calls us Christians, pretty much blasphemous for revering Him as something more than a human prophet. We Christians believe them to be, technically speaking, sinful for denying Jesus as God. The two faiths were often at odds with each other throughout history, resulting in violence, deaths, and infringement of basic human rights/freedom (e.g., Crusades, expansion of Islamic empire to the Christian Europe). Today, there are still tensions between them and both sides still cling to their respective beliefs….and Christians in SOME Muslim-majority countries are persecuted by the Muslim hardliners in the worst way possible-killings, jail time, bombed churches.

                To this day Islam and Christianity also still maintain their orthodoxy for the most part and they still contradict each other theologically. However, we have made progress in our interfaith dialogue so that Muslims and Christians can be respectful of each other in spite of our major disagreements. Christians and Muslims don’t forcefully convert each other, or even create a form of religious syncretism (though Chrislam exists LOL) through the interfaith dialogue. Alternatively, I also have staunch atheist friends…our Bible calls them “godless” and they think we’re delusional for believing fairy sky god. I disagree with their life choices and they too, with mine, we’re still friends.

                At some point, lgbt community and the evangelicals need to get over themselves with the fact that the other side won’t surrender their beliefs. Evangelicals will continue believing homosexuality is sin and the lgbt community will beg to differ. Love doesn’t mean total and complete agreement…both sides need to understand that. It matters more how we treat each other. I can’t stand a lot of the evangelical right wing antics like Chick-fil-a, mom group protesting Ellen for JC Penney endorsement, and some Christian group complaining about Neil P Harris in a Super Bowl ad.

                Personally, I have no issue with state-sanctioned gay marriage because of:
                1. Separation b/w church and state
                2. Divorce, adultery, and remarriage do untold damage to the sanctity of marriage, yet the evangelicals don’t propose to legally ban them. Moral inconsistency here! So, why legislate against gay marriage, but not those three sins?

                So, evangelicals should surrender the legal fight and acknowledge past and present mistreatment of the lgbt community–make up for them. I also find it an overreaction from the lgbt community’s part when you call someone who have the SLIGHTEST and I repeat, the SLIGHTEST disagreement with your decision to have gay relationships to be hateful bigots. I understand that this is a knee-jerk reaction from the lgbt community because the Christians have cruelly bullied the gay community in the past and still to the present day. A lot of things are despicable hate crimes against gays and lesbians, but the belief that the “lifestyle” is a sin due to religious reasons don’t count. Separation between church and state must go both ways, EQUALLY, no ifs, ands, or buts. Gay couples can have all the rights they want and religious institutions have also the right to maintain their beliefs and bless any couples their leaderships approve. From this point, the lgbt community and evangelicals can build a healthy, civil, cordial, and respectful relationship. Meeting in the middle and finding as much common ground as we can is possible if you want to, and if you’re willing to work for it.

      • It was a nuanced sermon that was broken into politically expediant soundbites.

        The difference with Wright is that he was the leader of Obama’s church of 20 years who got pushed to the side because of political forces. People want bridge building? Then why not bridge building in the form of reconciliation between the president and his former pastor.

  4. For a guy I usually associate with humility and love I didn’t find much of that in this post, especially as you addressed the men in question. I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but found your tone unfortunate.

    • I have to agree about this Andrew. You seem downright angry here. You have some good insights, but you seem very angry at these men. I hope you are able to sit down with Dr. Mohler some time and discuss these things with him; that may be an important bridge for you to build…
      I did not see this as primarily an issue of political power. I was not bothered that an evangelical was excluded from the inaugural; I was bothered that this man was pressed to step down because his apparent views on human sexuality were being portrayed as hateful and called publically unacceptable. He was demonized and verbally demeaned by some within the administration and many within the LGBT community. This is no way to engage in a helpful public discourse. The administration may listen to conservative Evangelicals in private, but to many people, the inaugural committee’s response to this incident seemed to show a belief that there is no place in public discourse for those same Evangelicals.
      Obama made a concerted effort to reach out to Christians during his first election, but the second time around he engaged in scare tactics and leveraged moral wedge issues (such as gay marriage and abortion) for his own benefit. He has already done much to push away conservative Christians, and this latest incident appears to fit that pattern, regardless of whether Giglio was forced out or not.

  5. I agree with you Andrew, that many noted evangelicals have jumped on this band wagon to stir up some sensationalism over what transpired this week between PIC and Mr. Giglio. But I want to point out that Giglio was not one of them. From your writings you are clearly disappointed, that he did not publicly clarify his present position and beliefs on homosexuality or enter into the discussion on “bridging the gap”. But that was certainly his choice. Giglio was not selected based upon his views on homosexuality from 20 years ago, he was chosen to pray because of the outstanding work he and his ministry team are doing today to raise money and awareness to end human slavery. That is his passion and the cause that he wishes to be vocal about at this time and his “public statement” made that clear. There were clearly no winners in this situation. Everyone lost, especially PIC.

    • John – Indeed it was his choice, and it was strategic on his part not to say anything. There were indeed, clearly no winners.

  6. “I’m talking about the people who the public will never know their names because they are never in front of the camera, and yet play very significant roles in shaping public policy and attempting to navigate the ever-changing landscape of our country.”

    Are you saying these people shouldn’t be reacting to the fact that they will not be represented?

    • JDL – I said that because too many evangelicals cried foul that they “aren’t being represented,” yet in real life they are behind the scenes, even if they potentially won’t have someone pray.

  7. I agree that someone calling what happened a hate crime is crazy talk….but some of your reasonings were the same that I thought when I read an article close to Valentine’s Day last year – in which you compared that singles in the church are treated as bad as those in the LGBT community. I thought it was ridiculous because singles aren’t “physically attacked” or can’t talk to their friends/family about “being single” or nowhere near an outcast like those in the LGBT community. While I realize that sometimes being single in a church is tough I thought the comparison was a bit laughable

    • Jason – I hear you on that. Thanks for pointing it out. I didn’t reference single folks treatment in most church circles as a hate crime. I was making the association in relation to LGBT people who are an active part of a church community, and how many in church communities don’t know what to do with active LGBTs the same as active singles in their midst. Good call though!

  8. Andrew, your argument against Stetzer’s statement is that the President is part of the “other 50%”. Without going to the tired, boring, and vapid “what would the political opposition have done?” stance that is, sadly, a part of way too much of our political discussion, can you please tell me how the President shows leadership over the *entire* country by only surrounding himself with those that agree with him on every last subject?

    Or is the purpose of the inauguration not supposed to be about the United States, but solely about the president? And if the latter, how does the President show leadership through such a narcissistic and infantile stance?

    • Brendt – As I said in the previous post, I think it was a wrong decision if they wanted to have some type of famous evangelical representative – e.g. Rick Warren in 2009 – which is what they originally said. But as the political culture we live in, these days it’s more about representing who you are in public with those who already have a high level of buy in.

  9. Andrew I respect your work. I know that God uses you in a mighty way. Just be careful that you don’t beat up too much on the church and adopt a critical attitude towards it. I am a pastor serving in the body. We strive to be loving and accepting to all. People are people and not labels. Though I will not marry gay people, for me people are just people. The transcendental love of Christ reaches to all and through all labels. Yet sometimes in our passion to build bridges we make the church the bad guy. Be cautious to do what you do while maintaining an attitude of love to your fellow brethren in the body of Christ. No one, is the bad guy here.

    • I hear you Jose. Thanks for the thoughts. I don’t believe people are bad for having different theologies. I think things start to move in a bad direction when they don’t use it with intelligent commentary, but rather blames and accusations, etc, that don’t give any suggestions on how to make things better, other than “it will be better when everyone agrees with me.”

  10. Diversity is not diversity if one draws a line. Tolerance is not tolerance if it’s not practiced. Seems there is a lot of Gigliophobia out there. The president has shown us he can talk about diversity but does not consistently practice it. The LGBT preaches tolerance but can’t seem to practice it. Louie Giglio is a perfect case in point.

  11. I am Christian myself, I love Jesus and I love my Church. And I agree that Xians (particularly “evangelicals”) are privileged in this country. What do you suppose were the odds that the PIC would invite a Jew or a Muslim to give the benediction prayer? Or a Buddhist or Sikh? And why should anyone be invited to pray at all? Isn’t this a civic event? What of separation of church and state? I humbly submit that Constantinianism has been nothing but a nightmare for Xianity.

    And how should we EXPECT for the LGBTQ community to react to the invitation of a man who also believes that LGBTQ folks are “abominations” to publicly pray for the US, on behalf of the chief executive? I don’t think they were right to bully Giglio. But I understand their indignation. Giglio didn’t have to step down, but I’m glad he did.

  12. Thanks for your reflections here, Andrew. I’m new to this blog, but I have found much to appreciate here. Just a thought, though… you might also consider adding “Updated” to the title of this post to reflect Lyons’ retraction. Take it or leave it… either way, no worries! Thanks again!

    • Thanks Nate! I have added asterisks to the portion I talk about Gabe, as well as at the end of the post, with references to the change.

  13. Andrew, thank you as always for taking the time to write a thoughtful, insightful and intelligent commentary on what I think is an unfortunate series of events.

    Putting aside the specifics of what anyone said about Louie Giglio, either positively or negatively, this entire episode is a microcosm of what is wrong with our country and our culture. The fact of the matter is that we’ve become a people obsessed with overreaction. No matter how insignificant an action, event or word is, our response (both “right” and “left”) is to become completely unhinged and immediately take the most ridiculously marginal position possible.
    — PIC/WH: Louie Giglio to deliver benediction at President Obama’s innauguration.
    — Most of the world: Yawn. Who’s Louie Giglio?
    — LGBT Activists: WHAT?? Back in 1990-whatevver, this man preached a sermon promoting a literal interpretation of scripture. He hates gay people and wants us all to die and burn in hell.
    — Media: We DEMAND a clarification from Giglio.
    — Giglio: No, thank you.
    — PIC/WH: Ummmm, Houston we have a problem. Hey, Louis, if you want to pull out we’ll let you. *HINT HINT*
    — Giglio: OK.
    — LGBT Activists: HOORAY!! We successfully derailed a prayer to be given by a hatemonger who wants us all dead and burning in hell.
    — Evangelicals: This is a hate crime against evangelicals. Seeee, we told you, Obama is the antichrist and wants all Christians dead.
    — Most of the world: Ughh…forget it! All of these people are crazy. Let them duke it out and destroy each other and leave us alone.

    My point here is what I’ve said to both my fellow members of the LGBT community and my fellow evangelical Christians: we cannot continue taking these radical positions on both sides, saying ridiculous and hateful things about each other and expect to make any headway. Most of the world doesn’t give a rip who prays at the innauguration. Most of the world doesn’t even know there is about to be another one. Most of the world is fighting to stay alive because they are hungry, thirsty, sick, oppressed and homeless. (Wait, didn’t Jesus say something about those folks?) Meanwhile we act as if the world is coming to an end because a guy is giving a benediction and then because he’s not. What are we doing?????

    “As you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me.” ~Jesus

    ….end of rant….