Evangelical pastor and popular conference speaker Louie Giglio was invited this week to deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama’s public inauguration ceremony on January 21, calling it a “privilege.” But Giglio has now withdrawn his participation because of the backlash the invitation created from gay activist groups. Liberal journalists have published scathing indictments of Giglio’s stance on homosexuality, quoting a sermon Giglio delivered in the ’90s on the subject.
Giglio wrote a letter to the White House Thursday, which he shared with The Christian Post, explaining that he refuses to be a part of the gay debate, saying his message at the benediction would be “dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”
“Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years,” Giglio wrote. “Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ. … Neither I, nor our team, feel it best serves the core message and goals we are seeking to accomplish to be in a fight on an issue not of our choosing, thus I respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation. I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so. I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day. Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever we need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.”
Giglio had participated in the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House last year. Obama has also praised Giglio’s Passion movement for its fight against human trafficking. Similar criticism and anti-gay accusations were given from the liberal media when pastor and author Rick Warren participated in the 2009 inauguration ceremony.