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January 10th, 2013
12:07 PM ET

Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor


(CNN)–
In the face of withering criticism over a sermon he apparently delivered on homosexuality in the 1990s, the Rev. Louie Giglio has withdrawn from giving the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Giglio informed inauguration officials Thursday morning of his decision to withdraw from the ceremony, an inauguration official told CNN.

"I am honored to have been invited by the president to give the benediction at the upcoming inauguration on January 21," Giglio said in a statement delivered to the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "Though the president and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms."

"Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ."

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Giglio, a pastor and the leader of the Passion Movement, was chosen to deliver the benediction because he's a "powerful voice for ending human trafficking and global sex slavery" and due to his work in mobilizing young people in that effort, an inauguration official said earlier in the week when the reverend's selection was first announced.

Criticism over the selection swirled after the liberal website Think Progress posted a sermon that it said Giglio gave in the mid-1990s, a speech the site called "vehemently anti-gay."

A spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee said the committee was "not aware of Pastor Giglio's past comments at the time of his selection and they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural."

"As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans," said PIC spokeswoman Addie Whisenant.

In an audio copy of the sermon posted on the Think Progress website, a voice identified as that of Giglio's called homosexuality a sin. "That's God's voice. If you want to hear God's voice, that is his voice to this issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear."

"If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle... homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the word of God."

The recording continues: "The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus."

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"We've got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me... it's not easy to change, but it is possible to change," he can also be heard saying during the sermon.

Giglio is a rising voice in evangelical Christianity. Last week, the Passion conference, which he founded, wrapped up its annual event for college students in Atlanta, with more than 60,000 students attending and vowing to end global slavery. They raised $3 million for charities that work to stop slavery and aid its victims.

Giglio said Thursday that he and his team don't 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," Giglio's statement to the White House continued.

"Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God's grace and mercy in our time of need," it concluded.

Giglio took to his church blog Thursday to further explain his position to his congregants at Passion City Church in Atlanta.

"The issue of homosexuality (which a particular message of mine some 20 years ago addressed) is one of the most difficult our nation will navigate. However, individuals' rights of freedom, and the collective right to hold differing views on any subject is a critical balance we, as a people, must recover and preserve," he wrote.

He asserted that his main goal as a pastor was to love people.

"I'm confident that anyone who knows me or has listened to the multitude of messages I have given in the last decade would most likely conclude that I am not easily characterized as being opposed to people - any people. Rather, I am constantly seeking to understand where all people are coming from and how to best serve them as I point them to Jesus."

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Giglio's decision to withdraw was the right one.

"Participants in the inaugural festivities should unite rather than divide. Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his inaugural," Griffin said in a statement.

Giglio represents a new type of evangelical leader who "doesn't like to get involved in the culture war because it blurs the larger points he wants to make," said Michael Cromartie, the vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington.

"What I want to remind his critics is he's not being named to a Cabinet position," Cromartie said. "He was being asked to deliver a prayer. All sorts of people deliver prayers who we don't agree with on a number of issues."

"It's unfortunate that this kind of political correctness doesn't allow people who are doing great work to pray at inauguration," he added.

CNN's Athena Jones contributed to this report

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (1,699 Responses)
  1. coriolana

    good no one need to hear more hate from such as he.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Larry Clinton

      Sorry there, but disagreeing does not equal hate. You can disapprove, even hate, the practice without hating the individual. It is what the Bible says whether you agree or not. I happen to agree, but do not hate anyone.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • The Truth

      "Remember, you are to preach the gospel, and not the Bible."

      January 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • David

      Love the sinner – but Hate the sin.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Todd

      "I happen to agree, but do not hate anyone."

      Then allow gays their civil right to get married, otherwise it's hate.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Pete

      "Love the sinner – but Hate the sin."

      Stupid xtians you're quoting Gandhi.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      david: how can something that is not a choice be a sin?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Y Feo

      The temptation is not the choice, the choice is falling in it. Just like adultery.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  2. St Xavier

    It's beyond me why people still want to convert you me an other to there way of belief in GOD. I do believe in GOD in my own way because I truely believe there is a GOD. To day other think by go to buildings of all types is where GOD is for me this is not so, I don't have to go to any where except to my on self in proviet an talk for me he is all ways there I don't have to wait for any day set aside to bring GOD into my heart an mind he's all ways there when I want him. GOD for is every where all you have to do is say is HELLO GOD I'm here.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Yeah

      You might also want to go to a school where they teach English and say "Hello teacher! I words use right not!"

      January 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Duane

    I enjoy reading people troll one another. (Sarcasm) Just goes to show that America really isn't united and is falling apart... And many "secular" americans love harassing the religious folk. Not just christians but religious in general.

    When America was thriving it definitely didn't look this way.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      When America was thriving women were expected to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, blacks were set upon by dogs and/or hung from trees for sport. America wasn't go great back "when America was great."

      January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Oh really now?

      Internet trolling = America falling apart.

      Nice non sequitur. Hysterical much?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Duane

      Funny thing is that Evangelicals were the ones that helped break through some of those hard times. Slave trade may still be around if it weren't for William Wilberforce. The salve comment you make doesn't really help your stance for "ending religion".

      January 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • The Truth

      There never has been a time in the past that was better, that we should strive for. Except maybe the first few moments in the Garden of Eden.

      It is in the future. The kingdom of God. :)

      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      The Truth: No, it isn't

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Duane you've got blinders on. Slavery was not undone by a person. It took many, religious and non. The hypocritical aspect, however, is that god condones and expects his adherents to have slaves. The bible is clear.

      Just as now, outrageously, the bible is clear one is expected to kill gays. And here we are again fighting to find empathy and assert rights for those whom Religion wants trodden upon.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  4. William Demuth

    Christianity is at it's core an agregious form of slavery.

    Ironic isn't it, that he actually promotes that which he decries!!

    If Obama had charachter, he will NOT put up a replacement

    Ancient cult rituals have no place in our government

    January 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      I disagree with this. Ugh.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Yeah

      I disagree with your disagreeing.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • David

      Yes, godless atheism fits our country now better than ever!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Sniffles

      I disagree with your disagreeing about disagreeing disagreeably.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • David

      Whoever sins is a slave to sin.

      But when the Son sets you free - you are free indeed!

      And THIS is the TRUTH!

      (and your rejection of the Truth does not make it one wit less True)

      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • Robert S

      William...you're just making up things and offer no proof at all. I guess you think that how you define things makes them true, but in the end there is an objective truth and you will be subject to it just like the rest of us.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      Godless atheism?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      David: And your claiming it is the truth does not make it so

      January 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Robert S

      Really?

      Read up on Jonestown! Mothers killing their babies for Christ

      Your cult is a weak willed cesspool of emotional failures who suspend even basic rationality out of a fear of death

      Luckily for us, you still die, and just like old Jeebus, you shall stay dead.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  5. tutuvabene

    So, that was in the 1990's. Has anyone asked him how he feels today or is the guy damned to hell for eternity?

    January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • jwt

      He had a chance to refute his 1990 sermon and did not take that opportunity. Thuis he still holds to it.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • End Religion

      when one commits a sin one is damned to hell for eternity. Why expect any different from a christian who made a mistake? Afterall, he finds the rules of that game acceptable.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • sam

      He did have the opportunity to make his current thoughts known, but I'll bet that rather than have more spotlight time (knowing that it would easily just become a big controversy), he's just bowing out rather than continue percussive maintenance on that deceased equine.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  6. David

    "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar ". This means you keep your belief and I'll keep mine and you will not intrude on my belief and I will nor intrude on your belief. This is what Christ did. Christ simply walked his path and those who followed, followed freely, and those who did not did not of their own free will... Christianity is not about judging and bullying, it is about the “faith with our father above” and not about “forced to join or die”... Christianity is about self choice free choice.... This is why Christ died because we tend to attack the choices of one another. It is about choice. A Free-Willed Choice with no pressure... Everyone lived with their own free willed decision.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • William Demuth

      David

      You over look an imporatant part of this.

      Ceasar (thru proxies) killed Christ, thus proving Ceasars claim to that which you might want to give to God.

      Your duty and debt goes first to country, and if the countries chooses to leave you anything left, you may then give it to God.

      Otherwise, you get nailed up on a pair of 2×4's

      January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      God didn't need Ceaser's money.

      Ceaser didn't kill Jesus Christ. He lives.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • David

      I believe Jesus also preached "Repent or you will perish" everywhere He went.

      And that's an essential part of the message of the Gospel – which He has commanded us to teach.

      He never told any of us to 'be silent'. But, He did tell us that many of His followers would be persecuted - even to the death - by those who refuse to believe the Truth.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • mikehipp

      David. Well said but you, apparently, don't live in or have never been in the south where a particular form of Christianity called evangelicalism is as rampant as are mosquitoes at a dump by the river.

      Evangelicalism tells its followers to go out and recruit and not only that, but they are to take over the government and legislate their morality as well. Evangelicalism is the Taliban of the Americas.

      If Christians acted like you say they should act, absolutely, then this would not be an issue. This preacher, and his ilk, though, are not the types of Christians that you're talking about.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Larry Clinton

      Nice misapplication of a discussion on secular responsibilities of Christians there. Read the context next time.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      David: Free will is not compatible with an omniscient god

      January 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • David

      Bloodshed and die by the sward ended at the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      Yet, David, the bloodshed continues and people continue to die by the swOrd. So, the "sacrifice" (how can a being that lives forever be sacrificed?) was useless

      January 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
  7. nO POST

    Just because it is a sin does not mean we cannot tolerate them as human beings. We believers in Christ are still sinners and will be until death. If Jesus has compassion on us sinners, it is our job to show compassion to EVERYONE else. Remember who we once were before Christ.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • jwt

      it is not a sin for all christians and not a sin at all for non-christians.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • norman

      youre ridiculous-tolerate us? you go to hell and die please-thanks!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Blue Sox

      Nicely put. Thank you.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  8. Just Watching

    I don't see any hate in this guys sermon. I see his opinion but I don't see him "spewing" anything and i don't hear words of hate. He seems to be a person of good and meaningful works who thinks one thing while you think another. The inauguaral committee is certainly within their rights to select someone who more reflects their world view but since he was chosen to bring Human Trafficing to the forefront, it seems that view loses in deference to the political expedience of pleasing the LGBT community. And I really wonder why the atheists in the crowd even care who gives the benediction. If you don't believe then you don't get to have a voice in the converstion of who should represent that belief. And i don't agree with most of the christians here either. You do the same thing you claim your opponent does. Just because you have a belief system doesnt mean the rest of us have to live by it. To say that "Only God can change a persons heart " is to ignore the fact that other people dont even believe in god. Worry about your own soul but please leave other people alone. Reagrdless of what you think, it's not a christian country and we all don't have to live by your rules. And BravesGal: If you are wrong you have wasted your life and made the rest of us miserable instead of advancing the human experience.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      He is promulgating the hate existent in his bible. God clearly says, "kill gays." This Gigolo dude says, "God is right." he is condoning and promoting as "righteous" the same hatred and nonsensical violence.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • David

      So, you are just advocating a kinder, gentler form of censorship here - 'just be quiet and worry about our own souls'.

      I'd love to, but my Lord command us to do this:

      "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
      and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
      Matt 28:19-20

      Sure, the majority of people we share the Truth with will reject it - that's what our Master Himself told us in the story of the 'Narrow Road'.

      But, there are still a few people on whom the seeds of Truth will fall and will find fertile ground.

      Please - we are ALL free to speak (so far) in this country. Quit trying to silence us - the voices of the world are already in the cacaphonous majority!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • norman

      David, kindly go to hell-thank you!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      There's no censorship: the gigolo is free to speak his mind, just not at the inauguration. And anywhere else in public it will suffer the appropriate scorn and derision. Advocating an imaginary creature's desire for the death of very real humans deserves all the scorn we can muster.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      David: I see that the famous Christian persecution complex is in full bore with you

      January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Just Watching

      David – There are Muslims who say their god told them to go kill anyone who is not a Muslim ... should I lay down and let them do it because their god told them to? If you think I will fight you for freedom from your god any less than i would fight them for fredom from their god you need to re-asess. And I didn't try to silence you and neither is anyone else. Christians have the loudest voice by far in the US and everytime you claim there is a war on Chritianity you are really just demonstarting your fear that you are losing control. Your quote says "Teach" not force. You are no less extreme than the Taliban, you just use different threats. Leave me in peace to go to hell or not as I wish.The vast majority of the misery done to one human by another followed the words "My lord commands me". What you see as your greatest asset, we see as your greatest failure. Your inability to tolerate beliefs other than your own only serves to make you angry, and that anger will keep you out of yoru god's heaven. As for you "End Religion" – the bible in no way says to "Kill Gays" ... if you refer to Leviticus you need to go back and read it again (to a version before King James misinterpretation destroys all context). This is a justification the extremists use to justify their own hate and doesn't really exist. Your use of it in reverse is weird considering this guy was never reported to have said any such thing. Dumping "them" all in one boat is what "They" do to gays. so stop and think before you gather rocks for your own stoning.

      January 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  9. IMHO

    Obviously a case of liberal censorship. How is it that liberals are only liberal if you agree with them. Any kind of criticism of their "accepted beliefs" is vehemently quashed.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Tom

      No, this is a success for anti-hate advocates everywhere, both conservative and liberal.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • David

      That's their definition of 'tolerance' – agree with me or we will censure you, remove your right to free speech, revoke your rights, and ultimately, send you to the cross - just like they did our Master.

      Maranatha!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • sam

      No. You know better, you're just stirring shit for the fun of it.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • David

      Oh – and as "Tom" puts it – don't speak the Truth – that's "hateful".

      Deceived – all of them.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • sam

      David, one person's truth is easily...bigotry. Give it a rest.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • End Religion

      David, he hasn't been denied the right to speak, just not in that forum which is invitation only. The gigolo is free to speak in dank, watery basements surrounded by 3-4 other nose-picking, gently rocking Religitards.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • sam

      The president is supposed to be everyone's president, so it's kind of hard to have a guy come speak when you know he disapproves of a whole section of American society. That's not going to fly.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      David: And the pseudo-Christian's view of tolerance is "believe what i believe or my god is going to fry you forever"

      January 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  10. Vidyashanti

    Neither Conservatives not liberals have learned to forget and forgive.
    Move on. Don't carry with you hate and grudges.
    Why we are squandering away our precious time in these worthless exercise?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      You forgive and forget when someone says "I'm sorry; I was wrong." I don't believe that has happened.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      Conservatives will say "forgive and forget" if they ever see office. That's the game. Do everything to stop progress while not in office, then once in office say, "Let's put out differences aside. Please come together and do what we want."

      January 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  11. mike

    It is a sin and that is all there is to it.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • jwt

      Since you hold that particular interpretation you also know that it applies only to you and to noody else.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Tom

      So, where are you on other sins? Or is this the only one that you feel the need to enforce?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Topher

      How is that an "interpretation"? The Bible states it very clearly.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • James

      The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • sam

      Giving sermons that rail against gays? Yes, I agree, it is a sin.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • jwt

      Since quite a few christian churches support gays and gay marriage then it is an interpretation – just not a universal one.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • sam

      Topher, christians can call it whatever they like, but the rest of the world is not going to live by it.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Topher

      sam

      "Topher, christians can call it whatever they like, but the rest of the world is not going to live by it."

      Oh, I know. But that doesn't change the fact God holds it as an "abomination."

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • sam

      Christians hold it as an abomination from the OT. Keep eating shellfish, though.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Topher

      jwt

      "Since quite a few christian churches support gays and gay marriage then it is an interpretation – just not a universal one."

      That's a little misleading, don't you think? To the best of my knowledge, only one Christian denomination has officially endorsed same-se.x marriage.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Topher

      sam

      "Christians hold it as an abomination from the OT. Keep eating shellfish, though."

      It's in the NT, too. You clearly haven't done much Bible research, have you? The shellfish law passed away with the new covenant. The morals laws were kept.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • frank

      Topher – you're ridiculous. Do you think that some Christian ministers will soon be performing gay marriages at the National Cathedral in Washington, that it just might be a sign that other Christians don't have the same interpretation as you do? Get over yourself.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      topher doing his infamous Cherry Picking Dance...

      January 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Todd

      "only one Christian denomination has officially endorsed same-se.x marriage."

      No, that's not true.

      All of these support it.

      Church of Denmark
      Church of Norway
      Church of Scotland
      Church of Sweden
      Episcopal
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
      Metropolitan Community Church
      Old Catholic
      Pentecostal
      Presbyterian Church (USA)
      Protestant Church in the Netherlands
      Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
      Roman Catholic Church
      Swedenborgian
      Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches
      Unification Church
      United Church of Canada
      United Church of Christ
      Unity School of Christianity
      Waldensian

      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • jwt

      Some one posted a list here of quite a few. Enlighenment is coming.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • frank

      @Topher: United Church of Christ, and some Unitarian, I believe. Certainly not just now the Episcopals.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • js

      let's face it – many people already have their beliefs, and they try to make the Bible fit their beliefs instead of trying to figure out what it is actually saying. how dare it not line up with our imperfect societal ideas!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • sam

      Topher, please. Morals? Honestly. I'll just stand back and let the other posters eat you alive on this one.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Topher

      Todd

      Not all of those are orthodox. That aside, do those churches as a whole endorese it, or individual churches within endorse it? And are you possibly confusing them allowing gays in the church with the marriage issue? Because the story in today's newspaper disagrees with you.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • 261 Ministers Proclamation

      As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

      In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

      -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

      –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

      –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

      –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

      Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Topher

      And guess what? *Gasp* not everyone thinks like you, and you have no right to deny a civil right based on your backwards religion. I know that it might be difficult for you to grasp the concept that not everyone follows your specific brand, but at least try.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Todd

      " confusing them allowing gays in the church with the marriage issue? "

      No, they support gay marriage as well.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Topher

      frank

      "United Church of Christ, and some Unitarian, I believe. Certainly not just now the Episcopals."

      Yeah, United Church of Christ is the one I knew of. But if I remember the story right, the Episcopal church isn't endorsing it, just that single church.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      mike: if you feel it is a sin, don't participate in it. is that so tough? or, do you feel the need to stick your nose in others' bedrooms?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      Topher: You have no authority to speak for god.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Topher

      From the Associated Press story in today's newspapers ...

      "Official Episcopal law still defines marriage as between a man and a woman, so the cathedral says it will be performing weddings that combine civil marriage ceremonies under local law with a blessing from the church. They will use the new language approved for same-se.x couples instead of the marriage ceremony from the Book of Common Prayer. Only one major U.S. Protestant group, the United Church of Christ, has endorsed same-se.x marriage outright."

      January 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Topher

      Sam

      I have the Bible. That's all the authority I need.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Todd

      Topher, then that newspaper didn't do thorogh research.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • frank

      Topher: "But if I remember the story right, the Episcopal church isn't endorsing it, just that single church."

      Like I said before, that it is should be an indicator that others have a different interpretation on the matter. It's quite obvious that this is a sign of change for Episcopals. There have already been great strides in that church regarding same-se x unions and positions that can be held by gays. That we see this happening at their flagship church, I'm sure is a sign that we will see more in the states where it is legal (which or course is growing).

      January 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Topher

      frank

      Yeah, but the problem is this church. The Episcopals have been known to not hold a lot of the Bible to a high standard. In fact, if you keep reading that AP story, it talks about how much internal strife there is there. Large numbers of individual churches are breaking away over this. When you get squishy on one issue, it inevitably leads to being squishy on others. Pretty soon, you're not obeying God or His word at all. And at what point can you no longer be called a Christian?

      January 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • frank

      Topher – "And at what point can you no longer be called a Christian?"

      Well that's the nature of Christianity, Topher – from the earliest ones. They argued and split into different factions from the beginning. Which Gospel of Mark is discounted? They've never been able to agree on anything and so the story falls apart. It's so obvious.

      January 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
  12. Duane

    I think debating this on a blog does a lot of good... Oh wait...

    January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • js

      Yep! Give someone a mask and a keyboard and let 'em loose! That should solve the world's problems.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  13. peninsulap

    Thanks be to the computer scientists who gave us the internet. If you make public statements that are bigoted, they will follow you for life. It would have been a choice for good had he taken this moment to publicly reject his hate and prejudices and make himself relevant and a sympathetic character. Oh well, his loss.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  14. tc_jimbo

    I guess the Inaugural Committee's 'desire to celebrate the strength and diversity' doesn't include Christians. 'Diversity' must mean only people that think like them.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." – Inigo Montoya

    January 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Dispalcedmic

      Man, you just love carrying that cross, huh?

      He didn't withdraw because he is Christian – he withdrew because someone found out he made bigoted comments against the gays.

      I don't see why he can't just say he's changed his opinion on that issue (if that's the case) but if not then people have a right to complain that he's leading the ceremony. He wasn't forced to withdraw, nor does he face any sort of legal persecution for his opinions.

      Diversity is not bigotry.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  15. De Odorizer

    Nothing but trouble with religion. As if a man can't change his views on things. In this case, the liberals should shut up, there is plenty of evidence that they are acknowledged, the poet invited to the inauguration happens to be hispanic and gay.
    So let the minister do his thingie. I could care less about that part, but why upset the process.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  16. anon

    I would too, Obama is a murderer

    January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • midwest rail

      And here you have it folks – from "anon", the true face of contemporary Christianity in America today. Arrogant, condescending, and hateful.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  17. WachetAuf

    Religion, on balance, is a repressive force in our world. Had it not been co-opted by satan's henchmen it might be a liberating force (you have heard about Jesus' message of tolerance, haven't you?). But, satan's henchmen seek power for themselves – malignant narcissism. That malignant narcissism been amplified in the herd and has evolved into pathology – a real sickness which is destroying our world. The ironic thing is that the force which drives that evil comes from within the established "churches" – especially those who are called "Christian" and "Muslim". The more "conservative' they see themselves, the more Jesus' message of tolerance is held in contempt.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • nO POST

      I agree with your post. We "Christians" are the cause of others pointing the finger at us. If we were anything like Jesus, we would not point the finger and place everyone else under our noses. It is our job only to tell others of Christ in a humble and sincere way. If they accept than that is great – if they dont we should not critisize or judge – just leave them alone and pray for them with love.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  18. nO POST

    Scripture is quite honest about what we as Christians can expect from a life devoted to Christ. Jesus proclaimed, 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33 niv). Because we seek to live by biblical values, the world does not understand our motivation and will therefore often stand against us.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • M

      Amen!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Really??

      Scripture literally means that which is written. So someone who later was referred to as John, but written decades after the event was alleged to have taken place, wrote about it and you accept it as truth. Way to jump to unjustiyable conclusion. The world of reality exists outside of your story book.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Topher

      So true.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      My invisible pink unicorn is praying that you get a clue.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • David

      "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
      They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

      2 Timothy 4:3-4

      We live in those days.

      But, Maranatha!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • ron

      That's exactly the same philosophy the Muslims use. And yet we don't say we don't understand them, we condemn them. That's the troubles with religion. Everybody's image of God is the right one, and the only one. And no one else can understand them.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • De Odorizer

      I am not into biblical values... So don't speak for me.
      I don't care about animal sacrifices, kosher food, stoning, excluding people who don't believe what I believe. I don't claim others go to hell while I will reside with Jesus and the dove. I can't focus on just one god alone while there are so many other lovely gods out there... see my point?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • sam

      Feel free to live by biblical values...and then understand that those of us who don't do not have to listen to you, or support your views. That's how a diverse society survives.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • WachetAuf

      To Really?

      Your analysis is incomplete. Yes, you may have a good argument about "authenticity". The scripture does seem to be full of a lot of "hearsay". However, there are other ways to "authenticate" things. First, your argument does not attack the substance of the message. Second, my observations of history, of the human mind, my life experiences teach me that anyone who stands up to declare new "truths" will be ostracized by the herd and even murdered. Jesus' simple message was one of tolerance, yet he was murdered for daring to speak out. "Christians" refuse to incorporate tolerance into their lives. They seem to prefer intolerance and cower in their narrow small minded little communities.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      every cult has its persecution complex. It is a necessary component to keep adherents glued to the absurdity.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      "We're being persercuted for Jeebus, we're being persecuted for Jeebus!"

      January 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  19. wallybird1234

    This is the "GLBT Spring" – Americans have had DECADES to treat us with respect and legal equality, but instead many focused and pushed bigotry to the extremes.

    Well guess what? We're done with being Mr. Nice guy. It's true, we DO have an agenda, and forefront on it is obtaining legal equality. If Americans don't let it happen, we will FORCE IT ON YOU just like African Americans had to do. Bigots, you had the opportunity all along to do right. But you didnt. You made your own bed, lay in it!

    Be sure to stay tuned for this summer – when SCOTUS is going to give DOMA a smackdown. There is nothing you can do about it except MOVE if you dont like it.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Bill C

      You have the same legal rights I do. I can marry pretty much any woman I want (except certain blood relatives, but I am sure that taboo will fall soon as well.) So can you. So don't give me this "we don't have equality" BS. Sure you do. I am limited in who I can marry. I can't marry siblings (not that I would want to) I can't marry more than one person, and I can't marry a minor. Neither can you. Any other woman is pretty much fair game.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • wallybird1234

      sorry, Bill C, that argument was tried and failed in every court in which is was presented.

      You might for instance take a read of Loving v. Virginia, where it was argued each had the "right" to marry anyone they wanted as long as it was the same race. SCOTUS was unanimous (as in, 9-0) in rejecting that argument.

      NEXT...

      January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • sam

      Nice try, Bill. But you still got pwnd.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • McVicker

      Bill C, you are pretty confident in your assertion that you "can marry pretty much any woman [you] want."
      I wonder what pretty much any woman would say.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  20. Greenspam

    Well, according to the Bible, Jesus said that it's easier for a sheep to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to go to heaven. So, modern Republican is a contradiction – they are pro-rich and pro-religion.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • M

      Camel? REALLY?! hahaha...when you try to be clever, try being right. LOL

      January 10, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • tokencode

      He's religious, he is used to being neither clever nor right.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Lagos

      Thanks for missing the point.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.