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 Louie Giglio has withdrawn from giving the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration.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
The truth hurts and no one wants to accept it. He was speaking the truth according to the Word of God. Its unnatural and something is wrong, and not right! Good luck finding a real Pastor that pleases God, and that God accepts him as his servant. Otherwise, the prayer and the benediction will be a waste of time....
For those who don't believe in prayer, I challenge you to visit a hospital and ask a seasoned doctor about prayer and the things they have seen. You'll be surprised what they will tell you....
No I wouldn't I ask them all the time.
Few if any believe do, but they do often lie about it
They also asked to tell you to pay your bills and use some damn birth control, you yahoos breed like roaches
Here is truth:
No evidence of any kind has ever been found anywhere in the universe, from the smallest subatomic particle to the expanses of the cosmos, that anything supernatural exists or ever happened. There is no evidence of any deity. None.
The only support a religious personcan give is his scripture, but all scriptures have fatal flaws and contradictions in them that totally discredit them. Jesus, for example, said that prayer will work absolutely, exactly as you ask, including having a mountain throw itself into the sea. He also said that the kingdom of god would come down on earth, including a long list of supernatural super-events, in the lifetime of those listening to him. Both are totally wrong. Gods cannot be wrong. Jesus is therefore not god, and Christianity is false. All other religions deconstruct that way as well.
That is truth. You are simply labeling your imagination "truth", but saying it does not make it so.
I'm sorry, "ceg10", but "He", "God" and "Word of God" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
Of the five doctors I know personally (2 GPs, 1 Ortho, 1 coronary specialist, 1 Neuro), only one believes prayer does any good, and she will tell you that the only person prayer benefits is the one praying.
My wife is a doctor. I've asked her. Prayer does not ever accomplish a darn thing.
Why is it that you religiots go to a hospital at all.
Why don't you just pray to get better.
Oh, that's right, because science make sick people get better, prayer does nothing.
" The truth hurts and no one wants to accept it. He was speaking the truth according to the Word of God. Its unnatural "
Except, of course, that not only is this not the truth, it is a lie.
1500+ species of mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, etc., exhibit hômosèxuality. Thus, by definition, it is natural since it occurs across nature.
Giglio was giggling to much.
Anyone else notice how there is a religion article on CNN almost everyday so religious people can be bashed on and religious people can bash on non-religious people? New World Order I tell you! HAHAHAHA. Those illuminati are clever
It's called hits for advertising dollars.
Really? You are surprise to find religious articles on the Belief Blog? And you think it is a global conspiracy?
Just because we uses poster IP addresses to hunt down and kill Fundies does NOT make this a conspiracy
I love all the people who don't believe in God talking about God. They post on here a lot.
It's called sarcasm you idiots! Get a life!
"I love all the people who don't believe in God talking about God. They post on here a lot"
Because making light of jesustards is fun.
GOOD! Cause as a Christian – I don't want him having anything to do with this horrific and tyrannical President!!!
As a self-styled "christian", you are also taking the name of christ's reported teachings and faking your following them.
Would you please list all his tyrannical actions?
This should be good for a laugh.
Please state, explicitly and in detail, how your life has been adversely impacted by the so-called "tyranny" of the current administration. Actual concrete examples from *your* life only, please, not something you heard about or saw on the Internet.
Wow, you're so Christ-like!
It's the Red Neck way of saying "He's Black"
Still waiting for that list of tyrannical actions, Meade. Let's see it.
Of course he is going to run away. They always do.
you know bearing false witness is totally against the commandments right meade?
Faux News is calling you....
Who would win in a fight between "Yahweh" (aka. God) and "Jesus"?
Thor would both of their butts.
"There's only one God, ma'am, and He doesn't dress like that."
I believe this would be called a "circle jerk"
If you throw in Space Ghost, it becomes a Mongolian Cluster Fuack
Dooshebag preacher says what?
Those who hate Christ will always create doubt and excuses. The Good Book is clear. Christians pray for the repentance of gays and their lifestyles. Muslims kill them. You may not like Christianity, but at least you can co-exist with them. Straight up.
If it was really that clear then there would be so many churches and Christians endorsing the gay lifestyle because in 2012 they know the real truth about being gay.
I'm sorry, "itsthetruth", but "Christ" and "The Good Book" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".
I don't hate christ, I just doubt that he existed and if he did, I don't believe all of the legend created around him. The "good book" was created by men and is fallible, just like the men who wrote it. Men embelish stories and since most od the christ stories were handed down, until they were written decades after they were supposwed to have happened, the credibility is highly questionable at the very least.
Is bigotry easier if you call it a "lifestyle"?
Gays have nothing to repent for,
Except if you are an African Christian. Then it's cool to kill gay people.
Fuc king religitards.
Pssst. Nothing to hate. He wasn't a real person!
Overwhelmingly, historians agree that Jesus was a real man that did exist. There simply is too much evidence of his existence, not simply from the Bible, but from historians at the time. Now, you may not believe he is who he said he was, yet there is little doubt that he did exist and was written about as having "magical" or special powers by historians at the time, most notably Josephus. Because you do not believe in Jesus, does not negate the likihood and belief that he was a real person in that time who did great things. Sorry, but you need to read historical context before making assumptions based on your faith or lack thereof.
The Josephus passages are thought by many to be a later addition, not actually written by Josephus. I don't have my references at hand at the moment, but there have been comparisons of the writing to other passages in the same text and inconsistencies have been found.
On top of that Josephus was not a contemporary of Jesus. He was born in 37 CE, after Jesus supposedly died.
"not simply from the Bible, but from historians at the time"
There is not one single shred of contemporary evidence that jesus ever existed. Josephus was 70 years after the so called death of jesus. There is not a single shred of evidence or record in Jewish or Roman record keeping or writing that mentions Jesus that dates to the actual time that jesus was supposed to have lived. Pliny, Josephus, the gospels are all significantly dated. There is nothing ever recorded between years 1 and years 35AD.
Not one shred of evidence.
Good for the Pastor. Obama should find another fake Christian, like himself, to deliver the benediction. While some people swear Obama is a Muslim, I disagree. He is also not a real Christian either. He's just a faker with no allegiance to the whole truth of the Bible. He picks and chooses what he wants to agree with for his own purposes while reserving the right to change his mind at any time, in allegiance to his true lord, namely himself.
Awwww look at the judging Christian.
"He picks and chooses what he wants to agree with for his own purposes while reserving the right to change his mind at any time"
You just described every jesus tard I have ever met.
Anyone who lives by the bible as it is written would be rightly jailed, if not executed. So everyone who claims Christianity picks and chooses. You just pick differently than Obama does.
You can't really blame Obama for not really wanting to worship fake Jewish White People.
Just to be clear... This Jeff is not the same Jeff as below..... Now that's clear. :)
good for you that you are authorized to determine who is a "real" christian and who is not. now, boy, shove your bible up your rectum
Picking and choosing? You mean kinda like this pastor who thinks being gay is a sin....yet I'm quite sure he eats shellfish and wears two different kinds of cloth at the same time, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.
This is pretty much correct.
This entire discussion is an example of what is wrong with the world. Somewhere along the way, people got the idea that everyone had to agree on everything otherwise they can't be civil, let alone friendly. It's absurd. Like your 4 year old selves are taking over. I don't agree with everything my parents believed but that doesn't mean I don't love them. The same is probably true for most of you too. So by extension, we can still be civil and friendly to others that we don't agree with.
Lets tie this back to the inaguration, do you think that President Obama was elected only by people that agreed with him on every single issue? I voted for him and I don't agree with him on several things. So why should the speakers at the inaguration be any different?
Because even having a ceremony is tacit approval of religion.
In case you haven't noticed, many of us believe it is all bul@@it, and find even the slightest interaction between state and church totally unaaceptable.
I suppose the fundies will understand when the cult in favor is no longer Christianity, but rather Buddisim or Wiccanisim
Would you feel differently if this clown was a Muslim being catered to by your government and being given a platform for his rhetorical puke?
Jeff, what if a Muslim cleric was asked to speak at the Inauguration, and it was learned that he supported Sharia Law. Do you honestly believe that the people on this board so outraged at this pastor being forced to step down would also lend their support to that cleric. Of course not. This is why the argument of Freedom of Speech here is so ridiculous because it's all so subjective.
Honorable and respectable. At least he wasn't willing to create DRAMA.
What exactly is honorable and respectful about him? He's a bigot!
Coward Pastor....the Bible says if we fail to talk about Jesus, the rocks will speak for us.....
OK, lets STONE him!!
JEHOVAH, there I have said it!!
So, are you talking for rocks, or is your head one?
What does Chris Rock say about all this, anyway?
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
January 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
BAH....what is your point? What the heck is heaven?
blessed are the cheesemakers!
Your Lord Jesus Christ has just said it is not a sin to kill yourself to be with him so PLEASE go be with your Lord!
What the heck is heaven?
A very good question for all creatures to think about.
Heaven – heaven is a place – a place where nothing – nothing ever happens.
How I wish someone would remember how America was founded, by Buddhists? Etc? You have eroded your foundations and I don't know what next you will do. I am Nigerian I am Christian, I used to love America.
America was founded by patriots who wanted religious freedom – is that what you mean?
You are Nigerian and Christian because Christians killed your ancestors and forced the few surviors to adopt Christianity
Soon the Muslims will do the same
You will worship whomever the men with the guns tell you to worship.
Hey, Charles, I've been trying to send that $35,000 that you requested so I can get my share of that $10 million, but I must have the wrong email address. Can you shoot that back to me? Thx.
Excellent point William
" How I wish someone would remember how America was founded, by Buddhists? Etc? You have eroded your foundations and I don't know what next you will do. I am Nigerian I am Christian, I used to love America. "
You mean based on *freedom* ? All men are created equal, etc...?
Charles – America was founded by Deists not by Christians. some relevan quotes:
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." -in Poor Richard's Almanac
"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." -in Poor Richard's Almanac
"In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it."
"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." – to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814
"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. – letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787
Historian Barry Schwartz writes: "George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian... He repeatedly declined the church's sacraments. Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary... Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative." [New York Press, 1987, pp. 174-175]
"How I wish someone would remember how America was founded"
It was founded by those who owned your ancestors.
"I am Nigerian I am Christian"
Okay, we will speak in small words.
America was not founded by christians, whackadoo. No one cares if you like America or not.
How about we leave talking to imaginary sky friends out of the inauguration altogether?
How about you go back to the kitchen where you belong, Cheryl?
How about you suck my d-ck Cheryl?
"How about you go back to the kitchen where you belong, Cheryl?
"How about you suck my d-ck Cheryl?"
Well I guess we know where christardianity stands with regards to women.
If you provide a microscope so that she can find you dick, martin, she will be glad to send in a bacteria to suck it.
Spoken like a true Christian, Martin.
On your death bed keep making fun of that imaginary sky friend; you will have all eternity to think about your self created belief system.
hey marty boy. Nice xtian sentiment there. How about you boff yourself?
Ohhh, chris come up with the old bug-a-boo threats of burning in hell. So scary.
It must sukk to be chris, running around being pertified of a non-existance sky-fairy, who will send you to his h3ll for not believing in him and kissing its azz.
That is soooooo ignorant. Yes there are fossils, but there is no evidence of a clear evolution of a species. There is NO evidence of the stages from start to finish. Just fossils here and there that "scientists" try to explain through theory. Understand the word "Theory", Tom?
January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
Sorry M, you are the ignorant one. Theory in the Scientifical field has a much different meaning than in standard plain English. In the Scientic realm, a Theory has to go through a series of test...starting with the Hypothesis....ending with the Theory. If no other test prooves the Theory incorrect, then it stands. In plain old English, a theory is to have an abstract thought or speculation. Your argument like all the other religious folks who cannot explain what tests were done to prove that there is some God, sounds tired and lazy. Seriously this is learned in Physical Science 101. But then again folks like you will not do the work, hence you seek the easy way out and depend on some imaginary creature to behave like you have morals and to ease your fear of dying as well and most of all to judge other folks.
The man was speaking the truth it is a sin
Well, we all know that truth and politics don't go together.
No, it's not. 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.
So being born a certain way is a sin? That means god makes "mistakes", right?
Since Sin is an entirely made up concept one man's sin is another man's good time, and there is nothing wrong with that.
My fellow Christians, the Bible applies to those who believe it, NOT to those who dont. Imposing Bible ways on to those who dont believe is useless and accomplishes nothing. Let's pray for our country and if the opportunity arises where we can tell an individual face to face about Christ, than go for it. These blogs only fuel hate and hate is what we need less of. Note: Don't threaten others with hell – rather tell them about salvation and forgiveness, I guarantee you it will work better. Blessings to all.
D.bro. Please show evidence of prayer helping. It didn't work for you candidate Romney, did it? All those prayers wasted, when the time could have been better used to help real people. Ignorant fool.
I have much personal evidence of prayer working – but again it does not apply to a non-believer like you so it would be useless to tell you. And please dont come back saying "typical answer" or "cop-out".
Please do u sall a favor and keep your religion to yourself. It is not something I need to hear about.
D. bro. It is a cop out azzhat. You are a lying SOB. You have no proof. None. All you have is what you have been told, and what you choose to believe is proof. You are, in short, a liar, and highly deceptive person, to yourself as well as the false front you put to others. You are a coward.
I have personally seen miraculous healing as a result of my bible study group praying for a member. He had 13 tumors in his lungs and a tumor in his colon which was identified by imaging as cancerous. The day he was going to get a biopsy for the colon tumor, it was found to be completely gone without leaving a trace of scar tissue, which should be present regardless of whether it was malignant or not. The tumors in the lungs went away on their own with no explanation. You can believe this is a result of prayer or not – its up to you. The Bible teaches that prayer works when it's in accordance to God's will. He chooses which prayers to answer and how to answer for his purposes, not ours.
"the Bible applies to those who believe it, NOT to those who dont."
Since when? Imposing your own belief on the bible now?
"The Bible teaches that prayer works when it's in accordance to God's will. He chooses which prayers to answer and how to answer for his purposes, not ours."
And you worship this being?
I feel sorry for you. You must hate yourself.
Jeff: Can you reference a medical journal in which that event was chronicled? Or at least a newspaper article? Surely such an event would be reported so the world could share the miracle.
I'm kind of getting sick of hear people getting "branded" this or that of a statement or a sermon, or what ever 10, 20 or 30 years ago. I don't know about you, but my views are a lot different at 43 than it was when I was 23 in 1993... This is not a matter of right or wrong this is a matter of one expanding their outlook and realizing that something one said or did does not represent who they are or are not today.
Well, that's true...and you would have a point if he had actually apologized for making those remarks; he hasn't, so one has to assume he still feels the same way.
Since when does a pastor need to apologize for teaching what the bible says? You politically correct non-believers have no right to demand Christians apologize for their faith. If Obama and others don't like what the bible says or what a pastor believes, or what he taught, too bad! Get over it, thought police!
If his beliefs have changed, he has the perfect stage upon which to declare that change.
Instead, he has chosen to bow out.
This tells me he still believes the same way and has chosen to remove himself from the inauguration, in a fairly honorable effort to not be the cause of unnecessary drama.
"Since when does a pastor need to apologize for teaching what the bible says?"
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.
So Jeff, you'd be ok with a pastor preaching that it's ok to stone adulterers....and never admitting that he was wrong?
Or do you think that's ok, too?
Cause, you know...the bible says it and it can't possibly be incorrect or out of date at all....
Jeff, James just handed you your ass. How's it taste?
Marinatedanatha. There was no person named jesus christ. BTW, 'chirst' isn't a last name. Get a clue.
BAH...what is your point? Where the heck is this heaven?
opps, 'christ.' Sorry for typo.
Keep on keeping on Maranatha. Words are just that words. Actions speak louder than words. Go and preach the Gospel and use words if necessary. Keep in mind 2 Timothy 4:3-5. Not everybody is going to agree with the Bible and it's teachings. Praying for you and the thousands reading this.
Oh yes. This poor persecuted pastor. Boo hoo. *sniff*
1 Betty 1 1-3
blessed is the christian who criticizes others faith, for we call this love.
cursed are those who return the favor, for we call this persecution
Good one, Sam. Christian hypocrisy is amazing, but not surprising.
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.