Atlanta pastor, Evers' widow named to speak at inauguration
Civil Rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams and Atlanta Pastor Louie Giglio were selected to offer a prayer at the 2013 Presidential Inuguration.
January 8th, 2013
07:56 AM ET

Atlanta pastor, Evers' widow named to speak at inauguration

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

(CNN)– The widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and an Atlanta pastor will deliver the invocation and benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration January 21, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday.

The committee said in a statement that the president was involved in selecting Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, to deliver the invocation and the Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of the Passion City Church, to deliver the benediction.

Obama said he and Vice President Joe Biden are honored to have the two participate in the inaugural ceremony.

"Their voices have inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond. Their careers reflect the ideals that the vice president and I continue to pursue for all Americans - justice, equality, and opportunity," the president's statement continued.

Evers-Williams' work and life is an example for the nation, said a source close to the planning of the inauguration. "Following her husband's murder she worked tirelessly not only for justice for his murder but for justice for the nation as well," the source said.

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Giglio, a pastor and the leader of the Passion Movement, was chosen 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, said the source.

The official swearing-in of the president and the vice president will take place on Sunday, January 20, in keeping with the constitutional requirement. A public ceremonial swearing-in will take place Monday, January 21 on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

This year, the inauguration falls on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which officials told CNN played into the selections of Evers-Williams and Giglio.

Evers-Williams' husband, Medgar Evers, was the NAACP's Mississippi field secretary when he gunned down in the driveway of their Jackson, Mississippi, home in 1963. Evers-Williams went on to chair the NAACP from 1995-1998 and has remained a tireless advocate for civil rights.

"I am humbled to have been asked to deliver the invocation for the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States - especially in light of this historical time in America when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement," she said in a statement from the inaugural committee. "It is indeed an exhilarating experience to have the distinct honor of representing that era."

Giglio is a rising voice in evangelical Christianity. Friday, the Passion conference 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.

"It is my privilege to have the opportunity to lead our nation in prayer at the upcoming inauguration," Giglio said.

"During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one. And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker. May we all look up to our God, from whom we can receive mercy, grace and truth to strengthen our lives, our families and our nation. I am honored to be invited by the President to lead our nation as we look up to God, and as we look ahead to a future that honors and reflects the One who has given us every good and perfect gift," he added, in the statement released by the committee.

An official close to the inauguration speaking on background said the president viewed the selections as "spiritual and not political."

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"I think it's a poignant thing for the ceremony to open with someone who to many folks in the country symbolizes courage but also some of the rough times we've been through as a country," the official said. "To close with a pastor from the South who is fighting modern slavery in this generation, I think there's a poignancy to that that shouldn't be missed."

"Both individuals meet the moment," the source said.

Obama has highlighted Giglio's Passion movement several times in the past year. He mentioned the movement of young evangelicals against slavery in his 2012 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Giglio was also a participant at Obama's annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Most recently, the president noted the work of Passion in a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief

soundoff (224 Responses)
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    August 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  2. faith

    Oh, my goodness, you're right: President Obama IS the only President ever to do this...shut the fvck up, you bitter PeeTardy jagoff.


    heathens r wonnerful wunnerful people just 4 the sake of it

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    June 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  3. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !.............time to EVOLVE !!!

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

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    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


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    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

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    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

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    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


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    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.


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    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

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    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”


    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


    Make sure to read comments

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    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


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    The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

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    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


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    January 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  5. Science

    Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven' – Under God – The ...
    by Elizabeth Tenety – in 624 Google+ circles – More by Elizabeth Tenety
    May 16, 2011 – There is no heaven... that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Hawking told the Guardian.

    January 9, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  6. Creation Man

    Ever heard of an atheist giving his life to save another? No, didn't think so, much too self centered, plus they don't believe in an afterlife so they would never be so noble.

    January 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • sam


      January 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      If it were to save a member's flesh and blood, even an atheist might do the deed,,,

      You and others who tend to belittle and make rude commentaries against any differences of societal consecrations commonwealths are making rants and raves against socialized variations within principalities held as communal segregations. Hell, no two people are of exactness in servile ideologies presentations yet commonwealth fulcrums are the scaled balances for socialisms demarcated lineages..

      January 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      If one did not know the meaning of Lucifer, none but the self centered, secular, hyena was not called hyena, for no other reason but for his hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secular ism, after his god hindu Lucifer, criminal denier of truth absolute, secular.

      January 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Denise

      Creation Man, false. Go here and learn, you bigoted ignoramus and typical deluded and cowardly Christian:

      January 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  7. truth be told

    All atheists are liars. It is important to recognize this Truth when on these blogs. What one filthy self deceived atheist lies to all others will swear to.

    January 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Anger management might be what you need to avert religious misnomers. Think so?

      January 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Akira

      Ll, we agree for once! Yay!

      January 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for adding proof to my assertions.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Lionly is a believer, tbt; are you that dim?

      January 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  8. lionlylamb

    The illusory envisioning of the mental concepts towards anyone's visionary stance is within any and all culminated austerities consciences giving rises of and toward manipulative societal pragmatisms of vitriol accolades' enticements within variable commencements begrudging commonwealths.

    If I am and you are, while others will be, just who are they in becoming? Where then does the sandy drawn line end if there is always a line to so be drawn upon? I see many points and while few are sharpened and many become dull, the masses regarding the venerations’ poignancies may always become dulled with the passing ages. Who therefore dare do become the winners of societal easing fundaments and who become the membered fundaments lost?

    The crucibles and the c r u x of our humanisms adorations in self-loathing adornments while leaving God alone and out of our societal movements, is a magnanimous evisceration of c l e a v a g e sarcasms’ affront ages toward fomented ungodly communal barbarisms. People have become the idols of our humanities forsakenness ideals and even ideologies regarding material goods. We have put ourselves and our deeds upon godly pedestals forgetting God and God’s sacredness. It is very shameful that generational humanisms put one’s own kinds upon godly pedestals.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • niknak


      January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    The crucibles and the c r u x of our humanisms adorations in self-loathing adornments while leaving God alone and out of our societal movements, is a magnanimous evisceration of c l e a v a g e sarcasms’ affront ages toward fomented ungodly communal barbarisms. People have become the idols of our humanities forsakenness ideals and even ideologies regarding material goods. We have put ourselves and our deeds upon godly pedestals forgetting God and God’s sacredness. It is very shameful that humanisms put one’s own kinds upon godly pedestals.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, just laugh their drivel ramblings and move on.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  10. Reality

    The only inauguration prayer worth saying:

    The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (References used are available upon request.)

    January 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      hinduism, absurdity from book of hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism called bible. not to be supported but to be out law'd for violating consti tution of USA, A hind, crime against humanity and truth absolute GOD, foundation of America.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @Reality, you ended your post with "Amen" did you notice Reality? hahahaha you fake phony fraud

      January 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Reality

      From the out-dated Apostles' Creed

      "..................................................................... And the life everlasting.



      January 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  11. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    hinduism, absurdity of a hindu criminal of worst kind, speaker to be a ex slave , calling her self to be follower of foundation of hinduism, racism, preached as Christianity to hind fool humanity, but hindu Mithra ism, criminal savior ism of hindu dark ages, anti human equality and source of justification of human to rule over other human as their god's, hinduism, innovation of hindu Jew's criminal secular's, in violation of truth absolute, un dividable foundation of American const ition. hinduism criminality of hindu Mithra sim, savior ism,, Christianity along with sign of hinduism racism cross should be eradicated from USA for violating foundation of American consti tution based on truth absolute GOD and human equality, than to be given space to speak at inauguration of President of America.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  12. JDD

    "Religion is at it's greatest descent and will be non-existent by the next two generations."

    rough paraphrase, Cesar, some time ago.

    January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      which caesar? Rome wanted to crush religion as it appeared to be a threat. Once Constantine realized he could easily rule sheep with christianity of course it flourished. The U.S. is experiencing a shift, a rise in the "nones" as christian hypocrisy becomes clearly more absurd. It's all downhill from here for your religion.

      Fear not, however, since Islam is on the rise. There's always an imaginary god for you to believe in there. Find a good mosque! Islam will be around for a while longer.

      January 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
  13. JLee

    Awww poor poor babies. LOL!!!!! America loves you MR. PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Johnny 5

    Obama appears to be a possible Atheist by some of his past actions during religious functions, holidays, etc...

    Sadly, you can't get elected in this country by saying that you don't believe. Religion is at it's greatest descent and will be non-existent by the next two generations.

    January 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  15. Jerry

    HUGE DEAL! NOT!!! Obamaloney sure loves to show off. Mostly at taxpayers expense, too. On the other hand, seven major corporations were coerced into contributing to the NOT SO lavish crowning. It's somewhat funny as these are the same corporations that King Obama feels are not contributing enough. There's got to be some sort of kickbacks. Oh well...

    January 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • LouieD

      Jerry, your impotent bitterness is like peanut butter and jelly on my bread!

      January 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Vivienne

      President Barack Hussein Obama IS the president. Get over it. President Obama is Black and of African origin just like yourself. Humanity BEGAN in Africa and that makes you an African, too. Let it go. Your anger only hurts yourself.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • jasoncdanforth

      Obamalony? Yeah, you look REALLY mature and rational. I should listen to your ideas because of your sharp wit...

      January 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, my goodness, you're right: President Obama IS the only President ever to do this...shut the fvck up, you bitter PeeTardy jagoff.

      January 8, 2013 at 9:58 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.