Anti-gay pastor withdraws from inauguration role

After exposure of a 1990 sermon given by Louis Giglio, in which he advocated for harmful “ex-gay” therapy and for the prevention of LGBTQ people being “accepted as a norm in our society,” he has withdrawn his acceptance of the invitation to give the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration. In his statement of withdrawal, Giglio does not retract or apologize for his anti-gay statements, but only claims that they are not his priority. He also gives as his reason for withdrawal the prediction that his words will become a distraction because of people “seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”

Here is the statement made on behalf of the inauguration committee:

We were 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. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. 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.

There is a trend among those who share Louis Giglio’s views to claim that by rejecting their participation because they exclude others from the human family, the administration (or any other entity that says thanks, but no thanks) is not practicing “inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.” It doesn’t work that way (although expect that claim to be made any second now). This is just a version of the occasional dim commenter who says something like “You said that Delgaudio runs a hate group! That means you run a hate group!” No, pointing out that someone’s habitual defamation of a group of people constitutes hate does not itself constitute hate, and the explicit behavior of excluding and denigrating a group of people is not a basis on which a person can demand inclusion and acceptance.

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One Response to Anti-gay pastor withdraws from inauguration role

  1. David says:

    It’s true: Anti-gay beliefs are not welcome in the public square anymore. That doesn’t mean that people can’t have them, obviously, because First Amendment. It just means that they will be a source of shaming.

    In his withdrawal letter to the White House, [Giglio] acknowledged that he doesn’t agree with the president “on every issue” (read: LGBT equality) and on his blog, he asserts that the right to hold differing views on any subject must be “recovered and preserved.”

    We do live in a society that should welcome vibrant discourse on a variety of subjects. Though, when it comes to affirming the human dignity of an individual, there is no room for compromise. It’s not up for discussion.

    That’s why, on second glance, something was very wrong with the initial selection. The problem was not merely a difference of opinion on an “issue,” but rather, that the prayer to our nation would be offered by a man who might not fully affirm the human dignity of all Americans.