Louis Giglio thought he was going to be giving the benediction at the presidential inauguration, but then he found out he wasn’t.
Louis Giglio, a Georgia-based pastor who had been selected to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration, has dropped out from the program after reports that he gave an anti-gay sermon in the 1990s.
Giglio’s decision comes after the liberal blog ThinkProgress [not including the link, because ThinkProgress sucks – j] unearthed a sermon in which he encouraged Christians to fight homosexuality being “accepted as a norm in our society and … given full standing as any other lifestyle.”
A spokeswoman for the Inaugural Committee said they were unaware of Giglio’s comments about homosexuality at the time of his selection, but said that they did not “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,” said Inaugural Committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant. “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.“
First of all, Louis… one sermon on homosexuality in the last twenty years? C’mon, man. It’s not like it hasn’t been in the news.
Secondly, the emerging political environment is going to make life much more difficult for a certain brand of Christians. Evangelicals like Louis Giglio are fundamentally conservative in their Biblical beliefs, but they are politically agnostic. They don’t want to be lumped in with Christian right-wingers, so they work hard to avoid getting drawn into fights that those right-wingers can’t resist (and sometimes devote whole blogs to, said Jason, sheepishly looking to the side and drawing in the dirt with his toe).
Instead, they view our situation in America as a dance. Even though we’re all facing different directions and moving in different directions, if we gently and gracefully engage one another, we can move in complimentary and harmonious ways–sometimes leading, sometimes following–and create a beautiful choreography from our differences.
That’s what they think, but their dance partners think differently.
They are not interested in moving in complementary ways with anybody. They insist that you move just like they do, and if you move differently–or even if you once moved differently twenty years ago–then you must be crushed into a fine powder and swept off the stage. They saw a chance to make an example of someone who doesn’t (or didn’t, once) toe the party line on homosexuality, and they took it.
The imbroglio over Louie Giglio is the clearest evidence of the new Moral McCarthyism of our sexually “tolerant” age. During the infamous McCarthy hearings, witnesses would be asked, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”
In the version now to be employed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the question will be: “Are you now or have you ever been one who believes that homosexuality (or bisexuality, or transsexualism, etc.) is anything less than morally acceptable and worthy of celebration?”
A fair-minded reading of that [withdrawal] statement indicates that Pastor Giglio has strategically avoided any confrontation with the issue of homosexuality for at least fifteen years. The issue “has not been in the range of my priorities,” he said. Given the Bible’s insistance that sexual morality is inseparable from our “ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ,” this must have been a difficult strategy. It is also a strategy that is very attractive to those who want to avoid being castigated as intolerant or homophobic. As this controversy makes abundantly clear, it is a failed strategy. Louie Giglio was cast out of the circle of the acceptable simply because a liberal watchdog group found one sermon he preached almost twenty years ago. If a preacher has ever taken a stand on biblical conviction, he risks being exposed decades after the fact. Anyone who teaches at any time, to any degree, that homosexual behavior is a sin is now to be cast out.
Here’s why this matters. The statement Giglio made that was so controversial is essentially a near-direct quotation from the Christian Scriptures. Unrepentant homosexuals, Giglio said (as with unrepentant sinners of all kinds) “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” That’s 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. Giglio said, “it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.” The Bible says God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), the same gospel, Giglio says, “that I say to you and that you would say to me.”
The Christian faith in every expression has held for 2000 years that sexual immorality is sinful. This same Christian faith has maintained, again in every branch, that sexual expression outside of conjugal marriage is sin. And the Christian faith has maintained universally that all persons are sinners and that no sinner can enter the kingdom without repentance. This is hardly new.
When it is now impossible for one who holds to the catholic Christian view of marriage and the gospel to pray at a public event, we now have a de facto established state church. Just as the pre-constitutional Anglican and congregational churches required a license to preach in order to exclude Baptists, the new state church requires a “license” of embracing sexual liberation in all its forms.
Note, this now doesn’t simply exclude harsh and intemperate statements or even activism. Simply holding the view held by every Roman pontiff and by every congregation and synagogue in the world until very recent days is enough to make one “radioactive” in public.
Ed Stetzer wonders if the 4 out of every 10 Americans who think homosexuality is a sin are still welcome in the public square:
This can be an important moment as America, the media, and President Obama’s administration to consider a simple question. Are people of faith no longer welcome as they continue to hold the beliefs they have held since their foundation? Must they jettison their sacred texts and adopt new views to be accepted as part of society? If they do not, will they be marginalized and demonized even as they serve the poor, care for the orphan, or speak against injustice?
The answer is yes, they will be marginalized and demonized. There is nothing Christians can do that’s good enough to absolve them from the crime of bucking conventional wisdom.
Because goodness is not the point, justice is not the point. There are a lot of people who are most assuredly not politically agnostic. They’re interested in changing the culture, they don’t care much for traditional Christian beliefs, and they’re not trying for a beautiful, harmonious dance that celebrates our differences.
Power is the point. Winning is the point. And anyone who acknowledges an authority other than theirs is the enemy. Take note, Christians. If you’re serious, if you really believe what you say you do, you’re going to be asked to back it up at some point. We’re not at a dance; we’re in a fight.