Louie Giglio, the Atlanta pastor slated to give the benediction at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, has withdrawn from the program.
According the Think Progress, the move comes after a recording of a sermon from the 1990's surfaced in which Giglio referenced a passage of the Bible that calls for the executions of lesbians and gay men, endorsed "ex-gay" or so-called "reparative" therapy and called on Christians to fight the LGBT "agenda" and condemn the "homosexual lifestyle."
A statement sent to Think Progress by Giglio's spokesperson said the pastor was "honored" to have been asked to participate in the inauguration ceremony, but that "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 the 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."
A spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Addie Whisenant said that the committee was not aware of Giglio's anti-LGBT past when they chose him, but had selected Giglio for his work against human trafficking. She said in a statement, "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."
[image via Wikipedia, creative commons licensed]