Commentary 2013: Louie Giglio pulls out of inauguration over anti-gay comments.

An evangelical pastor from Atlanta, Louie Giglio, announced Thursday that he would not give the benediction at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony after a sermon he gave on homosexuality in the mid-1990s resurfaced earlier this week.

”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.

Neither I, nor our team, 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…”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced earlier this week that Giglio was selected, along with Myrlie Evers-Williams, to pray at the inauguration.

“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,” the PIC said.

The blog link is below, the article cited follows my text:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/01/10/louie-giglio-pulls-out-of-inaugural-over-anti-gay-comments/

My Commentary Follows:

Ouch. Paul went to Rome, he was not worried about being a “distraction.” I disagree with the Pastor’s decision, although I am not aware of all the information on which he based his judgment. If I could preach to Satan in Hell, I always said, I would go. I may yet make it. This man is a far better shepherd than I, perhaps he is needed here with the flock given him by Christ.

In a follow up commentary on religion.blogs.cnn.com a young man, Matthew Lee Anderson responds. His article is emblematic of all that is wrong with the process of thought by post modern christians.

The blog link is below, the article cited follows my text.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/12/my-take-christians-ought-to-shrug-off-inaugural-pastor-rejection/

Matthew Lee Anderson’s commentary is puerile nonsense. Studded with such adumbrations as “we were lucky to have ever had the opportunity to be present in such moments at all,” and “our concern for justice must primarily be a concern for justice for others,” it is clear that the author is an academic apologist for christianity, written with a decidedly small “c”. Our nation is a Christian Nation, the first and only extant example of a nation founded on Judeo-Christian morality. It took 17-1/2 centuries after the death of Christ for enough moral people to come together at one place, at one time, to be blessed to create our Christian Republic. Until Obama’s, every Inauguration since 1788 has had at its heart the desire to offer thankful worship to the Creator for the blessings He bestowed upon our Nation. Obama, christian or muslim, more likely a dedicated dialectical materialist, is SIN embodied in man, a minion of Satan.

We must challenge evil wherever found, not proclaiming that “god” is love, nor pathetically calling for us “to all get along.” Not quietly forgiving the Sins of Homosexuality, Pedophilia, Bestiality, Fornication, Adultery, Greed and Gluttony, but wholeheartedly forgiving the repentant sinner. These Sins are an offense to God and man, such that God, our Creator allowed His son, Jesus the Redeemer, to die on the cross at Golgotha to pay the debt owed by us to our eternal Father. These sins were surely an offense and source of grievous pain to our Founding Fathers. We must denounce these sins, but forgive the sinner and do everything in our power to convince any sinner of the need to repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

No Christian can remain in grace and “hate” anyone or anything. We are commanded to love, but not physically or romantically, not even emotionally, but spiritually. We must show our spiritual love by seeking to lead the fallen, and that includes all mankind, to the Light and the Word of God. Mr. Anderson clearly seeks God in his intellect, he studies at Oxford for a Masters Degree in Philosophy. For salvation, you need only an elementary degree in Faith, awarded when you accept Jesus Christ in your mind, body and soul as your Savior, as the one true God. All else is Vanity, Pride, Hubris, all else serves the cause of Evil. All knowledge sufficient and necessary for salvation is found in the Holy Bible. Just as importantly, every thing that is needed for a just and moral society is found there as well, and reading and being inspired by God’s Holy Word will always lead to prayer, to truth, and to the unmistakeable and very present Hand of God in the works of man, in this instance, the new Jerusalem, The United States of America.

Repent America, or pack your bags for Babylon.

Louie Giglio pulls out of inauguration over anti-gay comments

Posted by Natalie Jennings on January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

An evangelical pastor from Atlanta announced Thursday that he would not give the benediction at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony after a sermon he gave on homosexuality in the mid-1990s resurfaced earlier this week.

In that sermon, the Rev. Louie Giglio called for Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” of some in the gay community and warns that widespread gay marriage  ”would run the risk of absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.”

In a statement, Giglio said that his participation “will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”

Giglio pastors the Passion City Church in Atlanta, where many of his sermons present a traditional view of gender roles and marriage. On Faith has more on Giglio and the sermon, including excerpts of the most inflammatory passages.

The pastor was selected for the benediction because of the work he has done to raise awareness of human trafficking, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said. His church recently raised $3.3 million to combat human trafficking worldwide. A PIC spokeswoman told reporters that members were not aware of Giglio’s past statements on homosexuality when they selected him.

In his statement Giglio says that the issue is not one of his priorities:

 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.

Neither I, nor our team, 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…

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced earlier this week that Giglio was selected, along with Myrlie Evers-Williams, to pray at the inauguration.

“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,” the PIC said.


My Take: Christians ought to shrug off inaugural pastor rejection

Editor’s Note: Matthew Lee Anderson is the Lead Writer at Mere Orthodoxy and the author of Earthen Vessels:  Why our Bodies Matter to our FaithHe is studying for an M.Phil. at Oxford University.

By Matthew Lee Anderson, Special to CNN

(CNN) – The news that Louie Giglio is no longer going to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration sent shock waves around the conservative Christian world.

Conservative Christians are right to be concerned about what these events mean for their welcome in the public square. But as Christians we shouldn’t be surprised nor even overly upset. Given the history of our founder, such marginalization is what we can expect.

Giglio is a pastor and runs the Passion Conferences, where some 60,000 college students gather to hear teaching and participate in activist causes.  Giglio has been one of the leading voices in the surge of evangelical opposition to human trafficking, which was originally why Obama picked him.

Over a decade ago, Giglio gave a sermon that prompted gay and lesbian advocates to denounce him as “anti-gay.”  Controversy ensued, a petition was started to replace him, and Thursday he announced he was no longer going to attend so as to not be a distraction.

Giglio’s sermon on homosexuality was in an entirely different league than Charles Worley’s, who momentarily became famous last year for ludicrously suggesting that gays and lesbians should be fenced off.

Indeed, Giglio’s defenders have been quick to point out that his position on the question comfortably fits the main currents of what Christianity has always taught about homosexuality, and does so with a gracious, cordial tone.

Which is why the news that he was no longer speaking was so stunning to many conservative Christians.

Russell Moore, a leading Southern Baptist voice, suggested that the decision represented the establishment of a new “state church,” one that is hostile to traditional Christian teachings about sexuality. Albert Mohler denounced the new “moral McCarthyism,” suggesting that there is nowhere for conservatives to hide given the social pressure to conform to the new sexual orthodoxy.

They are right to be concerned.

Inaugurations are rare moments of unity in the American political order.  They express something about who we are and what kind of people we want to be, together.

That doesn’t mean that every demographic needs to be on stage. But pushing a traditional Christian position outside the boundaries of acceptability inevitably makes those who hold it more concerned that their freedom to speak will be curtailed in other ways.

In such moments, conservative Christians have been ready and quick to demonstrate their ample supply of passion for the truth.

The last imbroglio about homosexuality in our country was the Chick-Fil-A affair, which resulted in long lines of socially conservative people cheerfully waiting to eat their chicken sandwiches.  This time, the response has already been more strictly rhetorical, but just as swift and as strongly worded.  Russell Moore’s website crashed because of the massive amount of traffic, he wrote.

It is somewhat ironic that Giglio, the founder of Passion, stepped so quietly from the stage given the cacophony all around him.  His statement was gracious without changing his stance.  It did not denounce the White House or those seeking to dismiss him.

In fact, this sort of political dispassion is precisely what we could all use a lot more of, and conservative Christians have better reasons than most to lead the way.

In a political environment where passions are at their highest, every word and action takes on a heightened significance, which makes our communications with each other much more fragile.  Every aspect of our public figures’ lives is scrutinized with a moral rigor that we rarely apply to ourselves.

Preachers stand at a unique disadvantage in this regard: Sermons have been recorded and broadcast from the earliest moment possible. But if any of us were recorded with that regularity on the issue some 20 or 30 years ago, I suspect infelicities would be easy to find.  Hostilities toward gays and lesbians weren’t limited to the devoutly religious in American history, after all.  Among imperfect people, those intent not on exchanging reasons for their positions, but delegitimizing their opponents, will always have material to work with.

But when one of their leaders is pushed aside again, religious conservatives might consider instead meeting our rejection with something nearer indifference, rather than angry denunciation.

In the Bible, St. Paul suggests that as Christians “our citizenship is in heaven.”  While we can and should be loyal Americans, our concern for justice must primarily be a concern for justice for othersOur desire for our own justice is often deferred until heaven.

When we don’t receive justice ourselves, that is our opportunity to model the sort of political engagement Jesus enacted at his trial and on the cross.  The Gospel of Matthew suggests that when asked to defend himself, he said nothing (27:11-14).  His next words would be a cry of forgiveness, a cry that is as powerful as any he could utter.

Conservative Christians should not confuse my suggestion of a political dispassion with inactivity or a lack of involvement, with accepting “defeat” in the culture wars.  I am saying nothing of the kind.

Let Christians give their sermons, and let them be recorded and scrutinized.  Let us proclaim the Christian teaching about sin and salvation with respect to sexuality.

But when our positions are not recognized publicly or welcomed at the inauguration, let us also remember that we were lucky to have ever had the opportunity to be present in such moments at all.  Christians have often been on the margins of societies rather than at the center.

By taking this approach, conservative Christians can model for our American political order precisely the sort of patient longsuffering that is required for justice to take root not merely in our legal code, but in our social structures.  And we can hold out the promise of reasonable discourse and communication with those who do not see the world as we do.  Which if this grand American experiment of religious freedom is to endure, we all need a lot more of.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Matthew Lee Anderson.

 

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