Louie Giglio is the new Rick Warren: Just like last time, President Obama’s inauguration will feature a prayer from a religious leader with a history of anti-gay remarks. Giglio, the pastor of the Passion City megachurch in Atlanta, will deliver the benediction, according to an announcement today, while the less controversial Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will give the invocation. It didn’t take long for ThinkProgress to track down Giglio’s mid-nineties sermon "In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality" (available here as an mp3!). "Homosexuality is sin," he says. "If you want to hear God’s voice, that is his voice to this issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear."
We’ve heard this kind of stuff before. Giglio compares being gay to alcoholism and overeating; says homosexuals aren’t getting into heaven; calls it a lifestyle; and begs them to change. “And the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been engrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus,” he preaches. “It’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.”
Granted this was a long time ago, but that’s some pretty definitive language. “A spokesman for Giglio was not immediately available to respond to questions about whether this sermon represents Giglio’s current thinking,” according to ThinkProgress.
Salon also points to Giglio’s 2006 book Wired: For a Life of Worship, which says teenagers are “wired for the opposite sex, for sure,” as well as a 2010 endorsement from the anti-gay American Family Association. Additional raving about Giglio can be found at GayandSaved.com.
In 2008, Obama’s selection of Warren was seen as a conciliatory gesture toward conservative Christians, but also considered something of a betrayal by his progressive supporters. As if anticipating the same reaction this time around, Giglio said in a statement, “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.”
And for the record, Giglio’s dad created the Chick-Fil-A logo.