Inaugural Imbroglio: Controversial Pastor Pulls Out Of Presidential Swearing-In
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 11:40:24 AM EST

In 2009 when President Barack Obama was first inaugurated, many of us were puzzled as to why he invited the right-wing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to offer the invocation.

As I told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann at the time, Warren is "Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt." I expressed dismay that a prominent Religious Right figure was being included in the ceremony and said that after eight years of George W. Bush, we had surely heard enough from that crowd.

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, and since then he's really gone off the rails. He has unleashed a string of anti-gay statements and now openly accuses Obama of undermining religious liberty because the president happens to believe American workers should have access to health care plans that include contraceptives.

Obama may have been on the verge of making the same mistake.

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. (The invocation is being delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of the slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Evers-Williams is not a member of the clergy, and some conservatives are complaining about that - but that's another story.)

Giglio's selection was criticized because in the mid-1990s he delivered a sermon that was harshly critical of homosexuality, and it now appears that he has pulled out of the inauguration.

"We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many, in the homosexual community," Giglio said during the old sermon. "Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment. That movement is not a benevolent movement; it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family."

Giglio insisted that being gay is a choice and even recommended controversial "ex-gay" ministries. He added, "Homosexuality is less than God's best for his creation. It is less than God's best for us and everything in our lives that is less than God's best for us and his plan for us and his design for us, is sin."

This strikes me as a controversy that didn't have to happen. As some commentators have asked, why does Obama keep reaching out to evangelicals when so many of them obviously can't stand him?

I think this might also be a good time to ask why there are prayers at this event in the first place. A private religious service is always held in conjunction with the inauguration at the Washington National Cathedral. Let the prayers and preachifying take place there. The inauguration is a governmental event; it need not have religious trappings.

And it didn't used to. As The Washington Post reported today, prayers were added to the festivities in the 1930s. Despite what the Religious Right would have you believe, it's not like George Washington started these traditions.

As I note in the latest Church & State, nothing in the Constitution requires the use of prayers, the phrase "so help me, God" in the oath or the use of Bibles during the swearing in. These things are traditions, and traditions can be changed.

As America changes -- as our nation becomes more diverse on matters of religion and philosophy and as we seek a country that is truly inclusive and doesn't relegate anyone to second-class status on the basis of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation - it may be time to reconsider some old practices.

I'm glad Giglio has stepped down. But perhaps in light of this incident, we should step back and examine an overlooked danger of adding religion to civil ceremonies: You might just end up giving a national platform to a divisive zealot.




Display:
Well, I think so! As a minority Christian (Eastern Orthodox) I can pray for our 'rulers' within the parameters of my own liturgy, but I don't expect my bishops and priests to unequivocally invoke God's blessings on secular 'rulers' and 'leaders' of supposedly secular democracies.  After all, we didn't have an excellent track record when we blessed the Byzantine Empire, nor at of Russia, eh?

by rdrjames on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 11:24:32 PM EST

I really need to get my hands on this, but last time I looked for it it wasn't in my local book store. Maybe it's there now.
jocuri de gatit jocuri cu bile jocuri cu masini

by mar1us91 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:54:30 PM EST

As some commentators have asked, why does Obama keep reaching out to evangelicals when so many of them obviously can't stand him? This strikes me as a controversy that didn't have to happen. champagne brands

by maldes on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:04:46 AM EST

Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. real estate

by maldes on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 11:50:55 AM EST

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. healthnet medicare arizona

by maldes on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:26:12 AM EST

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. skin whitening cream

by maldes on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 05:05:29 AM EST

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. Descargar Dragon City Hack

by maldes on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:58:42 AM EST

Giglio's selection was criticized because in the mid-1990s he delivered a sermon that was harshly critical of homosexuality, and it now appears that he has pulled out of the inauguration. true nutrition discount code

by maldes on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:58:20 AM EST

"We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many, in the homosexual community," Giglio said during the old sermon. stage de sophrologie sur paris

by maldes on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 05:19:39 PM EST

And it didn't used to. As The Washington Post reported today, prayers were added to the festivities in the 1930s. Despite what the Religious Right Bugs that look like bed bugs

by maldes on Fri Jul 26, 2013 at 07:29:16 AM EST

"We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many, in the homosexual community," Giglio said during the old sermon. buy YouTube Comments

by maldes on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 10:48:07 AM EST

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. termite treatment cost

by maldes on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 11:10:24 AM EST

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, and since then he's really gone off the rails. dog hair shears

by maldes on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 06:14:20 AM EST

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, and since review

by maldes on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 11:37:50 AM EST

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. (The invocation is being delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of the slain civil rights leader Medgar vendeur isolant phonique plafond

by maldes on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 11:38:50 AM EST

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, and since Garcinia Cambogia Extract

by maldes on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 08:17:09 AM EST

If Obama was trying to offer an olive branch to the evangelical right, it didn't work. Warren turned out to be an embarrassment. His invocation was not inclusive, and since then he's really gone off the rails. He has unleashed a string of anti-gay statements and Green Coffee Bean Extract

by maldes on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 09:34:57 AM EST

The president's team asked the Rev. Louie Giglio, a popular Atlanta minister, to deliver the benediction (closing prayer) during the Jan. 21 inauguration. (The invocation is Raspberry Ketones

by maldes on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 10:23:14 AM EST

A private religious service is always held in conjunction with the inauguration at the Washington National Cathedral. Let the prayers and preachifying take place there. Polo Ralph Lauren pas cher

by maldes on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 12:25:42 PM EST

And it didn't used to. As The Washington Post reported today, prayers were added to the festivities in the 1930s. Despite what the Religious Right would have you believe, it's http://plombierathlon.fr

by maldes on Wed Sep 18, 2013 at 11:08:44 AM EST

This strikes me as a controversy that didn't have to happen. As some commentators have asked, why does Obama keep reaching out to evangelicals when so many of them obviously can't stand him? Heilpraktiker-Schulen

by maldes on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 10:16:50 AM EST

the day to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family." coconut oil uses

by maldes on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 11:15:34 AM EST

As America changes -- as our nation becomes more diverse on matters of religion and philosophy and as we seek a country that is truly inclusive and doesn't relegate anyone to second-class status on the basis of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation - it may be cool celebrity

by maldes on Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 03:54:49 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Why Is Bishop Robert Finn Still In Power?
As I reported in September 2014, Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri has been under Vatican investigation to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Thus It Was Prophesied in 2012: Ted Cruz Will Be VP, Or a Supreme Court Justice
This is a transcript, of pastor Larry Huch and Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, from an appearance Rafael Cruz made at......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Crusin with Cruz
Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, announcing his bid for President in the worship center at Jerry Falwell's University last night.  Mother......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Ted Cruz: Born From The Heart of the Dominionist Christian Right
[welcome, Thom Hartmann Show fans, here is a short introduction to my past coverage on Ted Cruz and the dominionist Christian right] Did you......
By Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Coming Soon to Utah: An International Festival of Bigotry
An international network of some of the world's most vitriolic Religious Right activists and self-proclaimed orthodox religious leaders is holding its ninth global conference......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Bumpy Lane: Religious Right Operative Seeks To Build (Another) Church-Based Political Machine
Here's what the country doesn't need right now: another zealot aiming to mobilize right-wing pastors to become a force in electoral politics.Yet that's what......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Team Jeb Bush's Liaison to Religious Right Is Hardcore Culture Warrior
In 2008, Senator John McCain's campaign recognized that he needed to shore up his credentials with the Religious Right, which was skeptical about his......
By Bill Berkowitz (2 comments)
American ISIS: Christian Reconstructionists And `Biblical Law' In America
Every now and then, while scanning the day's news, I come across a headline that's hard to believe.Like this one: "California lawyer proposes ballot......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Will our Prisons Overflow with Christians this Summer?
Many leaders of the Christian Right, from megachurch pastors like Rick Warren to the top prelates in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Say You Want A Christian Nation?: Let's Try This One
Last week an article began circulating on social media claiming that 57 percent of Republicans in a recent poll said they believe Christianity should......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Are The Fundamentalists Winning?
We missed Evolution Weekend, which was held February 13-15 this year.   This worthwhile effort, which began the same year as Talk to Action,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Mario Cuomo's Memorable Lesson on Challenging the Political Authority of the Church
It is never too late to remember. Here is a reposting of a column I did following the death of former New York Gov.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Legacy of Francis Bellamy
"We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principles of universal enlightenment and equality; the most characteristic......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
The Inquisitional Urge Gets the Better of Bill Donohue (Again)
Bill Donohue is at it again. The Catholic League president went apoplectic over President Obama’s seemingly innocuous comments at the February 5th National Prayer......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Recommended to Lead United Church of Christ
I am very pleased to report that John Dorhauer, who joined us early on at Talk to Action has been recommended by a national......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)

Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (9 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (3 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (1 comment)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (2 comments)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.