Giglio Withdraws from Inaugural Activities

A PR firm called The Media Collective has issued a statement from Louie Giglio, which the firm says was delivered to the White House and Inaugural Committee this morning. In it, the pastor essentially places the blame on the gays, saying he is withdrawing because his prayer would “be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.” Rather than address his previous statements head-on, he merely denies that gay issues have been “in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years.” Giglio also emphasized his friendship with the president (I noted his a previous engagement at the White House here), and that they share a goal of “ending slavery in all its forms,” a reference to Giglio’s work against human trafficking.

The full statement:

I am honored to be invited by the President to give the benediction at the upcoming inaugural on January 21.  Though the President and I do not agree on every issue, we have fashioned a friendship around common goals and ideals, most notably, ending slavery in all its forms.  

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.  I will continue to pray regularly for the President, and urge the nation to do so.  I will most certainly pray for him on Inauguration Day.

Our nation is deeply divided and hurting, and more than ever need God’s grace and mercy in our time of need.

UPDATE: I have more thoughts on this here.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email