A pastor was forced to withdraw from participating in President Obama's inauguration ceremony after his past anti-gay rhetoric was revealed. But the president will be sworn in on a Bible that includes anti-gay language and doesn't prohibit slavery, Lawrence O'Donnell argued.
Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta was given the boot from the inauguration ceremony after a past sermon with homophobic view surfaced, only a day after it was announced that he would deliver the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. In the mid-1990s, Giglio had asked the members of his church to prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming fully accepted in society.
Think Progress uncovered the audio file of Giglio’s sermon, where he called homosexuality a sin and proposed conversion therapy as a remedy for homosexuality. Giglio also defined the gay rights movement as one that “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.”
“He says the movement ‘is not a benevolent movement,’ and that’s simply not true,” said MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “It is a movement filled with benevolence. But the rest of what he says is actually true.”
Giglio’s statement is half-correct, O’Donnell said: “The ‘by any means necessary’ bit is a little rhetorically over the top, but yes, we do want to create the feeling that the gay lifestyle is an acceptable norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle. That is exactly what the gay rights movement wants and what it has been successfully achieving for years now.”
Addie Whisenant, the spokesperson for The Presidential Inaugural Committee, issued the following statement about Pastor Giglio’s resignation.
“We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural… 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 Presidential Inaugural Committee said that “whoever delivers the benediction rejects the same parts of the Bible that President Obama rejects, and most Democrats reject, even though every word of the Bible is the word of God.”
All presidents who undergo their inaugurations should, in theory, “accept all of the teachings of the Bible” as they place their hand on the book. But O’Donnell said that because “there are no literal followers of the world of God as presented in the Bible left on Earth,” reciting the oath of office upon the placement of their right hand on the book makes the pledge “one of our most absurdist traditions in the government that invented the separation of church and state.”
O’Donnell points out another irony, of a tradition that makes a woman hold the Bible for her husband to be sworn in—a Bible that did not condemn slavery and in fact, allowed the horrible past that the First Lady’s ancestors endured.
“This time, as it was last time for the first time in history, the book will be held by a First Lady who is a descendent of slaves. But the holy book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery. Not one word. But that same book, which spends hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages condemning all sorts of things and couldn’t find one sentence to condemn slavery, does indeed find the space to repeatedly condemn gay people, as the now banished Louie Giglio said it does. And as the First Lady is holding that book for the President, sitting someone near them will be a pastor who the Inauguration Committee will make sure is much more adept at hiding what that book actually says than Louie Giglio was.”