This blog explores and examines the intersections of rhetoric, race, and religion.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Why Religious Invocations at Presidential Inaugurations?
President Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 9, 2013, tapped the Rev. Louie Giglio of Atlanta's Passion City Church to deliver the benediction during his second inauguration overlooking the Mall of the U.S. Capitol Building later this month. However, less than 48 hours later, with the controversy surrounding Giglio's past statements about homosexuality, Giglio decided to withdraw from giving the address stating: "It is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda a focal point of the inauguration."
During his sermon, "In Search of a Standard -- Christian Response to Homosexuality," delivered a decade ago, Giglio told his parishioners that being gay is a sinful "choice" and that gay people will be prevented from "entering the Kingdom of God." The "only way out of a homosexual lifestyle ... is through the healing power of Jesus," he continued.
Just four years ago at his first inauguration, Barack Obama chose evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation. While Warren has been involved in some positive activities during his ministry, he has been a leading and outspoken opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, and in particular, he worked as one of the chief lobbyists for the passage of Proposition 8 in California delegitimizing marriage for same-sex couples. In his public statements, he likened marriage for same-sex couples to incestuous marriage between a brother and sister and to polygamy. In November 2012, Warren went further by telling CNN's Piers Morgan that being gay is a bit like eating arsenic or "punching a guy in the nose." In addition, Warren has called into question the concept of separation of religion and government, and he said that Obama has "intentionally infringed upon religious liberties" with his contraception mandates.