In less than 24 hours after his appointment was announced, it was discovered that the Georgia megachurch pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration preached antigay sermons over a decade ago. The Reverend Louie Giglio took quite a public lashing from progressives around the country and was quickly replaced by the Reverend Luis León, a D.C. Episcopal priest who, along with his 1.9 million–member denomination, supports same-sex unions.
The controversy has sparked a more fundamental discussion: Are antigay beliefs welcome in the public square?
The short answer is no, but this is not a wholesale rejection of Christian beliefs, or even “traditional evangelical beliefs.” At first glance, it may seem superficial to criticize Giglio based on a sermon he preached over a decade ago. Even the president of the United States has “evolved” on LGBT equality in the past year. But Giglio has given no indication that his views have changed.
In his withdrawal letter to the White House, he acknowledged that he doesn’t agree with the President “on every issue” (read: LGBT equality), and on his blog he asserts that the right to hold differing views on any subject must be “recovered and preserved.”
We do live in a society that should welcome vibrant discourse on a variety of subjects. But when it comes to affirming the human dignity of an individual, there is no room for compromise. It’s not up for discussion.
That’s why, on second glance, something was very wrong with the initial selection. The problem was not merely a difference of opinion on an “issue,” but rather, that the prayer to our nation would be offered by a man who might not fully affirm the human dignity of all Americans.