Conservative Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio withdrew from delivering the benediction at President Barack Obama's Jan. 21 swearing-in after a sermon he delivered in the mid-1990s against the "aggressive agenda of many in the homosexual community" came to light.
Mr. Giglio and his wife, Shelley, are founders of Passion Conferences, a 15-year-old movement that attracts tens of thousands of young people to pray together and discuss problems such as human slavery and trafficking. In 2008, the Giglios founded Passion City Church, based in Atlanta.
"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," Mr. Giglio said in a statement delivered to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant responded in a statement that the committee hadn't known of Mr. Giglio's remarks at the time he was selected, and that "they don't reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural."
She added that as the committee works to "select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration's vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans."
Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council circulated a news release objecting to Mr. Giglio's removal from the program. "Catholic, Evangelical Protestant and Orthodox churches all actively proclaim that sexual intimacy within the marriage of one man and one woman is the only biblically-sanctioned human sexual behavior," Mr. Perkins said in the statement. "What is shocking is the intolerance of the Obama team."
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