UPDATE: My original headline reversed the course of events by suggesting that Pastor Giglio was “kicked out.” He kicked himself out; the inaugural committee slammed the door. From his statement, which was linked initially:
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.
What a difference a re-election makes. In 2008, Barack Obama extended an olive branch to critical social conservatives and invited Rick Warren to give a sermon at his inauguration. Warren’s joint interviews with Obama and John McCain were seen as a low point for the Democrats’ campaign, a real tangle of incoherent positions – it was a magnanimous gesture on the part of the new president.
Gay groups lambasted the incoming president for elevating an opponent of gay marriage, a supporter of Prop 8 in California. Obama told them to chill out.
Obama said he and Warren don’t agree on everything, but he’s collected a group of people to appear at his inauguration who share a variety of viewpoints.
Repeating a line from his campaign, Obama said, “We have to disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.”
This week, reporter Josh Israel dug up a 2011 sermon from Louie Giglio, who’d been slotted to say a prayer on January 21st. In it, Giglio had condemned gay activists, accusing them of trying “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.”
Twenty-four hours later, Giglio is out. The inaugural committee does not obscure the reason.
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. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. 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 big theme of the past two months – the cliff deal, filibuster reform, even the platinum coin – is a revivified Obama and Democratic party attempting to break conservative opposition at every opportunity. Where there was grudging acceptance of conservative opposition, there’s now a lust for victory.