The answer to my obviously alarmist title is, “NO.” But the question neatly frames the core of the issue over the brouhaha that is the Louie Giglio inauguration fiasco.
Louie Giglio, the popular champion behind ending global slavery
was asked to bow out removed himself from the inauguration Events because he preached a sermon 15 years ago about the Bible’s honest discussion of homosexuality.
I don’t have a lot of commentary about this particular turn of events. For more on that, see here. What I do have is a number of questions, which seem to shed light on this bizarre convergence of politics, agendas, intolerance, theology, and social justice.
- Why was Giglio selected in the first place? If President Obama wanted to avoid the EXACT SAME CONTROVERSIAL REACTION as his last inaugural prayer choice, the outspoken Megachurch pastor Rick Warren, then why select someone in the same theological tradition as Warren? I mean, did the Obama team not do their homework? Both men went to Southwestern Baptist Theological seminary in not-very-LGBT-friendly Texas. Both men have written for evangelical presses, are connected with evangelical networks, and preach the timeless gospel of Jesus Christ. The inaugural team is solely responsible for the controversy of the ask.
- Why did Giglio choose to resign instead of waiting for the President’s team to pull him? After all, Warren weathered the storm in 2009. I suspect that there was a private meeting between parties in which the team did ask for Giglio to step down and Giglio did the decent thing of publicly withdrawing (Detractors, please take notice of the man’s character). But why hide the Presidential team’s poor planning? I suspect, again, that Giglio has his eye firmly on the prize at stake – a legitimate shot at making headway on this global slavery movement and the cost of strategic collaboration outweighed the headache of squeaky wheel LGBT watchdog groups.
- Why would some in the LGBT movement attack and vilify a man who just raised millions of dollars to end global slavery? Isn’t this straining at gnats here folks? Is it really worth it to throw out all the good that Giglio has done because of a sermon he preached 15 years ago? Didn’t the pushback essentially come across as the LGBT movement being opposed to ending slavery? Someone in the PR camp needs to help people tone down their attacks.
- Does Giglio’s track record with the topic of the Bible and homosexuality really appear to threaten the LGBT movement? And furthermore, is it possible that a man who preached a sermon 15 years ago has modified in his tone or approach to the issue after 15 years? Why present this guy in such a static manner? The attack on Giglio by huffpost religion blogger Jaweed Kaleem was so thin in terms evidence that it seemed like more of a whiff than a landed punch.
- Doesn’t this backlash do more to harm the LGBT’s push for equality? Because honestly, what this story does is add further fuel to the fire that what those in the LGBT movement want is acceptance, not tolerance. Tolerance would have said, “While we don’t like his position on homosexuality, we appreciate all he does for ending global slavery.” Acceptance says, “We want power and we want to be accepted and anyone who has ever said anything negative about homosexuality on any level — they should be publicly admonished. Their opinions are wrong and on the wrong side of history and we want to discriminate against them.” Which is exactly what just went down.
Again, my LGBT friends — if you want credibility in the public square, don’t use moments like this to practice reverse bigotry. Louie Giglio is an incredible human being who has done much to advance social justice in the world. And he is an incredibly beloved pastor and evangelical leader. And he is a good man. And he would have kicked the Obama Administration #2 off on a good note. And having him on board brings spiritual blessing to Obama. And you just stole that moment from our President and his team.
And President Obama, you just missed out on all the above because of listening to a few squeaky wheels. I feel bad for those in the LGBT movement who truly are on board for tolerance and who truly do want a civil public dialogue about the issue. These are the voices who are lost in the panic attacks. President Obama, you could have handled this issue in a better way towards a win-win goal. And it is unfortunate that you won’t have Louie to pray for you in public. Just know that Louie and countless other Bible believing Christians are praying for you daily. We got your back, even if it appears that you don’t got our’s.