Just a few months ago President Barack Obama seemed pretty excited to have Cardinal Timothy Dolan, an opponent of gay "marriage" offer the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. At that time, the Catholic vote was a point of concern in the election.
But it would seem the election is over. And it's now being reported that one of the pastors chosen to deliver the benediction at President Obama's inauguration withdrew because he once said homosexuality is a sin. This comment caused quite the ruckus from gay-rights groups and certain left-of-center websites. The pastor was even labeled "anti-gay."
And it was the promise of escalating outrage that caused Rev. Louie Giglio, pastor of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, to withdraw. He was afraid that his presence would become a distraction.
But I have to wonder if it would have been a distraction or a clarifying event? I give huzzahs to the Inaugural staff who seemingly pushed Rev. Giglio out the door. I prefer clarity on such issues.
Rev. Giglio said at some point in the 1990's that homosexuality was a sin. (Of course, the inclination itself is not but I'm pretty sure he meant the act.) He also said that those with the inclination towards homosexuality should turn to Christ for help.
Insert gasps here. A Christian!!! This was a very clear statement from Rev. Giglio about his beliefs. Kudos. Now, if you read the statement from the inaugural committee it's pretty apparent that the back of Rev. Giglio's pants have a POTUS shaped boot mark on them. They said:
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.
Inclusion and acceptance for all Americans? Well, it would seem not all. In short, they said we're kicking him out to show how inclusive we are. But at least they were clear. Huzzahs for clarity. They liked the part of his Christianity that was against human trafficking but not so much the part about homosexuality. Clarity.
What I don't like is that Rev. Giglio is saying he withdrew from the Inaugural. This surely is not something he wanted to do. I wish that instead of being accommodating, he should've made them kick him out. Look, when I was in college I was kicked out of plenty of places. And on those occasions, I made it clear I wasn't withdrawing for the evening. I didn't go quietly. There was yelling and feet pulling and hands holding onto door frames. In short, it was clear to all what the consequences were for violating certain rules of behavior. And many patrons better understood the rules of behavior because I, willing to be a cautionary tale for the benefit of my classmates, was being dragged out by bouncers.
But at least things were clear. I wish Rev. Giglio made it clear he was forced out. That would certainly clarify the conversation, wouldn't it? I'd like to have a discussion about what "inclusion" actually means in today's society. I'd like to be able to discuss "sin."
While Christians have been silent and accommodating for years, it seems that in thiscountry where everything is allowed, one of the only remaining sins is acting as a Christian in public. We now live in an odd time where imaginary rights take precedence over delineated rights such as the right to an abortion takes precedence over the right to life and more recently the right to contracept took precedence over the right to religious freedom.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli recently said about resistance to the HHS mandate that we need to be willing to go to jail to defend our religious liberty. He said, “And what I mean by that is people need to see this play out all the way to its logical conclusion. And, this guy is making them do it. God bless him.”
I think the time has come to put our hands on the doorframe. Let's yell a bit. Let's be real clear about what's happening. Let's not say we're withdrawing from public life to spend time in barred solitary confinement for a while. Let's offer some clarity.