Pastor Louie Giglio (Photo provided by: WXIA, Atlanta)
WASHINGTON, DC (CBS)--Pastor Louie Giglio, who had been selected to deliver the benediction at President Obama's inaugural swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21, has dropped out of the event, CBS News confirms, after an anti-gay sermon he delivered surfaced online.
Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, is the founder of Passion Conferences, a movement known for gathering college-aged young people.
On Wednesday, the liberal blog ThinkProgress uncovered a sermon Giglio delivered in the mid-1990s in which he preaches against the "homosexual lifestyle" and urges Christians to reject it.
"We must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda of not all, but of many in the homosexual community," Giglio said. "Underneath this issue is a very powerful and aggressive moment. That movement is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement 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 and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family."
In a press release this week announcing Giglio's participation in the inauguration, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said Mr. Obama was involved in selecting Giglio and others to participate in the ceremony. In a statement, Mr. Obama said of Giglio and civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams (who is also participating in the inaugural ceremony), "Their careers reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans - justice, equality, and opportunity."
Giglio withdrew from the inaugural ceremonies shortly after a liberal organization began petitioning his participation online. The controversy over his participation is similar to the dust up in 2009, when Mr. Obama chose Pastor Rick Warren, an opponent of same-sex marriage, to deliver the benediction.