Episcopal gay-affirming pastor chosen to replace Louie Giglio for Obama benediction

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An Episcopal pastor from a church not far from the White House has been chosen to replace evangelical Christian pastor Louie Giglio of Passion City Church to perform the official benediction at President Barack Obama’s public inauguration on Jan. 21.

The Rev. Dr. Luis León has led Saint John’s Church in Washington, D.C. since 1995, and was invited last week to deliver the benediction, CNN reported. He also delivered the invocation at George W. Bush’s second inauguration in 2005. …

“I think when we’re asking a blessing for this country,” the Episcopal pastor added. “I think we’re asking God to lift us up, to lift up what’s good in us. To remind us of what’s good in us and remind us to do what’s proper, what’s the good, the right thing for the country.”

Saint John’s Church’s is gay-affirming and blesses gay and lesbian unions, and has been attended both by President Obama and former President George W. Bush. After Passion City Church leader Louie Giglio decided to decline the invitation to lead the benediction due to protests against an anti-homosexuality sermon he preached 20 years ago, many had predicted that the minister chosen to replace him would be gay-affirming. …

Giglio was chosen to perform the benediction largely for his global anti-slavery campaign, which drew strong support from President Obama, but explained that he did not want to stir negative emotions at a time when the country needs healing, not division.

“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,” Giglio explained in a letter sent to the White House on Jan. 10.

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