Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta. He's shied away from hot-button Biblical topics that get evangelicals in trouble and works hard on combating human trafficking around the world. He runs these huge Passion events around the world. One in Atlanta last week attracted some 60,000 young evangelicals.
This week, he was invited to give the benediction at President Obama's inaugural.
But that was before it was revealed that he had preached about homosexuality 20 years ago.
Audio was dug up by a liberal attack group. In the audio, Giglio calls unrepentant homosexuality a sin and adds:
That’s God’s voice. If you want to hear God’s voice, that is his voice to this issue of homosexuality. It is not ambiguous and unclear. It is very clear. If you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament, New Testament, you come quickly to the conclusion that homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle. . . . homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin. It is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin according to the word of God.
[. . .]
The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been ingrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus. . . . We’ve got to say the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me . . . it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.
The media called this "vehemently anti-gay" or just "anti-gay." That Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel had been outed for supposedly anti-gay comments (they weren't, as I explain here) isn't as big deal to the media because they like him much, much more than an evangelical pastor.
He was quickly removed from the program.
The Orwellian comments from the White House's inauguration committee:
Choosing an affirming and fair-minded voice as his replacement would be in keeping with the tone the president wants to set for his inaugural ...
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 new tolerance requires that you affirm homosexuality or be a pariah. It's as simple as that.
Our society doesn't recognize terribly many sins outside of various environmental ones (unless you're Al Gore or a Hollywood celebrity for whom the normal exemptions apply). But it's definitely a sin to call homosexuality a sin (and, to a lesser degree, to call any sex outside of marriage a sin). Basically, it's a sin to teach what Christians have taught for thousands of years about sex. And, it turns out, it's an unforgivable sin.
See, Giglio did everything that the forces opposed to treating homosexuality as a sin would desire. He apparently stopped talking about homosexuality decades ago. That wasn't sufficient.
At this point, all those Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, evangelicals and others who teach the traditional Christian view about sex and marriage are going to have to either cover up any past allegiance to these doctrines or get ready to be denounced as a bigot.
Obviously no Christian outside of the Episcopal Church (or other shrinking mainline churches who have recently changed their doctrine on these matters) will be invited to give prayers in the public square.
As Joe Carter (from whom I got most of the information for this post) puts it:
The message of religious intolerance being delivered by President Obama, his staff, and many of his supporters is unmistakable: If you do not affirm homosexuality then you cannot be fair-minded. Affirmation of homosexual behavior is now a litmus test for President Obama and his political party. As Russell Moore notes, “by the standards of this controversy, no Muslim imam or Orthodox Jewish rabbi alive can pray at a presidential inauguration.”
Russell Moore went on to note that this means, in effect, that we have a "de facto established state church":
As citizens, we ought to insist that the President stand up to his “base” and articulate a vision of a healthy pluralism in the public square. Notice that the problem is not that this evangelical wants to “impose his religion” on the rest of society. The problem is not that he wants to exclude homosexuals or others from the public square or of their civil rights. The problem is that he won’t say that they can go to heaven without repentance. That’s not a civil issue, but a religious test of orthodoxy.
Affirmation of homosexuality is already required among elites. But it's coming to everyone. If you're someone who affirms homosexuality and always has, congratulations. You should be fine.
I don't think anyone who has given two seconds of thought about the conflict between gay rights, same-sex marriage and religious freedom is surprised by this. But it is happening pretty quickly.
For those of us that hold to the traditional Biblical teachings on sexuality, how do you plan to respond to being treated as a pariah?