Today, I appeared on CNN with host Carol Costello to share my viewpoint on Pastor Louie Giglio pulling out of the Inauguration. As I told the New York Times prior to Giglio’s withdraw:
“It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on L.G.B.T. people at a moment when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues.”
Well, it seems that the pastor had not evolved and the administration had to show him the door yesterday. John Aravosis at Americablog believes the pastor was essentially canned, and I agree. Here was TWO’s official statement:
“We applaud the president for removing a divisive figure who would have cast a shadow over the inauguration ceremony. We hope he uses this opportunity to choose a progressive faith leader who values inclusion for all Americans.”
“It is still baffling that Giglio was chosen in the first place. We are confident that with a concerted effort the president can complete the Herculean task of finding a preacher that doesn’t disdain LGBT people.”
Needless to say, the Religious Right is hopping mad. R. Albert Mohler Jr. wrote in BPNews:
The gauntlet was thrown down yesterday, and the axe fell today…And there you have it — anyone who has ever believed that homosexuality is morally problematic in any way must now offer public repentance and evidence of having “evolved” on the question. This is the language that President Obama used of his own “evolving” position on same-sex marriage. This is what is now openly demanded of Christians today. If you want to avoid being thrown off the program, you had better learn to evolve fast, and repent in public.
What the fundamentalists don’t get is that we also have freedom of speech. For every anti-gay action they take — there will be a reaction, and the American public is increasingly turned off by blatant acts of homophobia. Preachers like Giglio and Mohler are free to say what they want. But times have changed and they can no longer expect people to sit there with a polite smile as they bash their gay friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers.
I was up against ant-gay activist Peter Sprigg, who once said he wanted to export homosexuals out of the United States. He later apologized for the comment, but his overheated rhetoric helped land the Family Research Council on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. I thank the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) for their accountability project, which provides background on scoundrels like Sprigg.