Christianity,  Politics

Did the White House force Giglio out?

After the news broke yesterday that Louie Giglio would not be included in the President’s inauguration, there were conflicting reports about how Giglio’s removal came about. Many news outlets were saying that Giglio was forced out by President Obama’s inaugural committee. Others were saying that Giglio had removed himself in response to the public outcry about his sermon on homosexuality. As the day wore on and Giglio and the inaugural committee began releasing statements, many of the initial reports were updated to include the new information that Giglio had apparently removed himself.

In all the reports I read yesterday, however, there was only one that included a source confirming that the White House had initiated Giglio’s ouster. It was Sheryl Gay Stolberg’s report for The New York Times. Here’s how the fourth paragraph of her report appeared on The New York Times website early yesterday afternoon.

An official with Mr. Obama’s Presidential Inaugural Committee said the committee, which operates separately from the White House, vetted Mr. Giglio. People familiar with internal discussions between administration and committee officials said the White House viewed the selection as a problem for Mr. Obama, and told the panel on Wednesday night to quickly fix it. By Thursday morning, Mr. Giglio said he had withdrawn.

This paragraph was one of the most significant that I read yesterday because it confirmed that the White House had initiated pulling Giglio from the inaugural program. Yet by yesterday evening and in today’ print edition, this part had been removed from Stolberg’s report. The new paragraph has nothing about the White House’s involvement in removing Giglio. Did the White House tell the inaugural committee to “fix it” or not?

I think that all people of faith are rightly concerned that the White House might have initiated Giglio’s removal. It would be very significant for religious liberty in this country if a sitting President pressured/persuaded/forced the removal of a Christian pastor for his view on sexuality. If that didn’t happen, Americans need to know that. If it did happen, Americans deserve to know that as well.

Giglio has been rather hush about how the whole thing happened. He did say on his website yesterday that his decision to withdraw happened only “after conversations between our team and the White House.” Perhaps he could allay everyone’s concerns by telling what influence the White House had on his decision to withdraw.

The murkiness surrounding the whole matter is disconcerting. At the very least, it’s a question that some enterprising reporter needs to get to the bottom of. If the President or someone close to him was involved, that’s a significant precedent—one that every person of faith in this country has a stake in.

UPDATE: John Nolte did in fact follow-up this story with Stolberg of the New York Times, and he reported on it at Read it here.


  • frankturk

    Hi Denny —

    There’s no question that the move to remove Giglio is dirty trick politics at its worst — and a sign of the times without any question. At the very worst, Giglio’s views (at least in the past) are mainstream views in spite of the herculean effort to change that.

    However, Giglio’s responses this week to his removal/resignation aren’t any better. His approach to whether or not he still believes that homosexuality is a sin were, in my view, half-hearted at best. For him to say that he doesn’t have an opinion at this time, or to whitewash “glorifying Jesus” by overlooking the part of sin in the Christian message, seems unfortunate. While it’s tough that he was disinvited due to political reasons, I think it’s tougher that he seems to want to avoid doing the hard things that come with this kind of persecution — like speaking the truth regarding why he was turned away.

    I’m worried about and praying for my country; I’m disappointed in and praying for Giglio.

  • Don Johnson

    My take is that the inaguration is Obama’s party and he can invite or not invite or disinvite whomever he wants.

    The way things often work is that the disinvited person is informed and they are allowed to bow out themselves, like when being fired from a job, one is often allowed to quit first unless the firing is intended to be a “teaching moment” for others with a maximum penalty applied.

    This is the way power works, the one with power seldom wants to be seen as wielding power, they just want things to work out as they wish.

    • Ken Temple

      My take is that the inaguration is Obama’s party and he can invite or not invite or disinvite whomever he wants.

      Yes, but it should be clear to the public that the Obama Adm. un-invited him FIRST; and Giglio should have said and wrote: “I still stand by my sermon from the 1990s; and this shows that I need to preach on it again. God still has the power to change homosexual behavior and get victory and healing over those attractions. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Homosexual behavior and lust is still sin. There is no such thing as “same sex marriage”. Christian ministers should not be intimidated to keep quiet on this issue. Then Giglio should have taken the opportunity to say and write clearly 1. ObamaCare is unjust in what they are doing to Hobby Lobby (and economically unwise); and 2. Support for Abortion is sin also; repent. I am willing to pray for you at the Inauguration as long as you understand those positions. Giglio’s statement sounds like he doesn’t want to preach that homosexuality is wrong, anymore.

      The way things often work is that the disinvited person is informed and they are allowed to bow out themselves, like when being fired from a job, one is often allowed to quit first unless the firing is intended to be a “teaching moment” for others with a maximum penalty applied.

      In this case, that is wrong. The message of the gospel and the ethics and morality of this issue is crucial to make clear. What you wrote is just “political correctness”. Psalm 11 – “how can you say to my soul, flee to the Mountains?” . . when the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (read the whole Psalm) He was “fleeing to the Mountains” without proclaiming the ethnical and moral foundations of civilization. The homosexual agenda is the destruction of society. When preachers are afraid to proclaim the truth, the foundations are being destroyed.

      This is the way power works, the one with power seldom wants to be seen as wielding power, they just want things to work out as they wish.

      “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” English politician lord Acton – in the context of the 1870 Infallibility of the Pope dogma.

      Both Journalists, prophets (OT prophets to the Kings of Israel) and preachers are to speak truth to power, like John Knox to the Queen of England.

      Ken Temple

  • Bob Cordon

    You need to understand, there IS NO liberty let in our land. Our fair president has worked everishly to remove our liberties and to control the masses with government rule and presidential fiat. If he doesn’t like a pastor who tells it like it is about homosexuality, then he will remove him. He will not acknowledge responsibility or accept criticism for his actions. That is just not done.

  • James Stanton

    This doesn’t have anything to do with religious liberty. Giglio’s free to express his informed opinion just as Obama’s entitled to invite or disinvite as he wishes. I think Obama’s people didn’t expect the reaction from the gay rights crowd and acted to reduce the political damage. Giglio maybe just took the hint.

  • Bob Wheeler

    Ken- I believe you telling Giglio what he “should” say, is not much different than people trying to tell him what he “shouldn’t” say.

    This story is also noteworthy (but only a bit) in relation to the heat Obama took from the left 4 years ago with Rick Warren.

    The fact is- it’s really tough to host an event for the entire country and find ANY pastor/priest/rabbi that will be in line with the whole country. Like it or not we are a melting pot. I believe the first order of business for the invocation is to divide the country as little as possible. Unfortunately our media cycle makes it tough to find anyone that can pull that off.

    • apologeticsandagape

      Bob – As a fellow believer in Jesus Christ with Louie, and fellow preacher, and also I knew Louie Giglio (not a deep friendship, but acquaintance at church and college) for years together back in college in 1979-1983; we were at Ga. State University together and same local church (have not had contact since then); I can exhort him to not be afraid to say to the President what the Bible teaches about homosexuality and not just say, “that was 15-20 years ago” and “I don’t focus on that anymore”. The government cannot say “you shouldn’t say that” as that is Unconstitutional. Liberals and the gay agenda are free to say “you shouldn’t say that” – but we can still say, “Yes I should” and “yes you should.” So I think there is a big difference.
      Ken Temple

      • Bob Cordon

        My point in my original comment was that the President of the United States is NOT a God-fearing Christian. He favors homosexuality, gay rights, and the perversion of traditional marriage and family values.
        He doesn’t want to, and won’t allow himself, to hear a christian speak out against the sin of homosexuality. He shamefully uses his position to shut out dissenting views from his surroundings. I urge our friend to speak out loudly and often against President Obama’s White House for their refusal to accept the presence of a fine christian pastor who would have
        contributed greatly to the ceremony and its related activities. God Bless America. Bob

          • Bob Wheeler

            I don’t think there is much in your post (Ken) that really contradicts what I was saying in mine. My point was telling somewhat what they should or should not do is strictly advice, and that Giglio would choose to say or not say things to POTUS as he sees fit. If he chooses to back out to avoid creating a controversy that may have been the best course of action for his long term objectives, in his opinion. Obviously if you have a relationship with him, your advice may be taken more frequently than some other people.

            Big Picture: If he was the original choice for the inauguration that is an indication that POTUS obviously has some respect for his work, even if he doesn’t agree with everything. While there is no doubt about the Presidents stand on gay rights, I really believe this has more to do with avoiding a media circus than anything else. Unfortunately, his good work may be a casualty to the 24 hyper media cycle.

            Bob Wheeler

  • Michael Plato

    Well there is probably as good as time as any to drop the prayer from the inaugeraion altogether. If ministers now have to fit a mandated criterion set by the government (or one of their vetting committees) then it is about time for the church and government to part company completely. Otherwise Christians are going to have to contend with prayying to two Gods: the true and living God and the “public” God of the state. Let’s just end this charade before it becomes truly blaphemous.

  • apologeticsandagape

    Ken Temple here again. Apparently this post was rejected because I had a link (to John Piper’s sermon on homosexuality in 2012) in it and I forgot to put my first and last name.

    Bob Cordon – both your points are true. My point is a little different.

    My point is that Louie Giglio missed an opportunity to say something more clear to our culture today. His work on seeking to end human trafficking and slavery and sex-slave industry is great. That got liberals attention; andit got the Obama staff for his inaugural prayer – it got their attention; as it is good works shining before men (Matthew 5:16); it is a light in the darkness. He had a great opportunity to speak to all the young people that follow his ministry at the Passion conferences and his church AND the culture at large. His sermon was excellent from the 1990s – but his statement over withdrawing was weak. Yes, he was persecuted and called names by the left, etc. But he did not make it clear that that is still his position today. John Piper was not afraid to say it in the year 2012 – Go to desiring God dot org and search or go to June 16, 2012 – “Let Marriage Be Held in Honor – thinking Biblically about so called “same sex marriage”.

    If his statement was made clearer; then it would force the discussion more in our culture and more opportunity to preach the gospel.

    It seems some of the younger preachers are shy about speaking about this issue.

    God is still more powerful than someone’s sexual attractions and sinful desires. Jesus Christ is powerful to save and sanctify and change.
    Ken Temple

      • Ken Temple

        Thanks Denny!
        Is it ok to put my name in the body? ( I put it twice this time) The word press thingy automatically puts my web-site/blog name up when I sign into WordPress.

        Your blog is one of my favorite blogs – you do a good job of getting all the moral-social-political issues that are important for evangelicals up in a skillful way.
        Ken Temple

  • Daniel Darling


    I am troubled by Giglio’s removal, but I guess what bothers me a bit about the evangelical response is this: We are really willing to pin the blame on this on the President, but fail to give him credit for the choice in the first place. So if the committee’s pressure on Giglio is an indictment of the President, shouldn’t the committee’s decision to tap Giglio in the first place something for which they should be celebrated. I guess it seems that politics forces us to find no silver linings and give no credit to those with whom we disagree and yet we pound on those areas where we clearly are at odds.

  • robert526

    Robert Ziegler: I was at a volunteer breakfast prior to the gubernatorial inauguration today in Indiana. The man praying, presumably selected by those close to the governor-elect, asked for an end to “the scourge of abortion” in our society. I gather that wouldn’t have been welcome at the presidential inauguration either.

    Of course the front line of this battlefield isn’t on the steps of Capitol Hill or at state capitol buildings across the country, it’s in the relationships that we as believers have with those who haven’t been made new creations in Christ. It’s in the efforts going on in so many communities to begin biblical local churches or to strengthen those that already exist. The lack or covering of light in the souls of men is what leads to the evil attitudes and actions of our society.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.