The Washington Post reports that Louie Giglio will offer the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration. Here’s a bit from the report:
The benediction will be given by conservative evangelical pastor Louie Giglio, founder of the student-focused Passion Conferences, which draw tens of thousands of people to events around the world.
The contrasting choice of speakers are typical of a president who has walked a sometimes complicated path when it comes to religion — working to be inclusive to the point that critics at times have questioned his faith.
In a statement released by the inaugural committee, the president said the careers of Evers-Williams and Giglio “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.”. . .
An inaugural official said Giglio was picked for the benediction in part because of his work raising awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Those were core issues at his most recent conference, Passion 2013, attended by more than 60,000 mostly young evangelicals in Atlanta.
“During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one,” Giglio said in a statement. “And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker.”
Then further down in the report there’s a line reminding us why it can be controversial when a real, live Christian is invited to pray:
Some details of the inaugural ceremony have changed over time, including the move to the west side of the Capitol from the east side. But historians say the role of an unspecific deity has been a prominent constant.
You’ll remember that Rick Warren stirred the pot at the last inaugural by ignoring the “unspecific deity” and praying in Jesus’ name in about four different languages. I expect Giglio will be equally clear and will likely draw similar criticism. As Giglio prepares to lead the nation in a prayer, I’m sure he could use our prayers.
James Harold Thomas
I saw a long segment on cnn about this yesterday. It seemed weird to hear a mainstream media source presenting evangelical Christianity in such a positive light.