Juxtaposition: Christians in the Capital

Yesterday, the inaugural committee announced that Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, would be giving the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony on January 21. Less attention was given to the selection of conservative megachurch pastor Louie Giglio, who will give the benediction.

Giglio’s “Passion” conferences are known for their focus on fighting human trafficking, which is probably why he was chosen. But it turns out that Giglio also has a history of anti-gay pronouncements, and advocating “ex-gay, reparative” treatments:

Men, women, I can’t say anything other to you tonight than this, that if you look at the counsel of the word of God, Old Testament

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, 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. You come to only one conclusion: homosexuality is less than God’s best for his creation. It is less than God’s best for us and everything in our lives that is less than God’s best for us and his plan for us and his design for us, is sin. 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.

Meanwhile, the National Cathedral has announced that it will begin hosting same-sex weddings immediately, making it the most prominent Episcopal church to do so. Bishop Mariann Budde and the Cathedral’s dean, Gary Hall, decided to move forward after marriage equality was (finally) legalized in the District of Columbia and bordering Maryland. Here’s what Hall had to say about the decision:

I read the Bible as seriously as fundamentalists do. And my reading of the Bible leads me to want to do this because I think it’s being faithful to the kind of community that Jesus would have us be. As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.

For us to be able to say we embrace same-sex marriage as a tool for faithful people to live their lives as Christian people, for us to be able to say that at a moment when so many other barriers toward full equality and full inclusion for gay and lesbian people are falling, I think it is an important symbolic moment.