It was about four years ago. Barack Obama had been elected president of the United States and asked Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. Warren had hosted both presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, separately in televised interviews from the church he founded in 1980, Saddleback Church. Warren authored the Purpose Driven Life which “is a blue print for Christian living in the 21st century” and has sold millions, and his church is one of the largest in America with more than twenty thousand in attendance each week.
Warren also founded the P.E.A.C.E. plan, a global strategy to address poverty and disease. One area of emphasis is the spread of HIV/AIDS. It is not surprising that President Obama asked Rick Warren to lead our nation in prayer. When asked what the substance of his prayer would be, Warren replied he did not know, but he was a Christian so it would be a Christian prayer.
Obama’s choice of Warren for the invocation was met with controversy. As a pastor Warren had issued a statement two weeks prior to the 2008 general election supporting the adoption of proposition 8, a California state referendum that would have made marriage between a man and a woman state law. When Warren’s choice for the invocation was announced an immediate howl went up from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender crowd. Obama despite the controversy and criticism stuck to his guns and Warren gave the invocation. That was then, this is now.
Pastor Louie Giglio of Passion Church in Roswell, Georgia, had been tapped to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. Having won a second term, President Obama invited Giglio to his second inauguration, because of his work in helping millions around the world by laboring to eliminate the sex-trafficking trade. When it became known that he had preached a message condemning homosexuality as a sin in the mid 1990’s, the LGBT community were incensed and expressed their displeasure.
Giglio was urged by inaugural organizers to withdraw because, “We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural.”
Between the first and second inaugural the President has “evolved” on the issue of homosexuality and, made it possible for gays to serve openly in our Armed Forces, refused to have the United States Attorney General enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, a Federal law that only recognizes a marriage between a man and a woman as legal, and has acquiesced to the LGBT agenda giving them more political clout, and a stranglehold on religious freedom.
Conscious of evangelical feeling and thinking of winning a second term, Obama extended an olive branch to the evangelical community by letting Warren give the invocation at his initial inaugural celebrating diversity. Now at his final inaugural, when he no longer needs to court the evangelical bloc and wishing to please the faithful LGBT bloc, it would appear that the celebration of diversity has become narrower, meaning no benediction by Giglio. A lot can change in four years; then Rick was in, now Louie is out.
When the citizens of Sodom called for the two strangers who had come under Lot’s hospitality and the protection of his roof, he pled, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly (Genesis 19:7).” Angered at Lot’s words, the men of Sodom demanded, “Stand aside. This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them (Genesis 19:9).” Lot learned the hard way that you cannot reason with those who make the pursuit of please their first priority. You cannot reason with intolerance.
It makes no difference that Louie Giglio pastors a successful and growing church, and is a champion of the sexually exploited. It is not what he has done that matters, it is what he said almost twenty years ago and what he stands for now. And that cannot be tolerated.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said it succinctly in his column, “a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian truth.” We have drifted far from the spiritual moorings of our forefathers who came to these shores for “the advancement of the Christian faith.” Christians need to brace themselves against the storm that threatens moral sanity, reason and Revelation. It is coming.