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O’Donnell on the Politics of the Bible, Wilson on Pastor Giglio’s Connection to Uganda

O’Donnell on the Politics of the Bible, Wilson on Pastor Giglio’s Connection to Uganda

by Karen Ocamb on January 11, 2013

In his refreshing take on the removal of Pastor Louie Giglio from delivering the benediction at President Obama’s Inauguration because of Giglio’s antigay views, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell questioned the very use of the Bible itself in the swearing in ceremony. In Giglio’s offensive sermon, he says the Bible objects to homosexuality; McDonnell says his version of the Bible never uses the word “homosexuality” but instead says “effeminate” – pointing out that the absolute Word of God has changed over the years. O’Donnell also notes that:

Giglio also defined the gay rights movement as one that “is not a benevolent movement, it is a movement to seize by any means necessary the feeling and the mood of the day, to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle, as it relates to family.”

“He says the movement ‘is not a benevolent movement,’ and that’s simply not true,” said MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. “It is a movement filled with benevolence. But the rest of what he says is actually true.”

Giglio’s statement is half-correct, O’Donnell said: “The ‘by any means necessary’ bit is a little rhetorically over the top, but yes, we do want to create the feeling that the gay lifestyle is an acceptable norm in our society and is given full standing as any other lifestyle. That is exactly what the gay rights movement wants and what it has been successfully achieving for years now.”

O’Donnell  notes that the Inaugural Committee will now make sure that “whoever delivers the benediction rejects the same parts of the Bible that President Obama rejects, and most Democrats reject, even though every word of the Bible is the word of God.” Additionally:

the book will be held by a First Lady who is a descendent of slaves. But the holy book she will be holding does not contain one word of God condemning slavery. Not one word. But that same book, which spends hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages condemning all sorts of things and couldn’t find one sentence to condemn slavery, does indeed find the space to repeatedly condemn gay people, as the now banished Louie Giglio said it does.

Meanwhile, researcher Bruce Wilson points out that Giglio was even more harshly antigay than we thought – raising serious questions about how the vetting committee missed the pastor’s ties to Uganda:

Like [Pastor Rick] Warren, Giglio has ties to the epicenter of anti-LGBTI activism in Uganda. For Warren, it was his partnership with Martin Ssempa and involvement with The Fellowship. For Giglio, it is an association with a key church that supports an eliminationist bill, looming before Uganda’s parliament since 2009, that would virtually legislate Uganda’s gay community out of existence.

How could it have happened that such a pastor could have been picked to sanctify the inauguration of a president who has taken a bold, if belated stance in support of gay rights?  A few voices familiar with the intersection of  religious right and politics have some thoughts on the Giglio fiasco [1, 2.] But back to Giglio:

On January 9th, 2012, a Thinkprogress report on conservative evangelical megachurch pastor Louie Giglio prompted a firestorm in activist human rights media and by the next day Giglio had been removed from the inaugural program. As Thinkprogress described, in a 1990s sermon pastor Giglio had,

“advocated for dangerous “ex-gay” therapy for gay and lesbian people, referenced a biblical passage often interpreted to require gay people be executed, and impelled Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” and prevent the “homosexual lifestyle” from becoming accepted in society.”

In a statement [2] addressing his de-listing from the inaugural program, pastor Giglio explained,

“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years.”

Giglio might have plausibly claimed that his views on homosexuality had evolved since the 1990s sermon, except that his ministry has also, since 2008 (when the Watoto choir sang at Giglio’s Passion conference in Kampala) or earlier, had an institutional relationship with a church in the vanguard of Uganda’s mounting crusade against LGBTI rights, the Watoto Christian Church — whose church elder Stephen Langa has played a central role in agitating for the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill that has loomed before Uganda’s parliament since 2009.

Langa is now one of four alleged co-conspirators named in lawsuit over a supposed plot to deprive Ugandan LGBTI citizens of their human rights.

Please read the rest of Wilson’s expose at Talk 2 Action.  But again – how did this guy become the Inaugural Committee’s choice to represent the religious leanings of Barack Obama?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jay January 12, 2013 at 7:24 AM

See the blog at glbtq.com by Claude Summers entitled “Louie Giglio and Ryan Andresen: A Reflection on Spiritual Terrorism.” Here is a link. Summers presents Giglio as a perpetuator of spiritual terrorism and boy scout Ryan Andresen as a victim of spiritual terrorism.


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