An evangelical minister asked to give the benediction at President Obama's inauguration ceremony withdrew from the event on Thursday after a controversy about comments he made against homosexuality in the 1990s.
On Tuesday, the inaugural committee said it had invited the Rev. Louie Giglio, of the Passion City Church in Atlanta, to participate in the Jan. 21 ceremony. Soon afterward, the liberal website ThinkProgress posted excerpts and an audio file of a sermon Giglio gave in the "mid-1990s," in which he criticizes homosexuality as profoundly antithetical to Christianity. "Homosexuality is less than God's best for his creation," Giglio said in the sermon. "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."
Giglio said he withdrew because it was likely that the "prayer I would offer will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration."
Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said the panel had chosen Giglio because of his work to end human trafficking. "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," Whisenant said.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Tickets to President Obama's inauguration are supposed to be free, but they're being peddled on eBay and Craigslist for as much as $2,000 apiece.
Congressional offices and the Presidential Inaugural Committee are trying to clamp down on the black market. So far, their efforts haven't stopped online entrepreneurs. "These tix are going like hot cakes, and for FAR more than I am listing them for on here," boasted one anonymous seller in a post Wednesday on the website Craigslist.
The seller offered two seats to the Jan. 21 swearing-in at the Capitol for $4,000. Those tickets are supposed to be free from congressional offices. Scalping the tickets is not illegal. But the committee's chairman, Sen. Chuck Schumer, said he is encouraging members of Congress to distribute the 250,000 or so tickets fairly and to discourage scalpers.