When preacher Rick Warren was picked to give the prayer at the 2008 inauguration of Barack Obama, there were protests about his anti gay views but not enough to have the invitation withdrawn. This year the inaugural committee picked preacher Louie Giglio to give the benediction on January 20th but when videos surfaced that he too had preached anti-gay messages in the past and protests again erupted, he withdrew from the proceedings, likely because he would have been disinvited anyway.
In his statement, Giglio did not disavow his past opposition to homosexuality but merely said that “this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years.” His reported replacement is a Hispanic Episcopal priest from a church near the White House that is deemed to be ‘gay friendly’.
I suspect that the reason Giglio has changed his priorities and dropped vigorous anti-gay preaching is because he is smart enough to see that times are changing. Except for the real bigots, any evangelical preacher who seeks to broaden his or her base is likely to go silent on the gay issue as a precursor to slowly accepting it later as they realize they are on the losing side, especially when it comes to young people. One sees signs of such changes in attitudes everywhere. For example, surveys show that the numbers of Americans who view homosexuality as a sin is dropping precipitously, now down to a little over one-third of the population. Being anti-gay is no way for an ambitious preacher to increase market share in a crowded field.
Is it any wonder that even the Mormon church, which poured money and people in 2008 into fighting for Proposition 8 that defined marriage in California as only between a man and a woman, and was stung by being viewed as bigots as a result of the backlash from their actions, is beginning to thaw in its attitude towards gays? There was even a well-attended Gay Pride parade in Salt Lake City this year.
Although the Mormon church has still a long way to go, I would not be surprised if their prophet is seriously thinking about the desirability of having a revelation concerning this.