The Presidential Inaugural Committee has chosen a replacement for Atlanta pastor, Rev. Louie Giglio, who pulled out of Obama’s inauguration ceremony last week, over an anti-gay sermon he delivered back in the mid-1990s, The Huffington Post reports.
new pastor chosen to give the benediction at President Obama’s
swearing-in ceremony on 21 January, is the Cuban Rev. Luis Leon who
“ministers at St. John’s Church, an Episcopal parish near the White
House and the one that Obama most frequently attends with his family,”
the newspaper informs.
A source with close ties to the Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed to The Huffington Post that Leon had been selected, via phone on Tuesday night.
Leon is quite a
different choice from Giglio, a conservative evangelical who is renowned
for his fight against human trafficking. Giglio lost credibility,
however, when revelations were made about a sermon he delivered,
speaking out against ““the aggressive agenda” of the gay community”,
saying that their sexual orientation could be changed “through the
healing power of Jesus”, The Huffington Post recalls.
Leon’s parish, on the
other hand, welcomes openly gay members, has “openly gay, non-celibate
priests and has had a gay bishop,” the newspaper adds. It also
“announced this summer that it would bless same-sex partnerships and
ordain transgender priests.”
The pastor “gave the invocation at Bush's
2005 Inaugural and his church, nicknamed the "church of the presidents,"
has had every president since James Madison attend its services, though
not all have been members,” The Huffington Post goes on to say.
Leon was baptized into
the Episcopal Church in Guantanamo, Cuba. In 1961, at the age of 12, he
got on an "Operation Peter Pan" flight out of Cuba, heading for the
U.S., where he received support from the Episcopal Church in Miami.
graduated from the University of the South in 1971 and obtained a
Masters in Divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in
He is a member of the Board of Regents of the University
of the South where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree
He is also a founding member of the Washington Interfaith
Network and the Wilmington Interfaith Network.