A pro-LGBT Episcopal priest has just been chosen to deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama‘s second inauguration, after another priest withdrew when his extremely anti-gay sermon was discovered. Reverend Dr. Luis León, fourteenth Rector of St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., will replace Rev. Louie Giglio of Atlanta, Georgia. Reverend León delivered the invocation at President George W. Bush‘s 2005 inauguration, and both the Bush family and the Obama family have attended his church.
“Leon’s own parish is known for welcoming openly gay members,” The Huffington Post reports:
The church, which has openly gay, non-celibate priests and has had a gay bishop, announced this summer that it would bless same-sex partnerships and ordain transgender priests. This month, the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church, announced that it would also begin same-sex marriage ceremonies.
“I’ll be doing it,” said Leon, who declined to elaborate until the news was officially announced. A source close to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, speaking on background because the news had not been announced, confirmed the selection of Leon to The Huffington Post. The source said the official announcement would be made in coming days. The selection was first reported by CNN.
Reverend Dr. Luis León more closely represents the Obama administration’s policies, as the Presidential Inaugural Committee had promised when it announced Pastor Giglio removed his name from consideration.
“Leon began his spiritual journey when he was baptized into the Episcopal Church in Guantanamo, Cuba,” Huffington Post added. “In 1961, when he was 12 years old, he came to the U.S. on the “Operation Peter Pan” flights out of Cuba, joining thousands of children whose parents feared for their future in Cuba. When he arrived in America he was supported by the Episcopal Church in Miami.”
In his mid-1990′s anti-gay sermon, Pastor Giglio stated “it’s clear” gay people are going to hell:
“First Corinthians, Chapter 6. In verses nine and 10, it talks about the things that prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God. It talks about all kinds of immoral behavior. And right in the midst of that passage, right in the middle of that verse it says “and those who are homosexual.” It’s clear.”
The New York Times last week delivered this review of Giglio’s sermon:
Mr. Giglio cites Scripture in saying that homosexuality “is sin in the eyes of God, and it is sin in the word of God.” He warned against gay rights. “That movement is not a benevolent movement,” he said. “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.”
In this 2009 video, Reverend Dr. Luis León speaks in support of marriage equality, and says “diversity may be the hardest thing to live with, but it is also the most dangerous to live without.”
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