Politics
US President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama announced his nominations of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.    AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) US President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama announced his nominations of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)  

White House petition aims to replace ‘anti-gay’ pastor as Obama’s inaugural benediction speaker; UPDATE: Giglio pulled

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

UPDATE:

The White House has removed controversial Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio Thursday morning from his role as benediction speaker at President Obama’s inauguration, according to a tweet from ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jon Karl.

Giglio, who was announced as benediction speaker this week, was the subject of a White House petition to remove him for his past anti-gay comments.

ORIGINAL REPORT BELOW
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A White House petition was created Monday to replace controversial pastor Louie Giglio as the benediction speaker at President Obama’s inauguration this month.

“We call on you to replace Giglio and to select a member of the clergy with a history of supporting LGBT equality to give the benediction at your second inaugural,” reads the petition, which has already received more than 900 signatures on the White House’s “We the People” website in less than one day.

Giglio, the Atlanta-based founder of the Christian youth-recruitment organization the Passion Conferences, has come under fire for comments he made in the 1990s criticizing the “aggressive agenda” of the gay movement and touting Christianity as the path out of a gay lifestyle. Giglio made the comments in a speech called “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality.”

Obama said Tuesday, before the scandal broke, that Giglio “represents the ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity that he pursues,” according to the Associated Press.

The controversy surrounding Giglio comes in the wake of allegations that President Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel denounced a Clinton Cabinet prospect in the 1990s as “openly, aggressively gay.”

The White House, which has promised to respond to every petition on its website that gains 25,000 signatures in 30 days, has yet to respond to the controversy dogging its benediction speaker.

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