Matt Lewis

Will the Louie Giglio removal hurt Democrats with young Evangelicals?

As Patrick Howley reported, Atlanta-based Pastor Louie Giglio has announced he will not be giving the benediction at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony during his second inaugural.

Giglio’s decision to pull out of the prayer came amid criticism of a sermon titled, “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality,” that he gave in the 90s.

After the sermon surfaced, liberal groups began pressuring the administration to drop the pastor.

But while some on the left claim an “anti-gay” scalp, I can’t help but think the real loser here is Obama and the Democratic Party.

More and more, young Evangelicals have been moving away from focusing on traditional culture war issues (ironically, like gay marriage) and more and more toward issues like poverty, AIDS, etc.

In fact, Giglio is exactly the kind of person liberals should be attempting to co-opt. He is popular with young Christians, and is probably most closely associated with efforts to end human trafficking. (How horrible!)

News that Giglio wouldn’t be giving the benediction prompted liberal commentator Kirsten Powers, a Christian, to tweet:

This is not to say that Giglio’s decision to step aside will, in and of itself, persuade young Evangelicals to shy away from Obama and the Democratic Party. But it sure isn’t helpful. And one imagines this incident is indicative of something larger.

Much has been written lately about internal divisions within the GOP, but it is important to realize that the liberal coalition is often tenuously held together. You can never get 100 percent of the vote. At some point, there comes a point of diminishing returns. As you attempt to grow a coalition, you never know when adding one extra card might cause the house to collapse.

Still, this seems like a huge missed opportunity to steal what has been an incredibly loyal Republican coalition. Not since Jimmy Carter’s presidency have Democrats had such an opportunity to reach out to young Christians. But the radical elements within their coalition — angry over what a pastor said many years ago — seem dedicated to preventing such a shift.

This is a rare bit of good news for Republicans.