The Giglio Imbroglio
Last week Louie Giglio made headlines when he stepped back from delivering the benediction at President Obama’s inaugural ceremony. Initially he was invited due to spearheading Passion’s efforts to end slavery abroad. But when Think Progress discovered a sermon Louie gave close to 20 years ago that does not endorse a homosexual lifestyle, and in fact calls it a sin, there was a brouhaha in the capital. If you are behind on all of this, then take a couple minutes to read this article, this one, and this one and then come back. Everything else I have to say is commentary.
Long story short, Louie stepped down (or was dis-invited, depending on which news source you read, but I tend to see more that report he stepped away voluntarily so as not to create more of a stir than had already been caused). In the time since all this went down there have been many shots fired from the left, the right, and just about any other direction you could imagine. People are attacking Louie, choosing to focus on the fact that he does not endorse homosexuality, demonizing him and declaring that he has no place in their America. They hurl bile and venom at him for this one item and ignore why he was originally invited to speak. And then there are those who are within the church that are rushing to Louie’s defense, claiming that Louie is being persecuted for his faith, and vowing to stand with him in this dark hour. My Facebook feed has been pretty clogged over the past few days with these types of posts.
To those who are attacking Giglio and his stance, I ask why is it okay for you to be intolerant of him when he has not spoken out against homosexuality in nearly 20 years? There is a constant cry for tolerance and acceptance that goes out in this country, demanding that everyone should validate every single belief that those around them have. Sure, we claim that we are tolerant, but tolerance is not vilifying someone else because they disagree with what I believe or because they believe I am living in sin. True tolerance is accepting the person, regardless of their beliefs. It is certainly possible to love and accept a person and disagree with their beliefs. or their lifestyle. I do not doubt for a second that Louie would show someone from the LGBT community genuine love despite his convictions about human sexuality. Love does not mean approval and agreement, or even validation of beliefs. Genuine tolerance swings the same way. When someone disagrees with you, your response should not be to attack them and insult them just because of your differences. Have some of the same tolerance you demand from the people you disagree with.
To those who are standing with Louie and seemed shocked and angry at this turn of events, I ask why are you surprised? Scripture teaches that Christ’s followers will endure persecution, trials and testing! Paul states that the way of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. When following in Jesus’ footsteps, we are supposed to encounter opposition, difficulties and people who will attack us for our convictions. Honestly, if you are not encountering opposition in your life for your faith, you probably aren’t spending any time outside of your holy huddle. Is this persecution? Not really. Louie’s life is not in danger, nor is his livelihood. His freedom to speak his mind is still intact, just not on stage at the White House. Is it disappointing that Louie is unable to share in the moment because of his beliefs? Certainly. But it should not come as a surprise to anyone who follows after Christ.
So what do you think about all of this? Have you been following the debate? Has this conversation come up in your church? How have you handled the discussion?