Benediction and Outreach

You may have heard by now about the very negative reaction that greeted the news that the president had chosen Louie Giglio, a conservative evangelical megachurch minister from Atlanta, to give the benediction at his Inauguration. ThinkProgress quickly came up with a bunch of really nasty things Giglio had said about LGBT folk in the 1990s.

As Religion Dispatches‘ Sarah Posner noted, the anger about the Giglio invitation fed on residual unhappiness with Obama’s decision to give Rick Warren the same role in the 2009 Inauguration, and among progressive Christians, frustration at the White House’s stubborn insistence on showering attention on Christian Right types in the name of a patently ineffective outreach.

Today we learn that Giglio has withdrawn from the Inaugural gig, with what sounds like a shot at the “agenda” (a favorite Christian Right term for the nefarious plans of those favoring equality) of those criticizing him.

So Obama needs someone to give the benediction, which he clearly considers a vehicle for “outreach.”

I have an idea for him: my own pastor, Dan Paul of the Christian Church of Pacific Grove, California.

Dan is a good, solid progressive Christian who gives wonderful benedictions. He also happens to be a cousin of Ron and Rand Paul, though he shares none of their politics.

So in one fell swoop, the president could give the watching millions a fine, un-divisive benediction, and perform some useful outreach to the Family Paul and its many fans.

You’re welcome, Mr. President.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.