In 1954, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) began televised hearings as he investigated the United States Army, which he charged with being “soft” on communism. The question he would ask of witnesses during the hearings became notoriously attached to his persona: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”
With Barack Obama’s second inauguration looming before us, are we now at the cusp of a new age of McCarthyism, in which the key question is, “Are you now or have you ever been one who believes that the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered lifestyle is anything less than morally acceptable, as normal as heterosexuality, and worthy of celebration?”
It’s the question, it appears, that President Obama should have asked before inviting pastors to give the invocations at his inaugural ceremonies. First it was Rick Warren, now it is Louis Giglio. The president, it seems, can’t get his pastors politically correct enough for his far-left supporters, as another embattled man of the cloth has become the object of the left’s attacks because of his statements against the gay lifestyle.
Pastor Giglio, who heads Atlanta’s Passion City Church and is founder of the Passion Conferences, an outreach effort to students on college campuses, has withdrawn from giving the invocation at the inaugural ceremony because of the uproar that arose on Wednesday when Think Progress, a liberal watchdog group, announced it had discovered a sermon Giglio preached 20 years ago, during which he stated that homosexuality is sinful and that the “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle…is through the healing power of Jesus.”
In the 1990’s sermon, Giglio also expressed that Christians must “lovingly, but firmly respond” to an “aggressive agenda” by some in the homosexual community.
“We’ve got to say to the homosexuals,” Giglio said, “the same thing that I say to you and that you would say to me…it’s not easy to change, but it is possible to change.”
The White House and the Inaugural Committee were reportedly happy to highlight Giglio and to celebrate his activism on sex trafficking issues, work which it now appears is insignificant if one’s sole focus in life is to berate people who think differently than you do on the subject of gay lifestyles.
Expressing frustration with Obama’s choice of clergy, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, a website devoted to fighting anti-gay religious extremism, said:
I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed that our political allies fail to offer such prominent platforms to progressive clergy who clearly need to have their public profiles elevated. Is there not one progressive preacher in this country of 300 million Americans the president could have chosen?
It’s always our side that engages in unreciprocated “bridge building” when we should use such opportunities to express and promote our values. It’s unfathomable, for example, that Mitt Romney would have chosen Bishop Gene Robinson to give a sermon at his inauguration. This is another lost opportunity and a slap in the face to progressive faith leaders. It’s a shame we consistently squander situations where we could highlight more enlightened religious views.
Fortunately for intolerant “bridge-builders” like Besen, the Inaugural Committee got the memo, so the people who participate in the inauguration will now all think the same way, since, in the “New America,” everyone must believe in the same principles, all the time.
Though some sources say that Giglio volunteered to withdraw from the inaugural proceedings, Addie Whisenant, spokesperson of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, seemed to make clear that Giglio was not welcome in light of his views:
We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection, and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.
“All Americans,” that is, unless you happen to believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and the traditional family.
It seems, from Whisenant’s statement, that Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, and even Muslims are no longer welcome at public events because these groups believe in the primacy of marriage between a man and a woman, and the traditional family.
Pastor Giglio’s replacement, who will undoubtedly be asked the “New McCarthyism” question, will join Richard Blanco, a Cuban-American gay man, who will serve as the inaugural poet, and the Lesbian and Gay Band Association of St. Louis, one of the first selections to march in the inaugural parade. In addition, helping to fund the ceremonies is gay activist Jon Stryker, whose corporation, Stream Line Circle, is one of only seven corporate donors of the inauguration. Stryker is a billionaire Obama backer and heir to the Stryker Corp., one of the largest medical device manufacturers in the country.
Is America ready for the era of “The New McCarthyism?”