Louie Giglio and the power of the blogs

After nearly nine years of blogging, and 18 years of online organizing, I’m still routinely amazed by the power of the progressive blogosphere, and more generally the power of the Internet for political advocacy.  To wit: The case of Louie Giglio, a southern pastor who was chosen to give the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. And, thanks to the blog ThinkProgress, we now know he’s also an anti-gay bigot.

It all started Tuesday when the Obama inaugural committee announced that Louie Giglio was going to be giving the benediction at this inaugural swearing in ceremony:

pastor louie giglio

Within a day the blog – and in particular, the blog ThinkProgress and their blogger Josh Israel – uncover past comments by Louie Giglio that are incredibly homophobic.  You see, Giglio thinks gays are sinful (not that unusual), can be cured of their gay-ness (a bit more unusual), and he deems them a “malfunction” (okay, that one’s pretty out there).

And the story goes BOOM!

Part of what helped this story explode was what happened four years ago, during the first Obama inaugural.  They invited a preacher for that event too, and he was another right-wing hater, Rick Warren, who just happened to have been involved with the passage of Pr0p 8 in California, repealing marriage equality in that state, just months before the swearing in.

The Warren imbroglio was a huge controversy in the weeks before the inauguration.  And it was fed, in great part, by the progressive blogs.

Fast-forward to 2013, and the same thing appears to be happening all over again.  Just take one look at tomorrow’s NYT.  The article about the Louie Giglio controversy cites three sources.  ThinkProgress (a blog).  Wayne Besen (not quite a blogger, but a more-or-less individual player who created his own small and nimble online organization dogging the religious right, and especially the “ex-gays” who claim they can cure homosexuality).  And me – they quoted my blog post on Louie Giglio, and I didn’t even realize it was in the story until I got to the end of it.

So basically, this story was exposed by a blog, and fanned by the larger progressive Netroots, which I’d consider Wayne Besen a part of, rather than by large advocacy groups or the major media. I’m not knocking large advocacy groups or the media – I believe both serve a useful purpose.  I’m just kind of amazed that for the second time in a row, the Netroots have cast a shadow on the President’s inauguration, and for the second time in a row, it’s over a gay snafu.

And it gets even better. Now there’s a petition on the White House Web demanding that Louie Giglio be replaced.  More independent progressive advocacy in action.

For any who question the importance or usefulness of what bloggers do, I think this is a good illustration that whatever you say about us, we do have our moments.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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31 Responses to “Louie Giglio and the power of the blogs”

  1. Cantwealljustgetalong says:

    It sounds like the writer of this blog is more of an anti pastor bigot than the other way around. Since when does having a different view mean you are anti? Excuse me, but isn’t true acceptance and diversity allowing someone to disagree with you without calling them names?

  2. thenewsmonkey says:

    SO seems the issue is with what the Bible says. I do not see anyone proving that in the Bible, Giglio is wrong. People do not like hearing what God says about “sin”. People want GOD, to be more like “them” or accept their “moral views”, instead of trying to be more like what God, wants for them. Interesting.
    Waiting for someone to prove the Bible (God) accepts homosexuality. He accepts , loves the people, not the sin.

  3. karmanot says:

    YES! You know how much we love the pet vids, so we did this take on the Giglio imbroglio: http://adgitadiaries.com/2013/01/09/bodhi-dog-and-friends-against-obama/

  4. karmanot says:

    “Obama is just an asshole”—– that’s a good place to start.

  5. Don Chandler says:

    It must have worked! I signed it too. It does help to be informed.

  6. lynchie says:

    I think frankly he doesn’t give a shit. He is the Spock of politics.

  7. lynchie says:

    You mean wouldn’t want them to feel like actual Americans.

  8. lynchie says:

    He can’t stand to be hated so he keeps trying to blow the right wing. It will give him more speaking opportunities when he goes on to his just rewards from Wall Street.

  9. lynchie says:

    DADT was done to get the votes for re-election and to let him give his little epiphany on his “evolution”. Few people really change and the only reason he changed now is we jumped on him. Hope the electorate beat the shit out of him if he gives in on SS and medicare. There will not be a single Dem that we allow to be relected and not primaried if they cave (like we know they will).

  10. CaenAshlar says:

    It should be clear to anyone with half a brain that is not a friend but a political ally when its in his interests. DADT would still be on the books if activists hadn’t harassed him. I have no doubt that he would prefer to be friends with the Rick Warren types than with the gays.

  11. Stev84 says:

    He isn’t just anti-gay he is batshit insane in general. Check out some of his other sermons. Like saying some very vaguely cross-shaped molecule is proof of god, or that the eye-like structure in the Hourglass Nebula is god looking down on us. He makes Rick Warren look sane and moderate.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Great news — source?

  13. Constant Comment says:

    UPDATE: Giglio removed from inaugural program.

  14. UncleBucky says:


    I nominate Fr. Michael Pfleger from Chicago’s St. Sabina Parish to say the blessing.

    Him, or anyone from the Liberation Theology Movement (Vatican II), Catholic Worker Movement or the Social Gospel Movement (Protestant).

    I’ve had it with the religious “scolds”. Calvinism is so overrated in this Country.

  15. Don Chandler says:

    history repeats itself…he needed gay money, gay votes, and gay effort to get re-elected…and we get romneylite.

  16. Don Chandler says:

    “Wired: For a Life of Worship,” Giglio writes that teenagers are “wired for the opposite sex, for sure.”–from snippet from huffington.

    I wonder where giglio divined this surety? I guess I’m wired for a life of science.

  17. dcinsider says:

    Not sure I’d go that far, but it is true.

    Obama. Doesn’t. Get. Us.

  18. Randy Riddle says:

    Thank you for including the petition link – signed and passed along to others.

  19. Steve_in_CNJ says:

    I’ve been practicing “Giglio imbroglio” all morning.

  20. Drew2u says:

    Well of course, because both sides are equal, right?

  21. Drew2u says:

    Not to cast dispersion on the newsmakers, but it seems like talking about drone strikes has become the new du jour story. Unfortunately I don’t think anything’s going to be done about it, just “Hey, lookit!” articles to be forgotten.

  22. nicho says:

    I think Drone Boy and his bankster buddies had already “cast a pall” over the inauguration, before they decided to wheel out another hate preacher to kick off the festivities.

  23. rmthunter says:

    The depressing part is I don’t even think it’s deliberate. The stated reason was his involvement in highlighting human trafficking, and whoever’s vetting these people, I’ll bet anything, never thought to look beyond that — or didn’t connect the dots. I’d guess there’s some measure of trying to appeal to the right-wing fundamentalists, to what point I can’t imagine — they hate him, they’ve always hated him, and they always will hate him because he’s not one of them.

    Remember, this is a president who has spent the last four years negotiating with himself. Why should his staff be any different?

  24. ronbo says:

    Just when you think our mixed-race President knows the score… we get yet another FAIL.
    Does the President hate GLBT Americans so very much that he has to shit on them as often as he can by bringing the bigots in through the front door. His parade this time is without hope, only hype. This lesser of two evils is still a Republicon.

  25. Preacher Bigot must have been the component to offset Gay Latino Poet in the festivities. They wouldn’t want Queer Americans to feel too proud!

  26. Hue-Man says:

    I can already hear the gay-hating christianists ramping up the “Gays are Big Bullies” machine – this is a complete misread. After the slap in the face of Rick Warren four years ago, the LGBT community is wondering, does Obama hate the gays or does he care so little that he repeats the same horrifying insult? Either interpretation flies in the face of “No Drama Obama” especially after all the press in November about how LGBT support helped him get re-elected.

    There are thousands of preachers who have found enough sinning in the bible to provide them with ample material, without having to dip into the ambiguous writings on homosexuality. Obama’s people don’t even have to look very far – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/us/politics/washington-national-cathedral-to-hold-same-sex-weddings.html?_r=0

  27. Quilla says:

    Oh, my head. Disappointed (again!) in President Obama and his seemingly clueless handlers for showcasing yet another bigot at his Inaugural. Sign the petition and hope for the best. And I’m hoping Michele shows up to dance in a better dress than the re-purposed curtains she wore last time. But there’s no petition for that…

  28. Hatfield says:

    This has to have been predictable, so I guess the question is: why? What does this bigot bring that offsets the harm? Or, maybe Obama is just an asshole. That’s also possible.

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