After whatever combination of personal decision to withdraw, and being encouraged to withdraw, saw the exit of Pastor Louie Giglio as Obama’s choice to provide the benediction at the Inauguration, the replacement is from the “Church of the Presidents.”
CNN reports that the Rev. Luis León, pastor of Saint John’s Episcopal Church, which is across the street from the White House, and “dubbed the ‘Church of the Presidents.’”
Giglio’s anti-LGBT stance from years earlier, along with what appeared to be an unwillingness actually to renounce that stance, resulted in his withdrawal. León would seem to be a mostly uncontroversial choice. As Box Turtle Bulletin notes, he
… delivered the invocation at the second Inauguration of President George W. Bush. Which means that pretty much everyone should be happy with this choice. Right?
According to Think Progress, León is a “naturalized citizen” who “immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1961 at age 11.”
From the CNN report:
The historic church León has pastored since 1995 has been connected to every president since its founding in 1815. Inside the historic building, Pew 54 is reserved for presidents whenever they come to worship.
President Barack Obama and his family have worshiped at the church numerous times during his first term. They have visited the church more times than any other during his presidency, and the president and León are said to have a good relationship.
It seems, as the Box Turtle post puts it, that “pretty much everyone should be happy with this choice.”
There is this, though, from CNN:
The Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican tradition, voted at their annual convention in July to approve the blessing of same-sex ceremonies. Such services are not considered marriage ceremonies, media affairs representative Nancy Davidge told CNN at the time. …
The move makes the church, with 2 million adherents, the largest U.S. denomination to sanction such ceremonies. Earlier this month the Washington National Cathedral announced it would begin hosting such ceremonies immediately following the implementation of a Maryland law allowing same-sex marriage.
As Giglio was too “evangelical” or “conservative” or “right-wing” for some, León will probably not be “evangelical” enough, or too “liberal” or “left-wing,” for others. Differing definitions of things like “evangelical,” not to mention differing ideas of the role of “religion” in government, assure a never-ending supply of controversies. Maybe in this case we’ll actually avoid that with Rev. León.
Somewhat, or perhaps a lot, off subject, and repeating myself: why does the Inauguration of presidents have to turn into a complicated, and expensive, production?
(Rev. Luis León Via St. John’s Episcopal Church)