Gay-Friendly Episcopal Priest Luis León To Give Inaugural Benediction

ObamaThe Presidential Inaugural Committee has confirmed that the Rev. Luis León will give the benediction during Barack Obama‘s inauguration ceremony on January 21.

León was chosen after Obama’s original choice, Louie Giglio, a conservative evangelical, withdrew after anti-gay comments he made in the past came to light.

According to the Huffington Post:

León’s own parish is known for welcoming openly gay members. The church, which has openly gay, non-celibate priests and has had a gay bishop, announced this summer that it would bless same-sex partnerships and ordain transgender priests. This month, the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church, announced that it would also begin same-sex marriage ceremonies.

The First Family often attends León’s services at St. John’s Church, an Episcopal parish near the White House, nicknamed the “church of the presidents” as every president since James Madison has attended services there, though not all have been members.

This won’t be Rev. León’s first time at the inaugural rodeo since in 2005 he delivered George W. Bush’s benediction., but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his share of nerves.

“You don’t get used to this. I’m just as nervous now as I was the first time,” León told CNN. “From the moment someone asks you to do that, your wheels are spinning with what to say. So my wheels were spinning now.”

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  • Dakotahgeo

    Let this be a lesson to all future Presidents. ALWAYS research and background check your choices for any event, especially important, gala events such as an Inauguration! Bigoted, Bible-thumping, hysterical preachers are NOT wanted or needed for important government functions!
    Best wishes to Father Luis Leon and the good President Obama for a wonderful Inauguration! You certainly deserve it!
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • Wilberforce

    @Dakotahgeo: It might have been a strategic move by the administration, to give an opportunity to exclude a bigot from the ceremony. That makes its own statement.
    As for the new guy, I would have preferred Sister Nuns on the Bus. But you can’t always get what you want.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Wilberforce: Heh, heh, heh. I would agree with you… excellent move if that were the plan. Heyyyy, the bigots are still gonna bitch! Just wait, lolol. Kudos to you! D!

  • jwrappaport

    I look forward to the day when our commander in chief doesn’t feel the personal or political need to publicly appeal to the supernatural.

  • Dehreeus

    @jwrappaport: What is so wrong with the President being a Christian? That’s his business and this celebration IS all about him. :/ When you’re President, maybe you’ll have the option to cut the religious aspects of your inauguration.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Dehreeus: Thank you!

  • jwrappaport

    @Dehreeus: I have no problem with him being Christian – you misunderstand me and joust with straw men. My problem is that acts of government are constantly given a religious imprimatur, which smacks of religious establishment by the state and just don’t sit well with me.

    Also, the installment of a chief executive is not all about the executive. Quite the contrary: it is about the people who put him there and the document he will again swear to uphold and defend, which includes a strongly worded proscription against the establishment of a religion.

  • Fitz

    Everyone bitches about the bitches bitching, but this is a time when applying pressure WORKED.

  • LandStander

    @Dehreeus: What is wrong with the President of the United States believing in fairy tales about invisible men in the sky and demons living in fire under the Earth? Everything.

  • Badger88

    @LandStander: Where does the Bible say that Hell is a physical place beneath the Earth’s crust or that God is a white-bearded man lounging in the clouds? Nowhere. If you don’t think Christianity is true, that’s okay. But don’t ridicule other people’s sincere beliefs with absurd strawmen. Your attitude doesn’t make you an atheist; it makes you an asshole.

  • Wilberforce

    @Dakotahgeo: Thanks for the kind words. They are rare on the net, and so all the more appreciated by mineself.

  • Wilberforce

    @Badger88: I don’t think the militant gay atheists are as—–s. I think they’re ignorant ghetto queens sabotaging our movement by alienating our allies. They’ve been at it for the entire thirty years that I’ve been watching, first by telling us to ignore the spread of hiv, then attacking anyone who talked about prevention, forming the sisters of perpetual indulgence (perpetual indulgence being the last thing we need during an epidemic), treating the unattractive like dirt, ignoring people with brains and kindness, letting the sociopaths speak without challenge, and now attacking our friends in the liberal church. It’s all very tiresome. I only wonder what self-destructive rant they’ll think of next.

  • jwrappaport


    What does non-belief in the supernatural have to do with HIV denialism? Or sociopaths? Or thwarting HIV prevention efforts? Or treating the unattractive like dirt? I’m very confused.

    As to the charge of “ignorant ghetto queen,” I think one of us exposed his ignorance, and that would be you, big boy: Consider that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence promote AIDS awareness, safe sex, and help raise money for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The whole point of their sex shtick is to satirize and delegitimize the culture of sexual shame that the Catholic church (and many other institutions) seeks to perpetuate.

  • Dakotahgeo

    As far as I’m concerned, the pouting-spouting atheists are no different than the right- wing-bat nut jobs who inhabit the internet blogs, who shoot and run. As a Christian minister, I really don’t give two snoots about the two aforementioned groups because they are difficult, if not impossible to work with, and you can’t teach them anything anyway. I respect their opinions and points of view, but outside that, they waste precious oxygen and airtime that others could use more wisely. Enough with the man in the sky non-sense as you call it. If you don’t believe in it, fine. Just don’t waste humans’ time with it. Both groups are borrrring! Thank you!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Badger88: Thank you, Badger88! I am fast running out of patience with people who smear others who believe in Christianity. If you don’t agree, Landstander, that’s fine. Just shut the door to the outside world regarding your po’ pity party! Cheesch!!! You’re just as bad as the Bible thumpers who treat the Bible as a weapon of mass destruction! Unnngh!!!

  • MK Ultra

    @Dakotahgeo: and you’re just as bad as a neo nazi.
    There. Now we’ve both made far reaching comparisons.
    It’s rich that you come here and compare LGBT to the very people who abuse us.
    Have we spent hundreds of millions fighting to remove the rights of the religious?
    Do christians have to cower in fear that they might be severely beaten or killed because they are too open about their christianity?
    Has the LGBT community accused christians of causing hurricanes, school shootings, 9/11 an called christianity “the greatest threat to America and the world”?

    Get over yourself, apologist. We’ve had enough of your transparent kind, wagging your finger at us for not being more “tolerant” of abuse.
    If you don’t like it fine. But no one has time for your passive aggressive, self rightous, moral relevancy garbage.

  • Dakotahgeo

    I have no idea what your point is. Sober up, sleep it off, and come back when you’re feeling better. My comment(s) will make better sense to you. Kudos and Nighty-night! (Wow, you sure missed the intent of the above comments and mine by a mile… yeeesch!!!).

  • jwrappaport

    @Dakotahgeo: I think MK’s point is very straightforward, although I’d have expressed it perhaps more diplomatically:

    Non-believers are very different from right wing Bible thumpers. Both groups have very strong beliefs and can be outspoken about them and even indelicate in expressing them, but in the words of the eminent Herman Cain, you’re comparing apples and oranges: we non-believers aren’t trying to tell you that you should me made to abandon your beliefs or that you should be denied equal treatment under the law – we’re simply saying (admittedly rather strongly at times) that religion should have no place in politics, and that we do not require an appeal to the supernatural to be moral, just, or good people.

    It’s as simple as that, and I certainly respect your freedom to practice just as much as I fight for my freedom to not believe – both can coexist peacefully, but we must maintain the secular character of our government and prevent our leaders from breaching the wall of separation between religion and the state. (Which goes both ways, which is to say again that your right to practice is equally essential.)

  • JayP

    I think the real point is, if we are being truly honest, is there is a large portion of the gay population that would love nothing more than to have christians eradicated. I’m also sure that there are many christians deep down that feel the same way about us. The reality is that both extremes are ignorant views, regardless of your belief in the beginning or the end of things.

    The part on the gay side that saddens me is that having that view is pretty damn hypocritical, and screams guilty of the exact same abuse we have experienced from the other side for so long. And I feel, can’t prove, that it is us in the middle who are truly the voices for change and bridging the gap bringing both sides together to not only make our future brighter legally, but socially.

    Some of you may not care about that, but I do.

  • Aidan8

    Really interesting thread…. Were this an Oxford-style debate, I believe Jwrappaport would win. (But then again, maybe I’m just one of “those” liberals who are sick-to-death of Christians whining about how oppressed they are)

  • Dakotahgeo

    @jwrappaport: My comment was made to expose the extremes of both the left and the right. You have put it much more succinctly than I did, but as a Christian minister, also caught in the middle, simply said that both extremes are getting boring and I’d rather read positive re-enforcing positive stories and statements, rather than the same old, same old. I trust this will clarify my stand. And thank you for your response sans the ranting, lolol.

  • jwrappaport

    @JayP: I’m a gay atheist and know a lot of atheists, gay and straight. I have literally never come across anyone who even remotely accepts the position that Christians should be eradicated. I don’t even know any to exist. In the words of Jon Lovitz from Wedding Singer: “He’s losing his mind…and I’m reaping the benefits…”

    In any event, I agree with the essence of your argument, which I understand to be that formal legal equality is only the beginning – it is social equality and harmony that is the ultimate goal.

    @Dakotahgeo: I understand your position, and frankly I have to say – it must be very hard to get flak from both the religious right and militantly secular gays. I have a feeling that our community’s attitudes about religion will soften considerably as we gain full legal and social equality, which is coming sooner than later I think.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Aidan8: Hi Aiden8. There is a vast difference between christians and “C”hristians! christians are those who constantly whine and warble about their, oooo, so miserable persecution from everyone outside of their “clan/cult”. Christians are those people who do the work of God by clothing, feeding, and helping in any number of ways those who are truly persecuted, such as the LGBTQIA community. Lest we forget to give thanks for the christians who are aiding our cause by reverse psychology, they need to know we are doing quite nicely on our own. Thank you for your comment, Aiden8!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @MK Ultra: Regarding the “neo-nazi” comment, lolol. I’ve never been accused of that before, but I will take it under consideration. Do you know where YOU live? The government and I do! You are already being watched from many angles, lolol. So am I… so are millions. Our job is to so live our lives that we need not be watched any longer. Verstehen sie? Sehr gut!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @jwrappaport: Thank you so much. After 25 years of teaching in the public schools and centuries in church music ministry and as Pastor/Hospise-Hospital Chaplaincy, I’ve heard it and seen it all, lolol. My two favorite words? “I’m retired!” Kudos to you and I support the right of all atheists to their right to practice their own particular ideologies. I just get sick of the bickering from the religious right and the whiners!

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