Our guest blogger is Jack Jenkins, Writer and Researcher for the Center for American Progress Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative.
Now that Rev. Louis Giglio, the anti-LGBT pastor who had been announced to perform the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration, has withdrawn from the official program, inauguration planners will be looking for someone else to fill his slot in the program.
Here are five progressive people of faith who could replace Giglio and deliver the benediction at the inauguration:
1. Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño – A bishop in the United Methodist Church, Carcaño has a long history of advocating for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States. She has also been a supporter of LGBT rights within the Methodist church, and publicly opposed Arizona Proposition 107 (2006), a bill that sought to ban gay marriage in the state.
2. Rev. Otis Moss III – Pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Moss is an ordained minister within both the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is an award-winning preacher and a strong advocate for reaching troubled inner-city youth. More recently, he has challenged his fellow pastors to be more accepting of marriage equality.
3. Very Reverend Gary R. Hall – Rev. Hall, an Episcopal priest and dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, is fast becoming the face of faith-led support for gun control legislation, having recently declared “the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby.” He also recently championed the Cathedral’s decision to begin performing same-sex marriages.
4. Brian McLaren – If organizers are keen on choosing someone with ties to the evangelical Christian tradition, then McLaren is a far more inclusive choice. A pastor, author, and speaker within the emerging church movement, McLaren is also an activist for the marginalized, and has stood with farm workers ion Florida in their struggle for fairer pray. He is also a supporter for LGBT equality, and recently oversaw his son’s same-sex marriage.
5. Someone who isn’t Christian – Although a variety of religious voices have been represented in presidential inaugurations in years past (Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, for example, featured a prayer from Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk), more recent inauguration ceremonies have privileged Christian voices. With this in mind, the Inaugural committee would do well to consider picking someone more representative of America’s religious diversity. Possible candidates could include Rabbi Denise Eger, Muslims such as interfaith activist Eboo Patel, or any number of representatives from the Sikh community, just to name a few.