CNN is reporting that the Presidential Inauguration Committee has invited Rev. Luis León to offer the Inaugural Benediction in place of Pastor Louie Giglio, who withdrew from the ceremony last week after ThinkProgress reported on his anti-gay positions. León is an Episcopal priest who ministers at St. John’s Church, the “Church of the Presidents” just across the park from the White House. This parish is known to welcome gay members in addition to the other inclusive positions of the Episcopal Church, including blessing same-sex unions and ordaining non-celibate LGBT priests.
León previously delivered the invocation for President George W. Bush’s second inauguration. He told CNN that he’s honored to have another invitation:
LEÓN: You don’t get used to this. I’m just as nervous now as I was the first time. From the moment someone asks you to do that, your wheels are spinning with what to say. So my wheels were spinning now. […]
I don’t mind being in the bullpen; relievers are very important. I was delighted to be asked and honored to be asked.
A naturalized citizen, León immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1961 at age 11 as one of the “Peter Pan children.”