The Common Good

Who Obama should pick to replace Giglio

Date: January 10, 2013

With Rev. Louie Giglio bowing out of giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inaugural after his anti-gay sermons came to light, the question turns to who should be selected in his stead. A spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed that “there will be an effort to replace him,” but declined to specify who it might be. With so little time left, we thought we’d offer some suggestions.

Giglio, like Rev. Rick Warren before him, was chosen as a token of good will to conservative Christian evangelicals, but the inauguration gives Obama a chance to elevate someone from the progressive faith movement, which often gets overshadowed by its conservative counterpart. There are plenty of good progressive faith leaders to choose from, but here are just a few names whose worldview likely align more closely with Obama’s than Giglio, in no particular order:

Jim Wallis: A tireless advocate of social and economic justice causes, few people have done more to advance progressive evangelical Christianity than Jim Wallis and the group he founded, Sojourners. Whether fighting Glenn Beck or Paul Ryan, Wallis has a knack for attracting attention in the big political fights of the day. Asked about what he wants to see in an inauguration chaplin, Wallis told the Washington Post this week: “When people ask my advice, I always say: ‘Use the occasion to remind our political leaders of their responsibility to the common good.’”