Rev. Luis Leon reveals backlash to his reference to gays in presidential inauguration

Nikki Kahn THE WASHINGTON POST From left to right Marian Shields Robinson, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, President Barack Obama … Continued

Nikki Kahn


From left to right Marian Shields Robinson, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, President Barack Obama and Sasha are greeted by The Rev. Luis Leon as they arrive for a morning service on Inauguration Day at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, January 20, 2013. )

Rev. Luis Leon said that he received “hundreds and hundreds of e-mails” about his reference to gays in the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration.

In Sunday’s sermon at St. John’s, the historic Episcopal church across from the White House, Leon said, “You’ve heard my sermons, so I know it didn’t surprise you, but it surprised a lot of other people.”

Leon was chosen to deliver the benediction at the presidential inauguration after first-choice Rev. Louie Giglio withdrew in response to controversy over his previous statements about homosexuality.

Standing on the podium with the president and other dignitaries on Jan. 21, Leon prayed, “With the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.”

In his sermon on March 3, Leon suggested that he couldn’t respond to all the objections he received by e-mail after the inauguration, but he did engage with at least one writer who claimed that the Bible forbids homosexuality.

“I believe that the Bible is a sign post, not a hitching post,” Leon told his congregation yesterday. “Do you believe in continuing revelation? If you do, then you have to be ready to be surprised by God’s continuing revelation.”

We can’t expect the Bible to tell us exactly what to do about gun control, nuclear weapons or other contemporary controversies, Leon said. “It’s up to us to use [the Bible] to seek God’s direction.”

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  • FrenchChef

    I hope Rev. Leon turns over any threatening email to the FBI.

    Anti-gays are becoming yet more frantic and panicked daily as they see their anti-gay agenda defeated. Their behavior is becoming more and more disturbing.

  • allinthistogether

    Clearly, Rev. Luis Leon is a man of courage, who is dedicated to the message of love that makes a god worthwhile.

  • cricket44

    ““I believe that the Bible is a sign post, not a hitching post,””

    Beautifully said and *exactly* my take on it.

  • FrenchChef

    The ONLY place where loving, committded long-term American same gender couples are compared to “felon, polygamist, child porn promoter, thief or robber” is in the disturbed mind of an anti-gay.

    Anti-gays make this false comparison in a failed effort to demonize and dehumanize same gender couples.

  • willin46

    It escapes me how people who should know the Bible, misuse it. Paul made reference to many things regarding sex. The context was generally he was against all sex. Jesus specifically preached against divorce, as in His day it was tantamount to death for the woman. I never found Jesus saying anything specifically against homosexuality. He confined his message around exposing the corruption created by the hypocrites in the religious community of His day. He commanded his followers to help the poor and destitute. He did not exclude the out casts of His day, but reached out to them. He commanded his followers to love one another. The message coming from the Pharisees and Sadducees of today is to hate, divide, and exclude people. I think they get everything but the point of the Gospels. God Bless the Rev. Leon, he is living the Gospel.

  • An-Toan

    Contemporary Christians thankfully may ask, “What is revealed, what is inspired, and what is metaphor or fiction?” Fundamentalists apparently cannot ask for guidance about these questions because they believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Read the book. It condones ritual human sacrifice, animal abuse, the inferiority of women, slavery, and genocide. The Bible prescribes the death penalty for blasphemers, adulterers, sorcerors, rude children, people who work on Saturday, women who have sex before marriage, and homosexuals. Wicked! Ludicrous!

  • An-Toan

    Proposition 8 and DOMA concerning same sex marriage: Check out the Episcopal Church et al.’s brief at SCOTUSblog. The message is logically sound, beautifully written, and endearing. It speaks truth to power with grace. May God bless us all . . . each and every one of us.

  • Michael Dixon

    While I don’t necessarily disagree with most of what you say, I’m not sure where the Bible condones human sacrifice. If you are referring to Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac, then I think you are mistaken. To be sure, God does give Abraham that command, but it is a test. No way would there be an actual human sacrifice. Either Abraham would not obey or God would stop him. There would be no human sacrifice.

    On the other hand, if you are referring to the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection must also be taken into account. Jesus had predicted his sacrificial death but also predicted that he would rise from the dead. Thus, the overall plan and benefit for humankind makes sense out of this sacrificial act. Some may call it human sacrifice, but Jesus called it “giving his life as a ransom for many,” and “laying down his life for his friends.”

  • john reed davis

    Sorry to say God isn’t addressing the gay or any other issue anytime soon because I have prayers at the head of the line asking to win the lottery.

  • ThomasBaum

    You are not the only one with such a puny “conception” of God.

    There are many that don’t believe in their “conception” of God and I, for one, don’t believe in lots of people’s “conception” of God.

  • john reed davis

    ThomasBaum, I was being facetious. I believe in God. I don’t think there’s any difference between creation and evolution. Neither theory explains the beginning of the beginning. The unanswerable question will always be, “the chicken or the egg”? No human knows what God wants or thinks. Man’s arrogance makes him think God requires man to defend God’s honor.

  • ThomasBaum

    I did not realilze that you were being facetious for the simple reason that there seems to be many, believers and non-believers alike, that think the “give me prayer” is the be all and end all of all prayer.

    I took an astronomy class in the late 70’s and in this class when they were talking about the “big bang theory” they said that with computer models they could get back so far and at a certain point all of the scientific “laws” just collapsed, I don’t know if that is still where they are but I found that very interesting.

    You mentioned the “beginning of the beginning”, have you ever thought of before the beginning?

  • An-Toan

    Thanks for your reply. While I do not pretend to be an expect in theology, here are several other passages in the Bible in which ritual human sacrifice directly or indirectly is condoned:

    1. Judges 11:29-40 – Jephthah burns his daughter.

    2. 1 Kings 13:1-2 and 2 Kings 23:20-25 – Josiah executes priests of pagan shrines.

    3. Ezekiel 21:33-37 – Human beings are fuel for fire.

    4. Deuteronomy 13:13-19 – Torch non-believers and their entire towns.

    In addition to other crimes noted this thread, the Bible condones torture, theft, slavery, pedophilia, rape, incest, cannibalism, betrayal, and lying. Moral, rational people cannot ignore these facts.

  • reformthesystem

    The technical term for it is “anthropomorphism”, unquestioningly swallowing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling image as Holy Gospel.

  • Floyd Ray Looker

    Obviously the good Rev. Luis Leon doesn’t know his Bible, cannot discern between the holy and the profane, cannot teach the people the difference between the holy and the profane and surely cannot judge situations or circumstances in accordance with the judgments of God. He is obviously defrauding everyone who follows his leading. I wonder what Ezekiel 44:23-24 means to him?

  • ThomasBaum


    What are you talking about?

  • dcharles1

    I wonder if Mr. Looker would rather the biblical interpretation Leviticus 20;13 recommends that homosexuals should be killed. It is interesting that Jesus, in the New Testament just says to love everyone, and is completely silent on the issue of homosexuality.

  • Guardsman61

    God does not change or “evolve” like our current President or this pastor who calls evil good. The same God that destroyed Sodom and who later ordered the Israelites to expel the Sodomites from their land is the same God who created us and calls us to repent. His Word is very clear in numerous scriptures about the abomination of a man having sex with another man. Those who rebelliously choose to ignore His Word on human sexuality will have to answer directly to Him when they die for their willful sin.

  • Daniel Taylor

    Once we discover dark matter and the god particle, everything will make more sense.