Sometimes good news comes with bad news. First the bad, which is the rather disappointing news that an anti-gay preacher will give the benediction at President Obama’s 2nd inauguration. Back in the mid-1990s Pastor Louie Giglio promoted that ex-gay therapy nonsense and railed against homosexuality in sermons. You would think after Pastor Rick Warren, the inaugural committee wouldn’t want to put anti-gay preachers next to the president who is now on record as a supporter of marriage equality. But hey, what do I know and I’m not on the committee.
Now for the good news! Richard Blanco, a gay Latino poet, will read at the president’s second inauguration on January 21st. Blanco will be the youngest poet to read at an inauguration in the nation’s history. He says he shares the president’s multicultural upbringing and even says he felt a “spiritual connection” the president since he was elected.
Per an announcement this morning, Richard Blanco will serve as the inaugural poet at the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, January 21, a selection that’s historic on a number of levels: He will be the youngest poet, as well as the first Latino and first LGBT person, to recite a composition during the ceremony.
According to his bio, Blanco was ”made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States.” His parents, Cuban exiles, emigrated to the country just days after Blanco’s birth in Madrid. After growing up in Miami, Blanco now lives with his partner in Bethel, Maine.
Prior to writing poetry, Blanco was a consultant engineer. Writing about abstract concepts and preparing arguments on behalf of his clients helped Blanco think about the “engineering” of language. He eventually left that job for the creative writing faculty at Central Connecticut State University and from there it was an evolution into a life of writing full time.
Maybe by President Obama’s third inauguration we will have eliminated the need to pander to anti-gay Christian conservatives.
UPDATE: ABC News is reporting that Reverend Giglio has been removed from the inaugural program.
UPDATE II: Apparently he withdrew from the program and blames the gay “agenda.”