Baptist Pastor, Viral YouTube Evangelist, Chosen to Lead Inauguration Prayer

Rev. Louie Giglio's 'Laminin' sermon has been viewed more than 3 million times.

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This Jan. 20, 2009 file photo shows the crowd on the National Mall looking from the Capitol toward the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial listening to the inaugural address of President Barack Obama.
This Jan. 20, 2009 file photo shows the crowd on the National Mall looking from the Capitol toward the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial listening to the inaugural address of President Barack Obama.

This post was updated 01/10 to reflect that Rev. Giglio will no longer deliver the benediction.

Announcing the choice Tuesday of Rev. Louie Giglio to lead the benediction at the inauguration ceremony, President Barack Obama said the Baptist pastor had "inspired many people across this great nation within the faith community and beyond."

Millions of those people are on YouTube.

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Giglio, who is pastor of the 5,000-parishioner Passion City Church in Atlanta is known by many more online for a sermon he delivers called "Laminin." In the sermon, Giglio uses science to make a case for religion, demonstrating how the cross-shaped protein molecule Laminin in the body is the reason "all things hold together."

"Everything holds together in Jesus Christ," he says, to applause.

The video of "Laminin" has been replicated more than a dozen times on YouTube and collectively viewed more than 3 million times.

Giglio also has a major youth following through his "Passion Conferences," which have gathered college-aged young people together since 1997. His most recent Passion Conference raised awareness about human trafficking, a problem Obama unveiled landmark actions to fight in September.

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The reverend who gave Obama's 2009 inauguration benediction, Joseph Lowery, had a similarly large following to that of Giglio when he was invited. But Lowery's inauguration appearance was not without controversy. He angered some conservatives with a joke he made about eliminating racial bigotry at the end of the benediction, and again this past November when Fox News reported Lowery said white people were going to hell, which he said was also a joke.

Update, 01/01:

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Louie Giglio says he will no longer lead the benediction at the inauguration ceremony, after liberal site Think Progress drew attention to an anti-gay sermon he delivered in the mid-1990s.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has said it was not aware of the comments when Giglio was chosen, and is now seeking a replacement.

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.