[NATL] The Inauguration of President Barack Obama

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Parade and Ceremonial Swearing-in Held January 21, 2013

Episcopal Priest Chosen for Inaugural Benediction

Thursday, Jan 17, 2013  |  Updated 10:48 AM EDT
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President Barack Obama having a word with Rev. Luis Leon as he leaves St. John's Episcopal Church after attending services.

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The pastor of the Episcopal parish closest to the White House will give the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration Monday.

The Rev. Luis Leon of St. John's Church has been chosen for the honor. He replaces Atlanta megachurch pastor Luis Giglio. Giglio bowed out last week after a sermon he gave years ago surfaced in which he criticized the gay rights movement. A spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee said the person chosen to give the prayer would reflect the administration's beliefs.

The Episcopal Church blesses same-sex relationships and elects bishops who live openly with same-gender partners.

St. John's Church is known as “the Church of the Presidents.” The National Park Service said every president since James Madison has attended a service there.

 

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