Georgian Giglio to deliver inaugural benediction

President Barack Obama has selected a conservative evangelical from Georgia to deliver the benediction at his inauguration later this month.

Pastor Louie Giglio, of the Atlanta mega church Passion City and annual youth conference that wrapped last week after raising some $3 million for non-profits working in the sex trade, will deliver the closing prayer at Obama’s public swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21 in Washington, DC.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, was chosen to deliver the invocation.

Those with knowledge of the vetting process said Giglio was chosen in part because he has become a “powerful voice for ending human trafficking and global sex slavery.”

In an official statement released Tuesday by the inaugural committee, the president said the pair’s contrasting profiles “reflect the ideals that the vice president and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.”

Giglio isn’t the first Peach State clergyman on whom the president has called to deliver the closing prayer at his inaugural ceremonies.

In 2009, Obama tapped Georgian Rev. Joseph Lowery for the benediction. And Andy Stanley, another prominent Atlanta evangelical, was among those included at an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral.

- James Richardson