ATLANTA, GA -- The pastor of a local church will deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration this year.
Rev. Louie Giglio's Passion City Church, which meets at 515 Garson Drive in Buckhead, has hosted an event for the last few years that's drawn about 20,000 young people to the Georgia Dome in its first year and 60,000 just last week at this year's event.
Giglio, along with others like award-winning Christian musician Chris Tomlin, started the church just four years ago.
“During these days it is essential for our nation to stand together as one,” Giglio said in a statement. “And, as always, it is the right time to humble ourselves before our Maker.”
The event, Passion, addresses the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking and raised more than $3.3 million this year to help combat human trafficking in three of the world's human trafficking hotspots–Atlanta, Vancouver and Greece, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The church may have gotten Obama's attention when it delivered a petition to him, which garnered 72,000 names, and called on the U.S. government to become a leader to combat human trafficking.
The invocation at the inauguration will be delivered by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, a civil rights icon who 50 years ago was shot and killed in his driveway while serving as the NAACP's Mississippi field secretary.
The Washington Post said this about the pairing of Evers-Williams and Giglio for the inauguration:
The contrasting choice of speakers are typical of a president who has walked a sometimes complicated path when it comes to religion — working to be inclusive to the point that critics at times have questioned his faith.
In a statement released by the inaugural committee, the president said the careers of Evers-Williams and Giglio “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans - justice, equality and opportunity.”
Obama will privately take the oath of office on the mandated date of Jan. 20, but a public ceremony will be held the following day to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
What do you think about the president's picks for the inauguration invocation and benediction? Are you proud that a pastor from Buckhead was chosen for this honor? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.