Pastor, attacked for anti-gay speech, withdraws from inauguration

* White House asked Rev. Louie Giglio to deliver benediction

* Atlanta pastor called homosexuality a sin in 1990s sermon

By Samuel P. Jacobs

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The pastor selected to deliver the benediction at President Barack Obama's inauguration withdrew from the ceremony Thursday after being attacked for making anti-gay comments.

Rev. Louie Giglio, an Atlanta minister, called homosexuality a sin in a mid-1990s sermon and warned against the gay rights movement, the liberal website ThinkProgress reported Wednesday.

"That movement is not a benevolent movement," Giglio said in the speech called "In Search of a Standard - Christian Response to Homosexuality."

Giglio said the "healing power of Jesus" is "the only way out of a homosexual lifestyle," according to ThinkProgress.

In a statement provided by the presidential inaugural committee, Giglio said he was withdrawing to avoid distracting from the inauguration.

" t is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration," Giglio said. (Reporting By Samuel P. Jacobs; Editing by Doina Chiacu)