AUDIO: Cuban-Born Minister Encourages Tolerance At Inaugural Benediction

Jan 21, 2013

In his inaugural benediction, Cuban-born Rev. Luis León spoke to all Americans, disregarding lines of race, economic standing and sexuality.

Thousands of people wait to attend Monday's inauguration ceremony, where Rev. Luis León delivered the benediction.
Credit Sarah Gonzalez

"We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence, because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts," he said before hundreds of thousands of people Monday. "But with your blessing, we know that we can break down the walls that separate us."

Among the people he said were "created in God's image": immigrant Americans, daughters of the American Revolution and, not surprisingly, gay people.

León, whose church announced this summer that it would start performing same-sex marriages, replaced Atlanta-based Rev. Louie Giglio as this year's benediction speaker. Giglio withdrew after receiving criticism of anti-gay remarks he made in the '90s.

Listen to León's benediction above.