For the ultimate in Christian love and compassion we hie ourselves down to the great state of Texas.Â Arlington, specifically.Â The local megachurch, High Point Church, run by the Reverend Gary Simons.Â When Cecil Sinclair, a Gulf War veteran and the brother of High Point congregation member died last Monday, the church volunteered to host a memorial service, complete with refreshments for 100 people and a multimedia presentation showing the deceased’s life.
Everything sounds good so far.Â Except for that multimedia presentation.Â Turns out that Cecil was a big ol’ homo, and the photos the family picked for the multimedia presentation showed that.Â In glossy, high-def color.Â Or in the words of the Rev. Simons: â€œSome of those photos had very strong homosexual images of kissing and hugging…. My ministry associates were taken aback.â€
And once they saw those images, the church told the bereaved parents to go take a flying fuck at the moon.Â Or, to put it more diplomatically and charitably, that the family would have to have the service somewhere else.
The Rev. Simons explains his decision thus:
The issue was not so much that Mr. Sinclair was, from the church’s perspective, an unrepentant sinner, he said. It’s that it was clear from the photos that his friends and family wanted that part of his life to be a significant part of the service.
The pastor said that he could imagine a similar situation involving a different sin. Perhaps a mother who is a member of the church loses a son who is a thief or murderer, Mr. Simons said. The church would surely volunteer to hold a service, he said.
â€œBut I don’t think the mother would submit photos of her son murdering someone,â€ he said. â€œThat’s a red light going off.â€ [Emphasis added by incredulous blogger.]
Even if I were a Christian (I’m not) who believed that homosexuality was a sin (again, I’m not), it wouldn’t occur to me in a million years to compare that â€œsinâ€ to murdering someone.Â And I certainly wouldn’t make such a comparison while such a person’s family was grieving for the loss of their loved one.Â
And yet, as one of Cecil Sinclair’s friends points out, this isn’t new or unique at all:
[T]hat kind of reaction is all too familiar to survivors of the AIDS onslaught of the 1980s, said Ed Young, a charter member of the Turtle Creek Chorale. Back then, having churches turn down funerals of gay men was not uncommon, he said.
â€œIt may be surprising to younger gays, because most gays think that doesn’t happen any more,â€ he said. â€œBut it’s still there.â€
It’s an ugly history lesson to be learning at this late date.Â (link)
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