Hey 'mo foes: One can protest a flawed faith decision yet still respect religious freedom!
So have you heard the incredibly sad story of the Arlinton, TX, church that canceled a memorial service a day before it was to take place, after learning that the man whose life was to be honored was gay? Well, if not, all you essentially need to know is that High Point Church agreed to hold the memorial service of Cecil Sinclair because his brother Lee was both an employee and member of the church, yet when they discovered that he Cecil was gay and that his service would acknowledge this fact, the church pulled out.
Now, clearly this situation has upset gays across the country. After all, we understand how damaging church persecution is to our community, and we tend to become upset when we see it propagated for yet another generation. However, virtually nobody has threatened any sort of legal action or recourse, with anger and sadness being the only pro-gay response. In fact, Mr. Sinclair's partner, Paul Wagner (a Gulf War vet), has said of the church's decision, "I have fought for their right to hate me." This is because while most of us gays are unanimous in our hatred for gay bias, we tend to also be lovers of freedom. We rage when we feel we are wronged, but we only wage legal battles when their is an actual litigious situation on the table.
But leave it to our reliably spin-happy opposition to turn this situation into something it's not. First up, check out this latest "Action Alert" from the American Family Association:
There is a battle taking place in Dallas. It is a battle trying to force a church to lower their Scriptural standards to meet homosexual demands.
When High Point Church refused to allow their building to be used in a memorial service celebrating homosexuality, the homosexuals became very upset and started a campaign of harassment and public ridicule aimed at High Point.
If those pushing the homosexual agenda get their "hate crimes" bill passed into law, this is only a sample of what churches, pastors and Christians can expect.
Harassment? Public ridicule? Uhm, forgive us if we're missing something, but somehow we think "Sorry, your corpse is unfit for a blessing because it liked other dudes" is more of a public ridicule than anything the gays have issued in response! But looking past these ridiculous re-castings of the role of "stone-caster" for a second -- Where the hell do they get off linking this situation to hate crimes laws?!? As mentioned, nobody is threatening the church with any legal action. Nobody is saying that the constitution bars churches from this freedom; we are simply stating our opinions that it is deplorable to utilize these freedoms in this fashion! And again, this could not have less to do with bias-motivated violence!
But you know, we actually agree that this is "a sample of what churches, pastors and Christians can expect" if LGBT-inclusive hate crimes laws are enacted, as a respect for anti-gay religious freedom is what will remain intact in such a world! Just like we are verbally protesting yet not gunning for this church, should hate crimes laws pass, we will continue to speak out against church homophobia while respecting their right to preach Leviticus and Romans I!
Moving on to our "pro-family" nuttery, check out this piece from the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins:
As same-sex couples chip away at the moral resistance to their lifestyle, it's obvious that their sights are now set on the religious community. Just this week, High Point Church in Texas--where I've preached twice--has come under fire for refusing to host a homosexual man's memorial service. The church had initially agreed to the service because the deceased was the brother of a church employee. However after the church discovered the man was a homosexual and that the memorial service would celebrate the homosexual lifestyle with suggestive photos and music from an openly gay men's chorus, the church's pastor, Gary Simons, withdrew the offer to host the event in the sanctuary. The church secured another location, and catered lunch, at the church's expense, that would meet the needs of the family and not subject their sanctuary to being used to celebrate homosexuality. As Pastor Simons told his congregation this past Sunday, "This decision was not based on hate or discrimination but upon principle and policy. We cannot glorify homosexuality as a lifestyle." Unfortunately, reporters who are sympathetic to the homosexual agenda refuse to see the incident for what it is--an exercise in religious freedom. Churches and clergy have every right to refuse their services or property for activities that violate their religious beliefs. However, as Pastor Simons would say, that doesn't mean he or his congregation have any less compassion for the man's family. It simply means they refuse to honor a lifestyle that is sinful in God's eyes.
But again, Tony Perkins is setting up a straw man argument. Nobody is gunning for the religious community! Not even the most gay-friendly of media is threatening the church! The media is simply reporting a situation that a vast percentage of the population surely finds to be disgusting, letting folks make up their own mind about the particulars. If any reporter were to paint this as an "attack on religious freedom," they would then and only then be operating with a deceitful agenda. Or as Tony refers to "deceitful agenda": "my version of the truth."
Also, in terms of the "suggestive photos," Mr. Sinclair's partner has posted a comment over at Box Turtle Bulletin, wherein he completely denies that even one of the photos was in anyway "suggestive." Wagner says:
On Tuesday morning, we gave the church a total of 83 various pictures of Cecil that were forwarded to us by various members of his family. Of those, not a single one showed a man hugging or kissing another man, nor were there any overtly homosexual references. Cecil’s sister Kathleen sat and worked with the two people preparing the video and went through all of the photos with them. There was only one photo which would be considered offensive, as it was a picture of him in his early 20s making a rude gesture at his best friend who was taking the photo. We removed it and never asked that it be included. It was just overlooked in the rush to get things done. These individuals went through all the other photos, which were pictures of family gatherings, birthday parties, vacations, etc. At no time was anything expressed to her or us that they had a disagreement with any of the other photos.
But then again, we surely have a different definition of "suggestive" than Mr. Perkins. For example: "smiling gays being themselves" -- not suggestive to us; likely considered tools of Satanic propaganda by Tony. (**Note: Wagner has much more clarity to shine on this situation, so please be sure to read his comment in full).
The truth, dear friends, is this: The folks employed by groups like the AFA or the FRC realize that their form of gay discrimination is not long for this world. They see society wising up, and it really f***ing frightens them. But they also know that America is quite fond of their freedoms. So in desperation, they are now trying to paint any and every situation involving a gay and a church as if the queer in question is just moments away from lobbing a hand grenade at the steeple. They overlook the fact that gays and their allies tend to be the biggest lovers of religious freedom on this landscape. Just like with all of their campaigns, they are using fear to scare religious people into believing that societal acceptance for gays would mean replacing the Lord's Prayer with the libretto for Gypsy. If only they would listen to us instead of the version of us that exists within their minds, they would hear that such is not at all what we are seeking! Unfortunately, just like our dead bodies, our actual viewpointss are apparently not welcome in their realm.
Church in Dallas refuses to bow down to homosexual pressure [AFA Action Alert]
Faith in the Crosshairs [FRC]
Church won't hold funeral for gay man [DMN]
**Headline note: 'mo foe = foe of the homo
The Church did NOT find and pay for the alternate site to hold the services. According to a family member it was a member of the church who was close to the family and involved with the planning who came through.
Posted by: Kevin | Aug 15, 2007 1:34:48 PMcomments powered by Disqus