Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ideology Trumps Humanity in Texas

One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers is “Jesus is coming—and he’s pissed.”

The people of High Point Church in Arlington, Texas undoubtedly believe the first part, and are doing their best to make sure the second part comes true, too. This is the church that agreed to hold a memorial service for a Gulf War veteran whose brother is a church custodian—then reneged, 24 hours before the service, when they learned the deceased was gay.

The veteran was Cecil Sinclair, who died at age 46 from a post-surgical infection. Church pastor Gary Simons said no one knew Sinclair was gay until members putting together a video tribute ran across pictures of men “engaging in clear affection, kissing and embracing.”

Sinclair’s sister, Kathleen Wright, denied that any of the pictures provided showed men kissing or hugging. Nevertheless, Simons pulled the plug on the memorial service, but noted that “Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness.”

Well, well, well. Thanks for being the lifestyle judge there, Gary. Seems to me that the family probably wanted the service held at the church because they thought it would be a comfort to family and friends in attendance. They were grieving, and thought a religious service would provide a balm to the weary, as the old hymn goes.

I doubt if they were asking for mandatory attendance from church members. Nobody who might have been offended was likely to show up, but if they had, they might have learned a nice lesson about gay people and the families who love them. They might have seen with their own eyes that Cecil Sinclair didn’t choose his orientation. They might have had to reconsider their beliefs.

Of course, I don’t think megachurch pastors really want church members reconsidering their beliefs, certainly not if the result means humanity trumps ideology.

Simons also said “We did decline to host the service—not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle.”

Yeah, right. The decision wasn’t based on hatred, but on principle. It’s a little hard to tell the difference from where I sit.

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