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Texas megachurch cancels service for gay Navy vet

“We did decline to host the service – not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle. Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it – yes, we would have declined then. It’s not that we didn’t love the family. Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness.”
— Rev. Gary Simons, minister at High Point Church in Arlington, justifying the church’s decision.

A lot of you sent in links about this awful story. Desert Storm veteran Cecil Sinclair passed away from heart disease while waiting for a transplant. His brother, a member of High Point Church, was offered the space by a member for a memorial service.

However, the  powers-that-be at the church, after seeing a video tribute to that included Sinclair’s affectionate embraces with his partner, decided to cancel the service without notifying the family. To add insult to injury, their reasoning equated Sinclair’s “sin” of homosexuality to being a murderer or a thief. Disgusting.

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.

“But I don’t think the mother would submit photos of her son murdering someone,” he said. “That’s a red light going off.”

In Freeperland, someone raised the issue of whether a church should turn away memorial services for divorced people. The response was predictable.

Actual Freeper Quotes

Does the same church deny memorial services to the deceased if they were divorced or remarried?

Nice try. Maybe you do not clearly understand what homosexuality is vs what a divorced or remarried person is. Homosexuality is an act that is totally unnatural. It involves a LIFESTYLE, a CHOICE OF HOW YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX. It is totally unnatural in the scheme of life as it has evolved.

You see, 100 divorce regular people on a deserted island will eventually have a second generation and so continue the species on that island.

100 homosexuals on a deserted island will NEVER have a second generation. Now if the article had been about a church having denied to hold services for a practicer of bestiality (which is also an unnatural choice of how to have sex and also contrary to human survival) would you have posted the same silly question?

Again, nice try but still ridiculous.

***

Both Kathy at Birmingham Blues and Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin posted about this, and received comments from Sinclair’s partner, Paul Wagner, who provided much more information on what happened — and the lies coming out of this church. It’s below the fold.A snippet:

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.

…On Wednesday evening about 6pm, we received a call. The person on the line put Cecil’s brother Lee, who is mentally impaired, onto the phone. Lee informed us that something was wrong, and then someone else got on the phone. That person informed us that a terrible string of errors was made, and that the service could no longer be held at their facility. We never spoke to the pastor nor anyone from his administration directly. It was all done through middlemen. When we requested to know why we could no longer use their facility, there was no answer. They simply stated a mistake was made.

Later that night, while we were scrambling to find another location, Cecil’s niece called back to the church and demanded an explanation. It was at that time a very long string of excuses began to form. First she was told that it was because we were bringing in outside food, which they didn’t allow. Then we were told it was because there was construction going on nearby which they felt would be too obtrusive. We said we didn’t think it would interfere. Then we were told it was because there was a scheduling conflict. When asked was other event was being held that was conflicting, the call was disconnected.

Honestly, this church rightfully could have refused to hold the service based on their narrow, hypocritical beliefs, but to jerk the family around with lies about the reason says a lot about their Christian “values.” If they couldn’t assist the Sinclairs in their time of need because this Gulf War veteran’s life as a gay man in a loving relationship was an affront to the parishioners and leaders of High Point Church, they should have simply told the Sinclair family exactly why they refused to hold it there instead of using these mealy-mouth excuses. Aren’t they proud of their faith?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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