Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Antigay Lutheran Pastor "Outed"

As a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("ELCA") I have not bitten my tongue when it comes to homophobic Lutheran parishes voting to leave the ELCA because the national church has voted to accept partnered gay clergy and recognize same sex relationships albeit not granting them the title of "marriage." As so often is the case, the movement to leave the ELCA has been spearheaded by individual pastors who seem just a wee bit too hysterical over the issue of homosexuality. Indeed, these pastors are reminiscent of Robert Knight and Peter LaBarbera, doyennes of the closeted professional Christian set. Reverend Tom Brock (pictured at above left), up until now the Associate Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, is a case in point. While busy denouncing gays and spearheading his parish's move to leave the ELCA, the good Mr. Brock turns out to be a closet case. Fortunately, he has been outed by Lavender Magazine and has now been placed on leave by his parish. The hypocrisy of individuals like Brock who transfer their own self-loathing to the rest of the gay community is what makes me almost rejoice when they are exposed for frauds. Yes, it may seem cruel on my part, but when one factors in the number of gay lives people like Brock may damage, it is Divine justice when they go down in flames. Here are some story highlights based on an under cover reporter's experiences:
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[I]n a free society of consenting adult citizens, “live and let live” should remain the common baseline. I may not like what you do or believe, but as long as you’re not hurting anyone, destroying common property, or infringing on the rights or life of others, including myself, then it’s no problem. As the New Testament holds: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
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Unfortunately, petty demagogues of various religious faiths will claim that it’s their way to heaven, or the highway to hell—black and white, with no gray. If you disagree, you’re deemed to be a moral relativist who at the very least will be trivialized. At worst, like Joan of Arc in the Middle Ages, you’ll be burned at the stake by the Catholic Church as a crossdressing heretic. Or, in 21st-Century Iran, you’ll be hanged for being a gay teen under Islamic law.
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Of course, these are extreme examples, but they caution that zealotry, too long unchecked, can be disastrous. They’re reminders that two of the world’s largest religions have barbaric cruelty in their legacies
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As cantankerous and varied as GLBT activism is, virtually everyone holds privacy sacred. The exception is if someone in a public position of political, social, or theological influence engages in homosexual or transgender activity while at the same time denouncing the basic civil rights of GLBT citizens.
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[I]t’s a universal consensus among GLBT individuals and straight allies that to bash GLBT persons physically and/or sociopolitically—but then turn around, and be homosexually active oneself—is hypocrisy.
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Reverend Tom Brock is the Associate Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis. He is known for his denunciations of homosexuality and GLBT rights on his daily KKMS AM 980 radio program, The Pastor’s Study. His video series lambastes with outrage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for progressive attitudes toward women’s reproductive rights, racial equality, ecological stewardship—and, worst of all in his view, openly gay or lesbian pastors having the right to minister if they are in a committed monogamous relationship with a member of the same sex.
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In stunning contrast to all this homophobic vitriol, I observed firsthand that the words spoken by the 49-year-old, unmarried Brock from his ivory bully pulpits do not match his actions.
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My first encounter with Brock was at a confidential meeting of gay men “struggling with chastity” at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in St. Anthony, a suburb northeast of Minneapolis. It’s not a Lutheran church, but rather a Catholic one. This group is sponsored by Faith in Action (FIA), Minnesota’s official arm of the global Catholic gay-chastity-maintenance organization called Courage. It models itself after the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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Once this opening ritual concludes, the next phase commences, as each person directly shares how well or not he fared during the previous week, or since the last meeting he attended, in his struggle to maintain homosexual chastity. He reports any homosexual fantasies or feelings; any resistance or nonresistance to masturbation; any homosexual contact or activity experienced; and/or any encounter with homoerotic or arousal-inducing images of men.
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Brock recounted that it had been “a good week.” He had been on a trip to the East Coast, and had kept his mind off men. . . . Brock observed that he sometimes “feels effeminate” because he has no interest in the sports page, and that he feels deficient because he finds society’s mass interest in sports to be a bore.
On the other hand, most of the men, including Brock, expressed a deep love for opera and classical music. He related that he was especially fond of a Ralph Vaughan Williams composition.
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When it was Brock’s turn to share, he related that he recently had been on “a preaching mission to Slovakia,” where he met with other clergy. Then, Brock admitted, “I fell into temptation. I was weak. That place has this really, really weird, demonic energy. I just got weak, and I had been so good for a long time. Things had been going so well for a long time.
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One thing I noticed is that all FIA participants held a sweepingly generalized caricature view of how they thought gay men interacted and lived in general. The myth of the so-called “gay agenda,” along with a basic ignorance of myriad differences between gay men, was intrinsic. In his video series, seething with disgust, Brock stirs his viewers to leave ELCA because of its inclusion of gay and lesbian pastors in committed relationships. He exhorts his flock: “Game over!”
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ELCA’s loving moral courage and serious efforts toward restoring compassion, as well as a concept maligned a lot lately by reactionary rhetoric—“justice”—serve to rescue Christianity from the pre-Enlightenment crowd. It’s cause for optimism
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Personally, I have found the ELCA to be a welcome change from the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic Church in which I was raised. I sincerely hope that more anti-gay hypocrites like Rev. Brock get exposed so that the resistance to the national church's efforts to truly preach the Gospel messages is not impeded by individuals like Brock

1 comment:

Scott said...

Brock's church left the ELCA several years ago. Also last year he was one of the idiots talking about the tornado that hit the ELCA convention when they were voting.

Brock is extremely anti-gay and anti-women. On his Saturday radio program he spends a half hour pointing out things that women, gays and liberals are doing that are "wrong". In Brock's view all three are wrong by merely still existing.