A church in Grand Prairie, Texas that volunteered to host a funeral for the brother of one of its members took back its offer after officials discovered that the deceased brother, who had been prayed for by the congregation when he was ill, was gay, the Dallas Morning News reports:
“Mr. Sinclair, 46, died Monday. He was a native of Fort Worth, a Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm helping rescuers find downed pilots, and a singer in the Turtle Creek Chorale, said his mother, Eva Bowers. He did not belong to a church. His brother, Lee, is an employee and member of High Point, a nondenominational mega-congregation led by the Rev. Gary Simons. Mr. Simons is the brother-in-law of Joel Osteen, nationally known pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church.”
Church members had prayed for Sinclair after he was diagnosed with a heart condition six years ago and had even sent staff to minister to the family as soon as he had died.
Here was the problem however: “Both the family and church officials agree that the church volunteered to host a memorial service, feed 100 guests and create a multimedia presentation of photos from Mr. Sinclair’s life. But the photos that the family selected alerted church officials that there might be a problem with the service, Mr. Simons said. ‘Some of those photos had very strong homosexual images of kissing and hugging,’ he said. ‘My ministry associates were taken aback.’ And then, he said, the family asked to have its own people officiate the service. ‘We had no control over the format of the memorial,’ Mr. Simons said.”
The church declined without offering the family some sort of compromise.
And finally: “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.'”
What would Jesus do?
Church won’t hold funeral for gay man [dallas morning news]