August 17, 2007

Detail on the Arlington High Point Church Gay Funeral Controversy

Everything you could possibly want to know about this situation can be found at Bene Diction Blogs On, he did a wonderful and very thorough job of researching both sides of this story, and there are clearly two sides to it.

Here is a brief summary:

46 year old Cecil Sinclair died Monday August 6, 2007 from a surgical infection. He was Fort Worth native, graduated from Sam Houston High School in Arlington in 1979 and from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. He was a Navy veteran of Desert Storm. An Arlington High Point unnamed staff member arrives at the hospital after he dies and offers to hold his memorial service at the church. Cecil’s brother Lee is a janitor at the church, which had been praying for Cecil since he became ill six years ago. Eva Bowers, Cecil’s mother, a nurse, moved in to care for Cecil a year prior to his death. The family accepts the church offer and preparations begin for a video, food, and the memorial. The memorial was scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2007.

Tuesday August 7, 2007, Cecil’s sister Kathleen Wright, works with two church AV staff to prepare the photos. Paul Wagner’s statement says 83 pictures were submitted, and there was one photo which could be considered offensive. It was removed, and at no time did the family ask it be included.The two AV church staff did not say anything to the family about any other photos. Paul Wagner says the AV director received a written note from Cecil’s mother Eva Bowers giving her permission to “use his judgement” if he had a problem with any of them.He said he could edit or crop the photos, so there wouldn’t be a problem.

Wednesday August 8, 2007 Cecil Howard Sinclair’s obituary was published.Wednesday August 8, 2007 Arlington High Point Church pulled it’s invitation to hold the service.

That's when the proverbial poo-poo hit the fan. Faced with public criticism about retracting it's offer to host the funeral, the church went into full spin mode and very effectively turned public opinion back in its favor. One example of that is this article from The Christian Post titled "Texas Megachurch Harassed for Refusing to Host Pro-Gay Memorial."

As Bene Diction writes, the family reports that the church was not truthful about its reason for recanting the offer to hold the funeral and apparently greatly exaggerated the "inappropriate" content to be presented during the funeral. This information greatly degrades the postion of the church "taking a stand on principle." According to the information Bene Diction gathered, the church tried to simply weasel out of holding the service, then when faced with some backlash turn it into a PR situation.

Sort of easy to forget that a family lost a loved one here, isn't it? It's bad enough they had to mourn, they also had to cope with a public campaign to smear the deceased.

So tell me again why some GLBT people are predisposed to mistrust the church?

1 comment:

  1. Keep Church & Hate Separate