Crosspoint Wesleyan Church in Fredericton NB

The Friendly Atheist points to a story that happened in my neighbouring province of New Brunswick. The Crosspoint Wesleyan Church in Fredericton punished a gay youth pastor because he claimed other church members might be upset.

Colin Briggs, 20, has volunteered at the church since 2011. He also worked as a camp counselor for two years. During his last year of high school in 2011, he joined a mission to Haiti.

Pastor Mark Brewer asked Briggs to stop by the church on September 18 for a meeting. The youth pastor, Nathalie Estey, was also present.

They informed Briggs that he was welcome to continue to attend the church, but could no longer work with young people.

“We felt it would be in the best interest of him and the church if he stopped serving,” said Brewer. This would “avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children’s ministry.”

When pushed, Brewer reiterated he forced Briggs to step down because of his sexual orientation to placate some members of the congregation.

In an interview, the pastor was asked what the difference was between attending church and volunteering there.

He hesitated, then said, “Having an openly gay male working in the children’s ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable.”

There has been a tremendous outcry from the readers of the Beacon, and elsewhere on the internet. In fact they seem to have taken down their Facebook page since the controversy hit the web.

Brewer posted a video on the church’s website in which he tried to explain away the issue.

If the video above doe not work, it is also available here.

Listening to this, it becomes obvious that Brewer just wants the issue to go away. At no time does he deny that his earlier statements to the press were misquoted or misconstrued in any way. No, the gist of his statement is that we do some good things and never say bad things about gays in public, so you should leave us along.

We like to think that since Canadians have accepted equal marriage and other rights rights years ago, that gays fully accepted members of our communities. Nothing could be further from the truth. And as in so many other human rights issues, many of the religious are lagging behind, trying to drag the rest of us backwards.

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