Three gay men were dismissed from a church musical ensemble because they are each married. After the new pastor discovered that the men are married, he quickly fired them, saying their marriages go against church teachings.
Rev. John Drees began working for the Church of St. Joseph in Taylors Falls and the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Shafer in July, according to the Associated Press. His decision has spurred concerns from parishioners over the terminations, saying it will cause more worshippers to leave the already small parish.
“It was more of a justice thing, more of a ‘where is our church going, if we’re kicking people who are living their faith and sharing their music ministry with us?'” Chris Hudspeth, a trustee and 40-year member of St. Joseph, said.
One of the men is discouraging any protest of the church’s decision, saying he doesn’t want it to “turn out to be another ‘bash the Catholic Church‘ story.” He says he won’t leave the church despite the church’s obvious message that he’s not welcome.
While Pope Francis has been replacing hardline conservatives with more moderate leadership and has repeatedly spoken out against hard-hearted church leaders demonizing LGBT people, Drees did not get the memo apparently.
“It is our practice not to comment publicly on parish personnel and employment issues out of respect for all involved and affected,” Drees told the AP. “I have heard from few parishioners. They have expressed their concerns but also their support and understanding.”
The Pope has said the Catholic church should apologize to LGBT people for the way it has treated them. Perhaps he could start with these three men because the sound of their voices singing hymns to their God should not be considered sinful.