Colorado

When It's Not About a Cake: Anti-Gay Attitude Shuts Down Funeral

Bigotry or breach of contract? What should have been done?

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Vanessa Collier, via 7News

For the sake of argument, let's say we can get everyone to agree that private businesses could legally decide whether they provide goods and services to gay people. I know people aren't agreeing to that, but nevertheless, let's go with it. The problem, though, is it's not obvious who is or isn't gay, and it might not come up immediately, like it might when providing services for a wedding. If a person discovers—while in the process of providing a service—that he or she has agreed to be a party to something he or she does not support, what would be the appropriate or ethical thing to do?

It happened last weekend in Lakewood, Colorado, when a pastor shut down the funeral of Vanessa Collier, 33, during the service itself because on display were images of Collier with her wife, and a remembrance video to be shown during the service featured the two of them showing affection. They literally had to pick up everything and move it to a funeral home across the street to conclude the services. From The Denver Post:

Friends say they gave the church a remembrance video of Collier a week before that contained images of her kissing and embracing her wife. The pastor had every chance to stop the funeral long before it began, they said.

Collier, the mother of two girls, 7 and 11, lived in Thornton and died Dec. 30. New Hope Ministries was chosen for the memorial service because of its location — close to where Collier and her friends grew up, friends said.

David Campanella, area manager for Newcomer Funeral Home, where the service was moved, said they handled all of the funeral services for Collier's family when at the last minute the ceremony for Collier was moved from the church to the funeral home.

Colorado's public accommodation laws exempt churches entirely, so the church was within legal bounds to have turned down services for Collier from the start. But once they agreed to host it, is it a breach of an agreement to have halted the services in the middle of the ceremony? In The Denver Post story, the family said the church didn't even give them their money back, but that has since been corrected. The family paid $400 for the services.

None of the news coverage discusses what type of agreement the family and the church entered into, but there's no indication as yet that the family is seeking legal action. Protesters have targeted the church for discriminating against Collier and her family.

So, what say you? I would contend that the church is well within its rights to be bigots and refuse to host funerals that demonstrate gay affection. But obviously this wasn't so important an issue to the church that its position wasn't made clear prior to making this agreement to this family, and the family noted the church had been provided well in advance the materials it found offensive. Once the church made an agreement to host the funeral, it should have followed through with Collier's ceremony and then formalized policies for future services on what the church would or would not play host to for those in same-sex relationships. If the church did breach a formal agreement, the family should take them to court and be compensated for it.

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  1. It was the Christian thing to do.

  2. …is it a breach of an agreement to have halted the services in the middle of the ceremony?

    A civil matter.

  3. Is there a purpose to this article besides getting on a soapbox? You don’t even know what the contract said and you’re already speculating as to potential illegality or liability?

    1. Calling out the religious on their hatefulness. Fighting smug sanctimony. That sort of thing.

      Is there a purpose to your comment other than trying to shut down discussion of a topic which is bad PR for the religious?

      1. I don’t know what he said, but I’m sure if I read it, it would only serve as a reminder of why I have him filtered.

        1. FWIW (everyone else) I choose to not filter anyone here as a matter of intellectual integrity. I’m not afraid of the opinions of others, even those without merit. I know how to use a scroll wheel.

          1. I’m glad to have the discussion, but the only purpose for this article is to get on a soapbox. Facts are sparse, the first few paragraphs barely describe the situation, and the last paragraph is a question based on so much speculation that he might as well have just made up a hypothetical situation.

            1. Please, please, give me a scenario where its appropriate to cut out in the middle of a funeral service for a homosexual but not for, say, a murderer?

          2. Yeah, I don’t come here for an echo chamber either.

          3. admit it, you just search for your own name to see if anyone has +1d your comment.

          4. I’m not afraid of the opinions of others, even those without merit.

            I don’t consider myself to be afraid of the opinions of others (maybe you weren’t trying to imply that I was, but that’s kind of how that comment came across).

            But I make a point of reserving the filter for people who have demonstrated that they’re not here to discuss things in good faith but just want to stir shit up or “poison the well”, as it were. I don’t see the point in subjecting myself to what people write when they write it not to further any constructive understanding of a topic but only to spread filth/hate. Your mileage may vary, I suppose.

            1. Passive-aggressive much, Marvin?

              1. I think he has “black blood” filtered, not you, Tonio.

              2. What do you mean? I was just speaking generally. I can’t actually recall whatever black blood or whatever his name is did that made me want to filter him, I just wanted to say it’s not something I do lightly.

                1. Although filtered by him, I assume PA filtered me for the same reason everyone else does. They got buthurt that I think Shaneen is a funny name and that there is more than one way to think about the end result of policing more in black neighborhoods than in white ones…

                  1. Thinking you’re a moron is not the same thing as being butthurt.

                    1. No, no it’s not. But I’m not a moron, so I’m just assuming that people are butthurt.

                    2. But I’m not a moron

                      You’re basically Bo’s even more obnoxious little brother.

                    3. RBS.

                      Hahahaha, because I don’t think just like you!

                      And have a sense of humor.

                      There’s so much butthurt I can smell it!

                    4. Thank you for proving my point.

                2. Oops, sorry Marv, I thought you were talking about me. My bad.

                  Thanks, Jord, for pointing that out.

      2. ” shut down discussion”

        Usually ‘question marks at the end of sentences’ aren’t a means of ‘shutting down discussion’.

        Unless its Bo, of course.

      3. “Calling out the religious on their hatefulness. Fighting smug sanctimony.”

        LOL

    2. Even if this was all on the up and up, it is at the least a hypothetical situation that is likely to come up in some way. So I think it is worth discussing.

  4. Ah, but this isn’t a business it’s Religion(tm). And as any of the Socons here will gladly and loudly tell you, all you have to do us say the magickal word “religion” and you get to ignore the rules that apply to everyone else.

    1. Or, you know, as most people who believe in individual right would say “leave me the fuck alone, and I’ll leave you the fuck alone.” Religion has nothing to do with my right to shut down my own event when I realize it offends my morals whether you agree with them or not.

      1. Nothing you wrote is responsive to what I said. I’ll take your attempt to change the subject and play the victim card as evidence that I was right.

        1. Well what you said that the issue is religion. The issue is not religion. It’s individual rights. Regardless of the pastors religion, he should have the right not to offend his own morals.

          1. he should have the right not to offend his own morals.

            Unless his morals extend to not fulfilling contracts.

            1. But we don’t have any of those facts. That’s why I said this article is completely immature. Reason never would have picked this up if it were focus on the family trying to get gay bakers to bake cakes for their rallies, but as soon as a gay person is inconvenienced by a Christian, they automatically assume the worst.

              1. Yeah we all know Reasonoids only claim to believe in freedom of association just so they can persecute Christians. Derpity doo.

              2. So, you’re saying that you think its credible that the pastor had a ‘no homo’ rider in the contract?

              1. “Ah, but this isn’t a business it’s Religion(tm). And as any of the Socons here will gladly and loudly tell you, all you have to do us say the magickal word “religion” and you get to ignore the rules that apply to everyone else.”

                So, Tonio, this comment wasn’t you assuming the worst about “Religion(tm)?” That’s all I’m saying.

                1. Oh, I absolutely was. I generally do. No apologies for that, ever, but I will admit when I’m proven wrong.

                  But you’re shifting around quite a bit, perhaps conflating me with Reason as a whole.

                  1. It’s possible! I’m not perfect 🙂

            2. And if the film turned out to include a heart-warming clip of the deceased wearing his American Nazi Party storm trooper uniform and singing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” with his spouse and a small number of his bosom pals (which the pastor didn’t know about because he failed to watch the video before the service), then the pastor should just suck it up and fulfill the contract?

              1. “Her,” Seamus, the deceased was a she, as is her widow. But no reflexive defense of the religious here, nosiree. And no grasping for straws, either.

          2. The issue is not religion. It’s individual rights. Regardless of the pastors religion, he should have the right not to offend his own morals.

            Sweet. I suddenly find it offensive to my morals that you have money. Let me help you make sure you don’t violate my rights … thanks buddy

            1. That makes no sense. Me having money isn’t forcing you to do anything, in fact, I don’t even know what you are implying with that sentence. On the other hand, making it illegal for a pastor to shut down a wedding the portrays women kissing in his Church does force a person to do something against his will.

              1. No one FORCED anyone to do anything. they paid him for his services. he then refused to provide those after accepting money.

                It’s almost like theft.

                1. They gave the money back from what I understand. And I didn’t say they FORCED him to do anything, but suing for damages is coercive, and unwarranted unless we find a breach of contract. Something that is not supported or refuted by any currently available facts.

                  1. Giving the money back isn’t enough. there are other costs incurred and damages that should be paid, IMO.

                    1. Spencer, where’s the evidence of that? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just fed up with Reason calling out Rolling Stone for their shitty journalism on the UVA rape case, and then turning around and publishing this without due diligence.

                    2. One can only comment with assumptions that the facts as presented are true.
                      To agree to host a funeral and to renig DURING THE DAY OF THE EVENT is sure to cause undue stress and pain to the bereaved. They that inflict such pain under these assumed circumstances should be held civilly liable to make reparations, imo.

                    3. To agree to host a funeral and to renig DURING THE DAY OF THE EVENT is sure to cause undue stress and pain to the bereaved.

                      This is exactly what I take issue with, if it’s the case. You mean to tell me a dealbreaker that didn’t appear in the contract was never even examined until you decided to wake your fat ass up that morning and go all “GOD HATES FAGS?” Fuck you too, buddy.

                    4. You’re calling things facts that are probably in dispute. Did anyone question the Church or pastor? Oh wait! We don’t know because there isn’t even a throw away line saying that they tried and failed to reach out for comment.

                      I remember the exact same complaint in the aforementioned UVA rape case.

                    5. I specifically didn’t call them facts; it was an “if this then..” statement.

                    6. That once was a response to Spencer anon, I need to make that more clear. I mean, if I develop any special feelings about appropriately directing my intent at faceless internet handles…

                    7. it wasn’t during the day of, it was DURING THE ACTUAL FUNERAL. that is even more horrible than just canceling even an hour before it started.

                    8. Spencer, where’s the evidence of that? I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just fed up with Reason calling out Rolling Stone for their shitty journalism on the UVA rape case, and then turning around and publishing this without due diligence.

                      1: This “article,” (and I do use the term loosely) is semi-believable at first glance, as we have a metric fuckload of eerily similar reports that actually have been verified.

                      2: UVA Rape bullshit was obvious bullshit, with no examples of anything similar ever happening nor any indicators that it was likely to happen in the near future.

                      Small, but important, differences.

                    9. And yes of course that story was WAY more obviously fabricated. That doesn’t change reporting standards.

      2. unless, of course, you have entered into contract without stipulating what conditions you will shut down the event. then you are subject to suit.

    2. “And as any of the Socons here will gladly and loudly tell you, all you have to do us say the magickal word “religion” and you get to ignore the rules that apply to everyone else.”

      The rules are that you have to abide by contracts you signed, even if you’re a Christian ministry.

      It would be nice, though, if we could learn what was actually *in* the contract, something that the local reporters (or Reason) could probably find out fairly quickly.

      1. Really? You mean we should do real investigations into a story before publishing it and just assuming Christians are bigots? Who’d a thunk it!

      2. I’m not sure it matters if the facts presented in the story are true. If the family gave the images and videos to the church well in advance and the event was shut down due to these same images on the day of, that’s bad business and, I would guess, breach.

        1. I said something similar below. It’s a key point which really may damage the ministry’s case legally, and certainly morally.

          Of course, please forget that I said this, because it interferes with the SoCon stereotype.

          1. +1 – sorry, should have read further down.

        2. It’s also just being a dick.

          Not that this has much to do with the religious freedom question, your religion can be whatever you want it to be. But what is the religious basis for refusing to do the funeral? Weddings, sure. But is there any mainstream Christian sect that thinks that gays shouldn’t receive funeral rites and a proper burial? I’d guess it has more to do with politics than religion.

      3. It would be nice, though, if we could learn what was actually *in* the contract, something that the local reporters (or Reason) could probably find out fairly quickly.

        Honestly, it doesn’t strike me as necessary to find out what was in the contract. They had the opportunity to review the material. They didn’t do so. As far as I’m concerned that put them in the role of negligent and deserving of whatever they get.

  5. I’ve had to be involved with some funerals. The family usually meets with the Pastor beforehand and goes through the whole thing. In other words, nobody gets surprised. Did they forget to tell him she was gay?

    1. Did they have a duty to disclose that absent a question from the pastor? Did the pastor ask?

      1. If the pastor never agreed to do the funeral for her regardless, this was the first time he knew that there was a picture of her perhaps passionately kissing a woman, and he was offended, can the government force him to do the funeral against his will or coerce him financially (civil suit)?

        1. if he didn’t stipulate that this was a condition he found unacceptable, yes. i think there is a civil case there.

          1. Prediction: If they do bring civil suit against the church for breach of contract, BB and all the other religionistas here will find an excuse for them, probably – the family should have known the church’s views on homosexuality…

            1. yes. bigots move goalposts. it’s how they keep their brains from exploding.

              1. How is it biogotted for a person to say that a pastor, who clearly believes from a personal standpoint that homosexuality should not be displayed in his church, has the right to shut down a funeral?

                1. because you are coming to defense of the pastor with prejudice- as evidenced in how you phrase the problem. that is, in fact, not the problem at all. The fact is breach of contract.

                  1. Where is there evidence of breach of contract Spencer? I just see speculation.

                    1. A verbal agreement to hold a funeral is indeed a contract. The failure to stipulate any terms, such as no homos, is on the person offering the service.

                    2. How do you know the terms Tonio?

                    3. Sorry, should have written “a failure” which takes into account the possibility that there were terms but we just don’t know about them, yet.

                      It is noteworthy that I have been more directly responsive to your questions than you have been to mine.

                    4. No no no, things just get lost in the shuffle! The threads need to have more indents per comment! Everything is all jumbled and confused.

                2. Why does he have a right to shut down the funeral when he should have reviewed the material and known previously that she was gay?

            2. We don’t even know half of the facts in this case. All we know is that the buzzwords “gay” and “Christian” were both in a story, so Reason just couldn’t wait to publish it and improve their liberal bona fides. It’s getting tiresome.

              1. no. we know that someone stopped a funeral service on the day of the event because they disagreed with the life lead by the dead person- after accepting payment to perform the service.

                That’s what we know, as reported.

              2. FTA:

                I would contend that the church is well within its rights to be bigots and refuse to host funerals that demonstrate gay affection.

                HURR DURR LOOK AT THOSE STUPID LIBERALS BELIEVING IN FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

              3. So how many of the facts do you think we know in this case? Please express using numbers.

                1. Fair point. I assume using the word half to express a limitless number is not accurate. However, I did not mean it literally, and perhaps will always explain when that is the case from now on…

              4. All we know is that the buzzwords “gay” and “Christian” were both in a story…

                No, we know a lot more than that. Like prior disclosure of the lifestyle of the deceased to the church.

                But let’s turn that argument around, all Black Blood sees is the words “gay” and “christian” and knows that Reason is going to be mean to the poor, ever-oppressed Christians. Then the doubling-down and special pleading when an examination of the known facts do not turn out well for the Christians.

                1. What facts speak to a breach of contract? That the people who got mad say they told them? If that’s enough for you, fine, but it isn’t enough for me and it usually isn’t enough for Reason. Unless of course the only group that’s still PC to ridicule is involved.

                  1. Verbal contract. See above.

                    1. Where is the proof of the verbal contract? Did they even ask the pastor for his point of view…you know, like a real journalist?

                    2. Where is the proof of the verbal contract?

                      They didn’t just show up one day with a casket and mourners, they had made arrangements ahead of time. Scheduling that event was entering into a contract.

                    3. Also, according to the Examiner article linked above the church refunded the $400 fee. Now, I know this is the worst sort of speculation (LOL), but for the church to have refunded the money they must have previously been paid for the funeral. Accepting money takes you further into contract-land than simply agreeing to do something.

          2. I’m just curious, if a contract doesn’t say anything about a moral issue, but there is a reasonable assumption on the side of one party that there could be a moral objection, does that party have a responsibility to disclose it? I honestly don’t know, I have no legal education.

            1. I wouldn’t think so. Say there’s no morals clause, but your wife really liked to ride motorcycles. Then, at the funeral service you have her leather jacket and chaps on display and the church says, “back the fuck up buddy, that offends us.”

              And you say, “but church people, you didn’t say there were restrictions on motorcyclist funerals here- so why would you tell us now on the day of the event?”

              and they say, “listen buddy, you should have KNOWN how we feel about motorcyles.. I mean, everyone does.”

              and you say,” please, my wife is dead”

              and they say, “yeah, but we dont deal with her kind here- go across the street now. please drag her coffin over there too. your tears will lubricate the trip.”

              Pretty shitty. also, pretty breach of contract if they didn’t go over limitations and restriction before accepting the job.

              1. Hmm, I suppose that answers my question below. I would have thought it was up to both parties involved to make known any details that could cause conflict ahead of time.

              2. You know how those motorcycle funerals go.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKIhb-42iyE

            2. As I say above, I wouldn’t expect any kind of Christian to refuse to do a funeral for a gay person. I don’t see what the moral objection would be. That doesn’t mean that there can be no moral objection. But I don’t think a reasonable person would assume that a moral objection was likely for a funeral.

          3. Most churches have thses set of beliefs called “doctrined” that define what they find acceptable.

            Maybe the pastor dropped the ball in reviewing the materials, but the pastor may jave been surprised that tje fsmily ignored the church doctrine.

            1. Large, organized sects (ie, Catholics, Methodists) have lengthy written doctrines and canon law interpretations of those doctrines. This seems like a small, independent church so probably not.

              Again, blaming the victims.

              1. What if the family snuck the picture in? See, I can speculate too!

                1. What if the family snuck the picture in?

                  Nice Gish Gallop you have going on there, BB.

                  FTFA: Friends say they gave the church a remembrance video of Collier a week before that contained images of her kissing and embracing her wife. The pastor had every chance to stop the funeral long before it began, they said.

                  And remember the church isn’t talking to reporters, hasn’t (AFAIK) posted their account on their website, or made any attempt to claim they were defrauded, misrepresented, etc.

              2. I am just saying it may be a stretch for the family to claim ignorance of the church’s positions on celebrating homosexual acts and relationships.

                1. It may be, but again this is a contractual matter…unless you want to be the one to argue that contracts are unenforceable here because Religion(tm).

                  1. I think the problem for the pastor is the claim that he had tacitly approved the video and other materials, but if he had seen them before, yes that would have definitely voided the contract. Especially if the pastor had offered to do the funeral without the video and the family refused.

                    1. Given the circumstances I think it is arguable that the family breeched the contract by refusing the church’s conditions to continue.

            2. Maybe the pastor dropped the ball in reviewing the materials,

              I’d say it goes a little beyond “dropped the ball”. I’d say it borders on negligence. At the very least, it invalidates the role that doctrine should play in defense.

        2. If the pastor never agreed to do the funeral for her regardless, this was the first time he knew that there was a picture of her perhaps passionately kissing a woman, and he was offended, can the government force him to do the funeral against his will or coerce him financially (civil suit)?

          Assuming he had the means to find out well in advance, I’d say yes, it can. If you don’t want to do “gay funerals” (whatever the hell that means) I’d say that’s your call. But deciding at the last minute when you should have known previously, puts you on the hook.

    2. Funerals aren’t cheap. If the family only paid $400 it sounds like it was probably on the bare edge of a paupers funeral.

      1. Was that for the entire funeral (casket, embalming, transport) or was that just the rental of the church and the speaker fee for the preacher. If the latter, then it’s reasonable.

    3. They say they gave the church pictures of Collier with her wife well ahead of time – the same pictures the pastor objected to mid-ceremony. It’s his own damn fault if he didn’t familiarize himself with the deceased beforehand.

      1. They say they gave the church pictures of Collier with her wife well ahead of time..

        Oh, this is going to be interesting.

        1. I wonder if they can subpena the pastor’s internet history to show all the times he’s searched for lesbian porn on porn hub?

  6. Friends say they gave the church a remembrance video of Collier a week before that contained images of her kissing and embracing her wife. The pastor had every chance to stop the funeral long before it began, they said.

    If accurate, this is a pretty key fact. As the equity maxim says “Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit” (Equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights). There are a number of legal concepts (estopel by silence, laches) built around the concept that even if an agreement gives you the right to some action, you can lose that right if you delay taking advantage of it until a point where the inconvenience to the other party is maximized. In this case, even if the agreement allowed the church to cancel the agreement for theological reasons, waiting to do so until the service was underway (again assuming they were aware or should have been aware in advance) likely limits their ability to exercise that clause.

  7. This is a pretty basic solution. The responsibility is on the church to ask, as policy, if the deceased was a member of any group- or involved in any practices- that were against their hosting policies.

    if they do not ask such questions and they then deny service for these reasons they are in breach of contract. If they do ask and the other party is untruthful, then that party is in breach of contract.

    It’s simple. It also let’s everyone know where the bigots are.

    1. Is it really up to the pastor to dig for that information and not up to the family to disclose it up front?

      1. YES.

        When hosting an event it is the responsibility of the host to lay out the limitations and exceptions in the contract. it could be as simple as “we refuse to host events that are contrary to the morals of this institution” or some other cop out.

        What if it was all sinners?

        1. OK, wasn’t sure of the responsibility involved by either party.

          1. I’m not a lawyer, btw- but this is how we operate when we host events.

            1. But is that legal obligation or just good faith?

        2. “we refuse to host events that are contrary to the morals of this institution” or some other cop out.

          Probably wouldn’t help. Remember that ambiguous language in contracts is normally interpretted in the light most favorable to the non-drafting party. So absent a more explicit definition of what they “morals of this institution” are, this clause is going to be based on what the renters think they are rather than what the church thinks they are.

          1. yes. this would probably refer to an appendix or subjection that would list the things explicitly contrary to the morals of the institution… in fine print. or maybe it’s large print that just says “TEH GAYZ” in 96 point futura.

            1. The rental form is stapled to a copy of Leviticus and the renters must individually inital each abomination.

              1. yes- or the whole old testament (because it can’t include the part about not judging people in the new one)!

              2. I LOL’d. Thanks, Storms.

        3. According to Christian doctrine it WAS all sinners.

  8. I think the very nicest thing that could be said is that what the pastor did was extraordinarily tacky and rude. Was it breach of agreement? In the only senses that matter, of course it was. In a legal sense, perhaps not, but the law is an ass.
    There are Rothbardians who deny ‘specific performance’ aspects of agreements; I’ve never found their arguments compelling. But to simply quit, partway through? Gay/straight, or whatever other pseudo-binary distinction, this is outrageous behavior. Yeah, yeah, I know, outrageous behavior is ‘permitted’ in various sense of the term. Big whoop, none of that changes the outrageous-ness of the behavior. The pastor’s an odious jerk by any measure whatsoever.

  9. It happened last weekend in Lakewood, Colorado, when a pastor shut down the funeral of Vanessa Collier, 33, during the service itself because on display were images of Collier with her wife, and a remembrance video to be shown during the service featured the two of them showing affection.

    Ahahahahaha, faggot

  10. But once they agreed to host it, is it a breach of an agreement to have halted the services in the middle of the ceremony?

    Yes, it was. The family had already made arrangements based on the explicit acceptance of the church to host the funeral. This is thus a case of breach of contract.

    Protesters have targeted the church for discriminating against Collier and her family.

    The protesters are misguided criminals who should be shot on sight and their bodies placed on display as warning to others.

    Or at least they should be dismissed as the ignorant clowns they are.

    1. What if the protesters were protesting the breach of contract?

      That would be kind of cool.

    2. The protesters are misguided criminals…

      LOL. What crime? Talking mean to the religious?

      1. Open your eyes,
        open your heart
        to the sarcasm, Tonio!

        I know you can,
        I know you can!

        1. One is never sure with you, OM.

          1. I operate under the assumption that everything he types is sarcasm.

    3. Re: the protesters, this is how it’s supposed to work, right?

      People should be free to be bigots and others should be free to express their disagreement with the bigots. Regardless of which side is made up of ignorant clowns, people should be free to be ignorant clowns. I would think the church could drum up some support to protest the protesters.

      1. I would think the church could drum up some support to protest the protesters.

        You would think that, if they weren’t all craven cowards.

        1. That may be the case, or they could just be turning the other cheek. They might get more play as martyrs to let the protesters go unmolested.

  11. IF they detrimentally relied upon to church to give a decent funeral, then I would say this is a breech of contract.

    I don’t understand how this could have happened. Did the family not know the minister was a bit nuts and made up for it by hating gays? If not, did the minister not realize that the woman was gay and that her partner would likely be involved in her funeral?

    Either the minister is an even bigger crap weasel than appears and actively lied in hopes of ruining this woman’s funeral or the family was totally asleep at the switch and never bothered to talk to the minister before the funeral.

    The minister here is by any definition an awful human being. If he objected to this woman’s lifestyle that much, he should have refused to do the funeral in the first place. Beyond that, he should have refused anyway. There is a time and a place for everything. Giving this woman a dignified funeral is not an endorsement of her lifestyle. It is human decency. What a piece of shit.

  12. “None of the news coverage discusses what type of agreement the family and the church entered into”

    Since that’s kind of a central question, I’m disappointed (not surprised) that the reporters didn’t investigate what seems a simple matter. I mean, just ask the protesters for a copy of the contract.

    This seems to be the New Hope Ministries Web site. It looks like a Christian-based center for helping addicts. Apparently they do funerals, too.

    http://www.nhmofdenver.com/

    1. Even if they had an iron clad agreement never to mention the partner, so what? That doesn’t give the minister the right to ruin the funeral. He should have just bit his lip and given the family hell afterwards if it bothered him that much.

      1. I would have to know more about the doctrines of this ministry. Apparently they help addicts in a Christian-based recovery program, where they may well try and instill “fundamentalist” Christian values. Maybe they think it would send the wrong message to the addicts if, in their funeral business, the ministry ignores traditional Christian values.

        But morally, if they were going to object to the video, they should have done it in advance, since they had a chance to vet it in advance. Failing to do their due diligence is their fault morally, and maybe legally as well depending on the contract.

      2. This seems correct. If you’re going to open yourself to conducting religious services for people who are not part of your congregation then you have to be pretty flexible.

        One of my friends is in a church that is struggling financially. Someone in the church proposed renting the church out for weddings even if their pastor didn’t officiate. However, the church is opposed to gay marriage at all so they decided to not open the building up for rentals (short-sighted in my opinion but whatever).

    2. So, they minister to a group known for petty theft and spreading disease, and they can forgive that but not a bit of girl-on-girl action? AFAIK there is no biblical prohibition against girl-on-girl sex as there is on any form of anal sex.

      This just keeps getting more delicious.

      Also, Eddie, what’s your opinion on the Pope’s latest proclamation about free speech?

      1. I discussed it in one of yesterday’s threads. If you’d been more more polite, I would have linked to it.

        1. And I would go out on a limb and guess their addict clients have *repented* of their behavior.

          1. How can a corpse be unrepenatant? Was it actively engaged in sodomy during the funeral or something?

            1. And there is still the open question of explicit biblical prohibitions against lesbianism or lesbian sex. My understanding is that the bible only prohibits the buttseks and men lying with men as with women. But I’m (obviously) not one of the religious so may well be missing either a text or an interpretation.

              1. And there is still the open question of explicit biblical prohibitions against lesbianism or lesbian sex.

                Not sure what you would accept as definitive (I’m not looking for an argument, I just don’t know), but this is often cited:

                Romans 1:
                26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

                I provided the surrounding verses for context.

                1. Oh, I’ll accept pretty much anything as definitive since the various sects of Christianity can’t agree about the meaning of their own text, and conveniently ignore the parts they don’t like.

                  However, I was honestly unaware of any biblical mention of teh lesbianism. I’m very much aware of a very specific prohibition against man-on-man sex.

      2. I would think that recovering addicts and criminals are classified differently in that they’re essentially looking for forgiveness. I don’t expect the gays were asking the church for forgiveness for being gay.

        1. but can they not just ask that they church preach to them and let god judge, as is laid out by their messiah in the new testament?

          Jesus would have totally hung out with lesbians.

          1. This is my favorite part of a religious discussion. When people start speculating on what Jesus would have done 😉

            1. And those people are often the religious themselves, BB.

            2. Um… if he existed and the quotes attributed to him are correct, it’s not really an assumption but a logical conclusion based on previous behavior and spoken intent.

              1. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

          2. …and told them not to engage in sin.

            1. yes, but he would not have kicked them out of the temple. he would have told them to ask for forgiveness and only god could judge them.
              \
              Much like he treated the whores and the thieves dying with him.

              1. That depends on what they were doing in the Temple. He did violently chase the moneychangers out for disrespecting it.

      3. Forgiveness of of actions viewed as moral lapses is bit different than celebrating those moral lapses as virtues.

    3. I’m disappointed (not surprised) that the reporters didn’t investigate what seems a simple matter.

      Reading comprehension failure, or that special religious version of the truth, Eddie?

      FTFA: A representative for New Hope Ministries declined to comment before hanging up on a Denver Post reporter on Tuesday.

  13. I’ll add that it doesn’t help the New Hope people that they had advance access to the video – such advance access was presumably for the precise purpose of having them vet the contents, but apparently they didn’t vet it, which would be on them.

  14. I’d be astonished if there was a written agreement.

    To me, there’s some due diligence owed by both sides. The family should take some care to avoid booking events with places that would object. The pastor should take some care to know what the event involves.

    Take this particular hot-button issue out of it, and see what you think. What if this was, for example, a funeral of a miscarried child/fetus/parasite, and the church was hardcore liberal and refused to recognize anybody who wasn’t actually born as a person.

    What if that pastor shut down the funeral when she realized it was for, in her view, medical waste rather than a person? How much of an obligation would put on both parties to do their due diligence?

  15. I would contend that the church is well within its rights to be bigots

    Begging the question fallacy…

    “A” is wrong. People who do “A” do wrong because they do “A”.

    You assume this means I’m bigoted against people who do “A”. You’re very wrong.

    If I cannot live by my beliefs and seemingly endorse people who do “A”, then I will do so. If I were the person signing this contract (was there a contract?) I’m an idiot for not mentioning this. That being said, I still cannot violate my beliefs and will happily reimburse that family for what they paid, even more for violating the contract (due to my stupidity).

    Is there more to this discussion or am I missing something?

  16. I don’t think there’s any reason to even go to public accommodation or anti-bigotry positions here. The church had the materials to review for the ceremony well in advance. Not doing so should be on them. Had they said after some reasonable period of time between getting the materials and the funeral “Hey, it’s pretty clear the deceased was gay, and we can’t go forward with her funeral”, they might have a point. But, stopping in the middle of the funeral should expose them to liability.

  17. There seem to be conflicting reports on whether the church had seen the video and requested images be reviewed only to find out that they weren’t or didn’t screen at all until the day of. Only one side is talking and that is the one that would get all the sympathy and quotes anyway.

    The main root of the problem is that you have a family requesting (and receiving) a service at a church without, apparently, anyone in the family having any actual connection to that church. Presumably if there were a connection then someone might have realized there would be an issue.

    I also find it a little weird that nobody in the family might have queried whether there would be any issues up font. I can tell by the name alone that the church would be of the non-denom/evangelical/conservative variety. Given the breakdown of Christianity in the US it would be a reasonable assumption for anything that isn’t one of the mainline Protestant denoms. Stories like this always make me wonder if there isn’t a whiff of agenda in the decisions people make about things.

    1. That’s right, Jen, that grieving family was just using the funeral to make political points. Thanks for explaining that to us all.

      1. I’m just deeply cynical about human nature on the SWJ side of the house. Too many of the recent public accommodation or employee-rights type lawsuits recently have had just a hint (if not a grand dollop) of “oh, golly gee I had no idea that the guy who said he didn’t support SSM would reject to cook my cake!” or “how could I have possibly known that the Catholic organization I work for could object to my marriage?”.

        So, yeah, I’m cynical of too-good-too-be-non-manipulated-truth narratives.

        I doubt the family set out to have this narrative, but again I have to ask why they wanted a Christian funeral when it doesn’t seem like anybody in the family had a connection to the church or the pastor? There was a funeral home literally across the street and those excel at secular funerals so why the need for a church and a minister? Honestly, I didn’t even know it was possible to have a paid-for funeral service at a church you weren’t connected to. Most churches I’ve known only seem to do funerals for members or family of members.

  18. . . . while in the process of providing a service?that he or she has agreed to be a party to something he or she does not support, what would be the appropriate or ethical thing to do?

    It would be to finish the fucking job and write it up in the lessons learned and due your due diligence on potential clients next time. Its not *their* job to try to tweak out which behaviors you do or not not tolerate.

    But here’s what really pisses me off about this specific example – there’s no religious justification for calling off a *funeral* for a homosexual. The person being buried could have been an unrepentant mother-killer and father-rapist and the priest would have still conducted the service, but a lesbian? No way? WTF?

    1. He did not refuse to continue the service because she was gay, he refused to continue the service with the pictures of her “wife” on display and the family refused that condition. Again, the pastor was being asked to celebrate something his church considers immoral and the family considered that inseoarable from her identity.

      1. Maybe it is on the family to choose a facility that is philosophically compatible rarher than one that is merely convenient location wise.

  19. This was a funeral! every body deserves service, that pastor is a fake christian. I do not condone Homo-sexuality, god prohibits it, He should not have walked out. I bet that pastor would have looked at Jesus and then thrown the first stone….at Jesus!

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