Ethical Issues Arise in Magazine's Outing of Anti-Gay Pastor

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A local Minneapolis magazine is getting backlash from readers for its decision to run a story about an anti-gay pastor who attended a support group for men grappling with same-sex attraction. Lavender Magazine reported that Rev. Tom Brock, of the Hope Lutheran Church, who publicly criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church for liberalizing its gay clergy policies, attended Faith in Action, the Minnesota affiliate of the Catholic Church's Courage program. The program, according to its website, claims people can "move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity" by developing an interior life of chastity.

According to Neal Karlen, a local Minneapolis writer, the city is home to a bevy of rehab clinics, where the 12-step program receives the utmost respect. Therefore, it is not surprising that many locals feel the premise of anonymity and trust in this programs was destroyed with the article in Lavender. Hope Lutheran's executive pastor, the Rev. Tom Parrish said that when he first read the story about Rev. Brock he was "caught off guard and angered" by it. Parrish worries that this case will jeopardize the sanctity of groups like Faith in Action and 12-step programs.

Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times, gives his opinion on the questionable ethics on both sides of this case. 


Randy Cohen and Neal Karlen

Produced by:

Amanda Moore

Comments [5]

Andrew from Oregon

Brian, I think that you've strayed a little bit off topic with your last comment. It seems that you are "so angry" about Christianity that you would want to turn the comment section into a Christian mudslinging fest.

The article that you referenced earlier is actually quite interesting and relevant. The connection between homophobia (or gay-hating) and homosexual arousal is definitely something to consider. The hypocrisy of Rev. Brock is disgusting, but as disgusting as the hypocrisy is I can still admire him for attending a homosexual abstinence meeting, which is anything but denial.

The one thing that really irks me is the way in which he was outed. These meeting are anonymous to create a sense of safety and the sanctity of the group was definitely broken. I just hope that anyone in need of this kind of support isn't scared away by the ethical lapses of tabloid journalism.

Apr. 27 2011 02:23 AM
Saint Brian the Godless from Rhode Island

Ed from Larchmont
It seems consistent that a pastor who preached against homosexuality would go to a support group to try to avoid it himself. Where's the problem?
I hope that's a joke, Ed.

Obviously the problem is that the pastor is gay and in denial and so angry about it that he projects his hatred onto all gays.

The christians have a really screwed-up morality system. It's based in coercion, fear and punishment, with a reward yes, but not in this life. That doesn't priduce real morality, Ed. It produces self-centered morality, which is not real morality. It does not produce genuine empathy and other-centered feelings. And it definitely doesn't produce humility.

The christian religion is the biggest lie ever told, the Great Lie that keeps re-telling itself forever. It's based in hypocrisy and greed and lust for power, and it encourages the baser feelings while supressing all higher emotions. It was designed to program the followers and make them docile sheep. They even use the words 'flock' and 'pastor' and 'lamb of god.'

And it's holding us back as a species.

Jul. 01 2010 04:26 PM
Saint Brian the Godless from Rhode Island

A pertinant article:

An excerpt:

The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."

Jul. 01 2010 04:16 PM
Marilyn from Rhode Island

The support group which the Rev. Tom Brock attended is a program of the Catholic Church, not of the Lutheran Church as Neal Karlen said in your interview with him.

Jun. 30 2010 09:34 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It seems consistent that a pastor who preached against homosexuality would go to a support group to try to avoid it himself. Where's the problem?

Jun. 30 2010 08:13 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.