Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 253
July 21, 1997

"Why? ... Why Now?"


"Why? ... Why now?" are questions asked about my resolution at this church's Annual Meeting to set up an Ad Hoc Committee on Homosexuality. Pastoral concern, not politics, brought it about.

Paul Brussard's death by Woodlands' youth who journeyed to Houston for some 'gay bashing' continues to disturb me. How can people give themselves permission to beat up (and kill) another human being? Perhaps the answer is in the placard on the recent Gay Pride March: "A Fag Dies, God Smiles." A libel of God, to be certain, but if so, how do we counter the "God smiles" message? Saying nothing makes 'gay bashing' a Christian-approved sport.

"My child told me he's gay," confesses a member. "What did I do wrong? What do I do now?" How can this church be a community, not of secrets (because the topic is not discussed), but of support for members?

Local corporations such as Fulbright & Jaworski and Shell Oil now include 'domestic partners' in employee benefit packages. The Southern Baptists decided to boycott Disney for doing that. In another area, the military, we now have the "don't ask, don't tell" rule. What guidance do we, as a Christian community, give our members as they live in corporate and military cultures? Or, do we assume that the Christian response is to just 'go along' with whatever others decide should be done?

Over three decades ago, I was asked, "If we Christians believe in life-long, committed, and monogamous relationships, shouldn't we be encouraging homosexual 'union' services?" I have answered that question for myself, but how do we answer that question?

In the mid-50s, First Congregational was courageously created as an "open church," (a very specific meaning in an era of official segregation), and we have continued to declare that "membership is open to anyone who affirms Christian faith and signs the covenant of the church." We are now in the process of discovering what being an "open church" means in today's society.


--Robert H. Tucker
21 July 1997

© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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