An infamously anti-gay Lutheran pastor, Tom Brock, has been outed as gay himself. Unfortunately, the outing is ethically compromised by the fact that the writer accomplished it by infiltrating a confidential 12-step program for gay men dealing with “chastity issues”. Basically, he had to violate a promise of confidentiality. This is a tough one; if the program were a sincere effort by these men to deal honestly with their sexual orientation, then this revelation violates trust and reduces the effectiveness of the program, and does actual harm to innocent participants. I can’t condone that.
However, by the account of this reporter, it sounds like the program is more of an exercise in maintaining contempt for gays as a tool to help control their urges. I suppose that’s one way to do it, and an exposé of the program would be appropriate — it seems to be the usual Catholic (Brock is Lutheran, but the program is non-denominationally religious and dominated by Catholics) hypocrisy.
After the first round, conversation continues, ranging from discussions about a particular homosexual rut one of the members was in, to financial worries, criticism of progay political efforts, and defenses of Catholicism. The term “gay” is eschewed in favor of words like “disorder” or “gender disorder.” However, very occasionally, unsquelched comments cropped up about homophobic bigotry, plus even grudging admiration for the tenacity of out gay men facing societal ridicule.
When Brock was in attendance, the conversation inevitably would turn political, focusing on gay and church issues, and beyond–not only during his first round, but also in his sharing time, and before the session commenced.
When the topic of same-sex marriage came up, Brock stated, “The world needs [heterosexual] marriage.”
Another person chimed in, calling same-sex marriage “a cult of mutual masturbation”—oblivious to the unintentional humor.
At one point, Brock became very intense in talking about some recent statistics that the percentage of HIV/AIDS cases caused by homosexual contact had increased. He was accurate, which is why safer-sex information should be widely available–something the group certainly would oppose.
Brock also comes across as a nasty piece of work.
When it was Brock’s turn to share, he related that he recently had been on “a preaching mission to Slovakia,” where he met with other clergy.
Then, Brock admitted, “I fell into temptation. I was weak. That place has this really, really weird, demonic energy. I just got weak, and I had been so good for a long time. Things had been going so well for a long time. There’s a lot of gypsies there.”
According to Brock, he confessed the foregoing to someone at Hope Lutheran Church.
Brock clearly was put off by the gypsy presence in Slovakia, continuing with a sense of revulsion in his voice, “They’re toothless, filthy; they smell, stink; and the gypsies are trained in how to pick your pocket.”
In his video series, Brock slams ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson for his call to “combat racism” at a New Orleans youth conference.
He’s also a smug misogynist.
Later in the session, Brock remarked that even though he is “against the ordination of women pastors,” he presented a workshop to female Lutheran pastors in Slovakia. But, in his words, “I didn’t tell these women that I actually don’t believe in women being pastors.” However, he learned that many women pastors there were “assistant pastors to their husband, who was the head pastor,” and that ultimately, “nature takes over, when they have children, and they then assume their role as mother and leave ministry behind.”
That very day, on The Pastor’s Study, in describing the plight of an abused wife, Brock asserted that one “is to suffer for Christ. Her husband was a stinker, but she stuck it out for the sake of Christ.” In the same episode, he also railed against ELCA’s GLBT tolerance.
If I were to be interviewed by John Townsend, the author of the piece, I wouldn’t trust any promise he might make to me, which is one lesson — he has sacrificed his integrity to make this story. I can’t be too irate, though; it sounds like no innocents were harmed by the revelation, and if the effectiveness of the program is diminished, that’s no loss.
And Tom Brock stands exposed as a hypocrite who betrays the principles of his church who should be shunned by his congregation (but probably won’t be—the deeply gullible are rarely discouraged by the dishonesty of their leaders), and who has earned even greater contempt from those who oppose his hateful agenda.