Pastor Tom Brock of the New Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis
A prominent anti-gay Lutheran pastor in Minnesota, who recently blamed a spate of tornadoes on gays, is exposed as a closet sister.
There is a lot of controversy over the way Tom Brock was outed. A reporter for a local gay paper, Lavender, infiltrated a Catholic group for gay men struggling with chastity called "Courage" and spotted Pastor Brock there confessing to strong erotic feelings for other men. This created some controversy within the gay community in the Twin Cities over breaking the confidentiality of a 12 step program.
I'm not buying it.
"Courage" is but a tiny step away from an ex-gay program. It's a program whose premise is not only self-loathing, but loathing others of your own kind. I don't support outing everybody. I think everyone is ultimately responsible for their own identity. If people want to stay locked up in their own self-loathing and deception, that's their business.
But, when someone who is one of us works actively against all the rest of us, then he's fair game to be publicly exposed for the toxic hypocrite that he is.
I wonder who will be next?
Our friend Dah-veed, a psychologist in Mexico, has a strong contrary opinion that is well worth reading in the comments thread of this post.
Any one who is publicly homophobic and works to subjugate GLBT deserves, no, needs to be outted where there is enough evidence to prove the outting.
Doug, I am going to have to seriously disagree with this one. I believe that definite lines were crossed by this reporter and the publisher for whom and the publication for which he works. The "reporter" seriously broke confidentialities and breached ethics in this case.
He has not outed a public figure who was secretly living a homosexual lifestyle while at the same time campaigning against homosexual folks. He did not follow him to obscure tearooms and backroom bars, or interview sex trade workers to whom he was a client.
This reporter entered a 12-step program under false pretenses and has outed a public figure who, from the reporter's own telling, very seriously has problems with his sexual orientation and wishes like hell to change it, but admits to strong sexual feeling towards other men, and has confessed that at a time of weakness he had sexual relations with another man.
Whether as a psychologist I agree with this Roman Catholic organization's use of the 12-step model is a very different issue from what is occurring here. From this reporter's account, this is not a sham front for a coven of closet cases who go home with one another after their meetings and fuck like bunnies. He has not made a case for these meetings to be an excuse to encounter and take advantage of other closeted men, as is often the case with Exodus International.
I strongly feel that this is not a violation in which we should be participating or spreading the information garnered. Please Doug, take this down. We are not this kind of gay men. We are men of Christian character and we do not need to violate confidences and trust, no matter how much we disagree with someone's position in opposition to us. We have no need to become like them.
PS - James, I would post this same comment at your blog as well, but for some reason, your comments program is just giving an error code and will no let me read or leave comments. I doubt the issue is on my end.
How about if I put up your objections as part of the post?
Your objections are noted, but I don't agree. There is that other side of confidence, that people should not use it as a hiding place to avoid responsibility when they actively harm their own kind. If Brock was simply in the closet, I would certainly object to his being outed. Since he was actively persecuting others "guilty" of his same inclination, I think he's fair game.
I'm willing to post your comment as part of this post, or as a separate post.
I'm certainly TIRED of all the so-called Christian haters, ...who do the opposite of what they preach.
Sometimes there is a need for ACT UP style covert activity even if the subject is a Lutheran.
I would be more comfortable if it stayed a comment. I think that folks who read this will read the comments.
I would be comfortable with an update specifically pointing folks to the comments if you like.
Will do, Thanks.
Since it's established that "ex-gay" groups increase the risk of suicide for their members, perhaps Brock should be grateful to the reporter who outed him, for saving his life.
Oh dear: disagreement between two peeps I like so much (as an "F"---Myers-Briggs "Feeling" Type---conflicts like this make me uncomfortable!)
I'm a 12 Step member (Emotions Anonymous), and breaking confidentiality is a Big Deal...
...but on the other hand, I'm not certain that the group mentioned in the story really IS a 12 Step group.
Think of Step 2: "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
Does that sound like the mental concept "A Loving Creator made me w/ the desire for a member of my own sex, which I can never, EVER satisfy, no matter how mutual, committed and loving the (monogamous) relationship, because . . . we both have wee-wees" (Or "...we both have hoo-hahs")???
That doesn't sound like sanity to me. Ergo, the program "Courage" IS the unhealthy addiction, not the recovery from it!
And therefore, I'm not sure 12 Step confidentiality applies. OCICBW.
JCF, it is not communion breaking disagreement. I gave him my reasons for my objections and asked him to take it down, he disagreed and said no.
As for running around and deciding that because you disagree with what is occurring, or the folks who are offering or are attending the 12 Step model program, beware, that is a two edged sword that could well be swung toward you one day.
Seems to me Doug and Dah-veed might be talking about the same thing- a lack of personal integrity.
The reporter, whatever his original purposes for integrating ‘Courage’ misrepresented himself and his intent to abide by the principles of the group.
Pastor Tom I would suggest, not only mis-represented himself to his congregation and colleagues but took advantage of his status as a minister and public figure to project his personal torment into the public arena- thereby feeding the forces of hate and divisiveness. In doing so, I’d agree with Doug that he removed himself from the realm of the personal; so his outing is as public as his earlier pronouncements. Personally, I refuse to be complicit in ‘outing’ in my personal and professional life, but I’d be the first one to personally take a homophobe to the wall if I had clear grounds such hypocrisy in their life. Pastor Tom however had already taken the whole thing public.
For me, Doug’s post is valuable, not only for the comments it has garnered, but as a call for similarly closeted souls to heed the Spirit’s call to authentic lives. The telling issue before us now would seem to be how LGBT people of faith offer fellowship and support to Pastor Tom, rather than objectify him and leave him in the no-man’s land of ‘forcibly outed.’
JCF’s assessment of ‘Courage’ as a toxic alternate addiction is spot-on in my assessment, so in typical Anglican practice I can agree with all three of you- which is a relief, as I appreciate all three of your on-line presences.
Then try this, Dahveed:
Instead of defining "sanity", I'll use the well-known definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome."
Does that not PERFECTLY fit every "Ex-Gay"/"Coerced Gay-Celibacy Recovery" program you've ever heard of?
They can't really provide "recovery" (of any kind of actual wholeness), because there is an Internal Contradiction at the core . . . and that's patently unhealthy!
I don't think this is a question of "JCF's Say-So" (much less "running around and deciding that because you disagree with what is occurring": I'm generally too lazy to run around! ;-/). The empirical evidence for recovery through these type of programs ("You'll become a Happy Heterosexual!"/"You'll become happily celibate!") is precisely Jack and Squat (actually, I think Jack and Squat snuck out of the meeting for some dangerous spur-of-the-moment unsafe sex, before going home to their wives).
C'mon, Dahveed. You, of all people, know what Concern Trolling is (I can count always count on you to point it out!). Don't Concern-Troll this (important) subject w/ a dire warning predicated on a false equivalence!
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