A Baptist Minister in Sweetwater, Tennessee has allegedly refused to hold a funeral service for a dying man who has a gay son.
The 71-year-old is currently on his deathbed. His family have requested media do not name him. He specifically asked that his funeral be planned for Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church. The church has particular meaning for him as it was his childhood church.
However, the church’s current leader, Pastor Jay Scruggs, has refused.
The reason? The man’s son – who is gay and engaged to another man – wanted to sing at the service, as per his father’s wishes. His father wants him to sing a hymn called, The Anchor Holds.
The son, Jessie Goodman, told WTVC, ‘They’re punishing my dad for a lifestyle choice I’ve made. It’s not me up there in a casket. It’s him.’
Jessie alleges Scruggs said to him, ‘as long as I was going to take part in any way, [my father] could not have his service there.’ He says it was made clear that his fiancé, Brandon, was also not welcome to attend the funeral with him.
Jessie says his father, who has only, ‘a few days left’ is also a pastor and was stung by the news.
‘He had a very hurt look on his face when we told him that.’
WTVC asked Pastor Scuggs for comment on his decision. He told them he’d only comment after Jessie’s father is in his grave.
‘Hate is hate in any form’
In a statement to Gay Star News, Jessie Goodman said he’d received no updates from the Church since WTVC ran its story on Wednesday.
‘We were told that the church was vandalized Wednesday, which breaks my heart. Hate is hate in any form and no battle can be won with hate. We were also told that the pastor apologized to the church because he “misunderstood” my part in the funeral. That makes no sense since it is my father passing.
‘We have made other funeral arrangements and as of now my father is still holding on but it can be any time.
‘My point is not to hurt the church, not to push homosexuality in their face, but for them to understand the wrongdoing and the mistakes of their decisions.’