The organisers of an entire city’s Easter celebrations have decided to call them off, rather than allow LGBT people to participate.
The Easter Sunrise Service organiser and Stockton, California’s Police Chaplain Jim Reid, mistakenly invited an LGBT-inclusive church to attend the citywide Easter celebrations.
Reid later rescinded his invitation to Reverend Terri Miller, after realising that the Valley Ministries, which she leads, because it is LGBT-affirming.
His reason for taking back the invitation to the 17th annual event? “We are diametrically different in our view of scripture when it comes to homosexuality.”
Reid was then placed on leave by the Stockton Police Department, and was later sacked.
After the head of the Stockton Leadership Foundation re-invited Miller and her wife, unexpectedly, the organisation cancelled the entire event.
Apparently because the Easter service’s “transforming message will be overshadowed as a result of the well-publicised clergy invitations.”
Reid, who remains on the board of the organisation, said to the Stockton Record that if Valley Ministries were allowed to take part, it would lead to “a media frenzy”.
“I felt it would defeat the purpose of having it,” Reid said. “I didn’t think it would bring glory and honour to God. I was in favour of canceling.”
Understandably Miller said she was “very sad” that the decision had been made to cancel the event.
“It’s just disheartening to me that here these folks claim to be Christians … and are squandering this opportunity because of some perceived differences instead of uniting under the banner of what this day is supposed to mean,” said Miller.
“This is based on fear and not on grace and love,” Miller told Fox Channel 40.
“It’d be great if we could have truly a citywide Easter service. Where when you use the label citywide, it should mean everybody.”
A police lieutenant in Stockton was last year placed on leave for writing a letter calling same-sex marriage “blatant debauchery”.