Teen Leaves Her Church After Being Called a "Bad Role Model"

Crossposted on Pam's House Blend

I stopped by McDonald's last night to get a cold drink while walking our dog and read the paper. The cover story so struck me that I felt it needed to be shared here. For the record, only quotes are copied from the article, the rest will be my own words. Hopefully this gets promoted to the main page on Pam's so everyone can be reminded that we DO in fact still have to deal with this bullshit up here in the mythical Queer Haven of Canada.

Vancouver Pride has come and gone this year. And it was a success as usual, with, for me, the exception of my friend Sophia not being able to make it from Portland due to a flat.

This year though, some of Vancouver's Suburbs are throwing their own Pride bashes. Here in Surrey we had one the weekend before Vancouver's. And across the Fraser River in New Westminster, they're having Pride festivities on August 7th.

However, a photo snapped and published by New West's local paper, the Royal City Recor, has resulted in heartbreak for the lesbian teenager in it.

Tory Inglis posed for this picture;

-with the New West Pride organizers. And a month after seeing it, her church asked her tocome in and speak to the Minister.

“Basically, they told me that I wasn’t being a positive role model for the youth in the church and the younger children, and that I was promoting a sexual lifestyle,”
“Basically, they told me that I wasn’t being a positive role model for the youth in the church and the younger children, and that I was promoting a sexual lifestyle,”

“Basically, they told me that I wasn’t being a positive role model for the youth in the church and the younger children and that I was promoting a sexual lifestyle,” Inglis said. “It’s really hard to hear from this place where I was pretty much raised that I was now different.”

Inglis said she was brought to tears several times during the meeting and was pressured to quit the Pride committee.

Instead, she took the TRULY moral high road and, despite the deep personal pain it causes her, quit her church instead.

Tory was one of the leaders of the Church's Junoir Youth group, and had made it a point to respect her church's anti-gay marriage stance by not discussing her sexuality in Church group meetings.

She didn't think the Pride photo would cause such a stir as it was neither on Church grounds nor on Church time. But she was chastised anyway and belittled by her church.

Tory's parents also quit the Church in support of their daughter. Her mom was quoted saying “Our belief is that God created us to be who we are, and I’ve raised her to be true to who she is.”

The family has received a surprising amount of support from other members of the congregatrion who think the Minister overstepped.

Tory didn't pose for the Pride photo to make a political statement, nor did she quit her Church to make a political protest.

“Above all, I want to promote peace and love and acceptance. And in a place that condemns people for loving, I would much rather be in a place that accepts people for who they are.”

The Minister in question is now on a conveniently timed vacation and has been thus unavailable for comment to any media trying to get one, but according to the section on the Presbyterian Church in Canada's Social Action Handbook, it is AGAINST Church policy to "Limit the roles of its members based on sexual orientation".

In other words, the Minister violated Church policy by scolding her at all, let alone by trying to pressure her into quitting the Pride Committee.

Colin Carmicheal,the Pres. Church's associate secretary of communication in Canada said "What I can say is, as it was reported in (local Vancouver Newspaper) The Province, it doesn't seem to be consistant with the policies of the Presbyterian Church. It would seem inconsistant for us in the way it was reported that she should be forced to make that choice."

Colin has tried in vain to reach ANY senior official at Tory's now former Church to find out what happened. It seems even to him like the brass there are avoiding comment.

Reverend Jim Smith, moderator of the Presbytery of Westminster, a ruling court that oversees 27 Lower Mainland BC Congregations including Tory's Church has declined to pass judgement until the Minister in question can offer his side of the story. He is however sympathetic to Tory's heartbreak.

"Pastorally it's saddening. That is neither the policy nor the theology of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. If the details as reported are accurate, at the very least then it was handled badly pastorally."

Reverend Timothy Bruneau may want to stay on vacation, as he has a VERY hot seat waiting for his return, with not only the local and national media wanting to talk to him, but higher-ups in his own faith having serious WTF questions for him.

Even US Gay magazine The Advocate wants to talk to him. The man be famous all over North America. Sadly, it'll be the kind of fame that folks like Maggie Gallagher has, where a fundie minority applauds while everyone else is appalled.

As for Tory and her family, they're looking for another Church that will openly accept them, and Vancouver has more than enough of those. Tori explains that her faith is a big part of her life, and she doesn't see why her church and her sexuality should be mutually exclusive.

Personally, after the last few weeks of being attacked by Louis Marinelli and Reverend David Mapes, I find it refreshing to learn that Tori's case actually angered senior Church officials of her faith, and that her former Minister is likely to be chastised for his hateful actions. I wish Tori success in finding a new Church, though I wish even more her Minister is replaced so she can simply go home.

1 comment:

  1. The church is lucky to have young men and women who are willing to look intentionally and critically at sexuality and gender. I wish more adults in the church would evaluate themselves more carefully and that our church conversations around gender and sexuality were more honest.

    I was a youth pastor for several years, so I'm familiar with the "party line" of Christianity and also the reality of what goes on in people's lives, even/especially our youth. And our scriptures are as ambiguous about love and sex as our modern day lives.

    Glad folks like Tori are around. Her strength has probably given hope to many others around her.


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