L-R Brandon Smitty, Jessie Goodman (image via WTVC)
For years now, the LGBTQ community has endured reports of being denied services – like trying to buy a wedding cake or wedding invitations, or enrolling children of same-sex parents at private schools – all because of ‘deeply held religious beliefs.’
But a church in Tennessee is now denying a dying man’s request to host his funeral because his son is gay.
Jessie Goodman’s father is 71-years-old, very ill and dying.
His father has two requests after he is gone: that Jessie sing “The Anchor Holds” at the funeral, and that the services be held at Lee’s Chapel Baptist Church in Sweetwater, Tennessee. It’s the church the father first attende
But when Jessie, who is engaged to Brandon Smitty, approached the church about the service, Pastor Jay Scruggs and several members of the church told him neither he nor his fiancé could be involved in the funeral because they are gay.
President Barack Obama, speaking thoughtfully and with grace, honored his former presidential opponent, Sen. John McCain today, reminding a worldwide audience of McCain’s sense of duty, honor, and yes, humor.
Just a few highlights as the we were all reminded of two of America’s higher angels: dignity and respect.
Former President Obama discusses his conversation with John McCain about speaking at his funeral, joking that “it showed… his sense of humor… After all, what better way to get a last laugh than to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience.” pic.twitter.com/rq29mnxBYf
Obama offered a long view on how class versus crass handles differences in politics. After referencing the “petty” and the “mean,” he closed the thought with a quote from For Whom The Bell Tolls:
“So much of our politics can seem small and mean and petty. Trafficking in bombast and insult, phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but is instead born of fear.
“John called on us to be bigger than that, to be better than that.
“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be, but what will happen in all the other days will depend on what you do today. What better way to honor John McCain than follow his example.”
Barack Obama on McCain: “Our politics, public life, public discourse can seem small and mean and petty. Trafficking in insult and phony controversies…It’s the politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that” pic.twitter.com/fn3NH7ASPN
Even President George W. Bush couldn’t resist the temptation to draw comparisons between the current occupant of the White House and McCain: “John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.”
George W. Bush: “Above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/xAxcG6KGyd
The White House has announced Donald Trump will not attend the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush citing a desire to “avoid disruptions” in regard to the president’s security detail and “out of respect for the Bush Family and friends.”
First Lady Melania Trump will attend the memorial service for Barbara Bush this Saturday representing the First Family.
Reps for former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have indicated they will attend the memorial service as well as former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 92.
You’ll recall when Obama didn’t attend the funeral of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, right-wing pundits couldn’t wait to criticize.
President Obama hugs Vice-President Joe Biden after eulogizing Biden’s son, Beau
President Barack Obama eulogized Beau Biden Saturday as a good man of character “who loved deeply and was loved in return,” hailing the compassion and public service of his family in a moving funeral oration to grief-stricken Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
Obama said that the former Delaware Attorney General and Iraq War veteran, who died a week ago from brain cancer at 46, was a fine man who was full of integrity and refused to trade on his family name. He did his duty to his country and “did not have a mean bone in his body,” Obama said.
“Beau Biden brought to his work a mighty hearty, he brought to his family a mighty heart,” Obama said in his eulogy, during which he appeared on the verge of being overcome several times.
“Beau Biden was an original. He was a good man, a man of character, a man who loved deeply and was loved in return.” Obama said.
When he had concluded his eulogy, Obama stepped down from the pulpit of the St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, and folded Biden in his arms, placing a kiss on his vice president’s cheek.
Fifteen minutes into the funeral for Vanessa Collier, Pastor Ray Chavez stopped the memorial after realizing the deceased mother of two had been lesbian. Chavez refused to continue the service until images of Collier with her wife were removed from display.
According to the Denver Post, Chavez said he would only continue the service if images of Collier and her wife, positioned around the casket, were removed. The family, outraged, refused, and “picked up programs, flowers and eventually the dead woman’s casket itself” before relocating at a mortuary across the street. The scores of attendees, many of them reportedly lesbians themselves, followed suit, abandoning the church.
“It was humiliating,” Victoria Quintana, Collier’s friend, told the Denver Post. “It was devastating.”
Hurt and frustrated, dozens of friends and supporters of Collier reconvened in front of New Hope Ministries on Tuesday to protest the pastor’s decision. Holding images of the deceased, who police say is thought to have committed suicide, the demonstrators shouted chants of “Give us an apology!” and “Shame on Pastor Ray!”
According to the group’s Facebook page, the protestors also noted that Chavez, who reportedly referred to Collier’s sexuality as an “alternative lifestyle,” has yet to refund the family the cost of the funeral.