Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roughly 100 Walk Out During Trans Woman's Funeral Following Offensive Sermon

This is pretty sad.  Lashai Mclean was a transgender woman who was shot to death in Washington D.C. in a possible hate crime.  Her funeral was held at Purity Baptist Church.  According to this article, the sermon was so offensive that nearly one-third of those in attendance walked out in the middle of the pastoral eulogy:
Basically, he said that God let her get killed so that people could get saved,” said D.C. gay activist and comedian Sampson McCormack, who attended the service. “And that came after somebody, I think it was a deacon, said when you live a certain lifestyle this is the consequence you have to pay.”

McCormack and D.C. resident Arriel Horton said they knew Mclean and were among more than 300 people attending her funeral service at Purity Baptist Church near Capitol Hill...

McCormack and Horton told the Blade that a sermon delivered by Rev. A.W. Montgomery Sr., pastor of Agape Missionary Baptist Church in Suitland, Md., who presided over the funeral service, offended many of those in attendance, including many of Mclean’s transgender friends.

The two also said friends of Mclean became angry when clergy and others speaking at the service referred to Mclean as “he.” McCormack said many in the audience responded by shouting the word “she.” Montgomery did not return a call from the Blade by press time.

Rev. Robin Toogood, pastor of Purity Baptist Church, said his church agreed to host the service after the funeral home that made the funeral arrangements approached him. He said funeral home officials told him that Montgomery’s church in Suitland, to which Mclean’s family members had ties, was too small to accommodate the number of people expected to attend the service.

Toogood said he gave welcoming remarks at the service before turning over the service to Montgomery. Horton, who said he was a friend of Mclean’s, said people began to leave the church while Montgomery delivered the eulogy. “Where I was sitting, most people walked out before he finished,” he said.

“I was just kind of stunned,” said McCormack. “I was just sitting there listening and I and the other people were looking at each other and people in the back just started getting up and left. It was like a mass exit.”
Later in the article, it was noted that the eulogy was pretty much the norm for your average funeral.  "He was talking about what preachers talk about -- sin and all of that.  He's just being a preacher."  I've been to many funerals in my life.  I have never heard a pastor or a priest give a fire and brimstone speech at a funeral.  I've never heard them use the life of the deceased as motivation for others to find Christ.

Instead, I've heard reflections about the life of the deceased individual.  I've heard inspiring stories about their lives.  I've heard comforting parables for those who are grieving.  But I've never heard anyone preach that the deceased deserved what s/he got because of his or her lifestyle, whatever that lifestyle might have been.  If the article is completely -- or even halfway -- accurate, that funeral eulogy was borderline abusive.

I don't care if you are a preacher or what kinds of messages about sin and vice that you get to speak about every Sunday while at the pulpit.  Leave those sin-mongering messages at home when one of your flock (or the family of one of your flock) dies.  To do otherwise is disrespectful for the person who has left this life and it's disrespectful to those left behind.

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