A mega-church in Arlington, Texas that had offered to hold a funeral service for a deceased Navy veteran, withdrew their offer after discovering that he was gay.
Mr. Sinclair, 46, died Monday. He was a native of Fort Worth, a Navy veteran who served in Desert Storm helping rescuers find downed pilots, and a singer in the Turtle Creek Chorale, said his mother, Eva Bowers. He did not belong to a church.
His brother, Lee, is an employee and member of High Point, a nondenominational mega-congregation led by the Rev. Gary Simons.
When Cecil Sinclair became ill with a heart condition six years ago, church members started praying for him out of love for his brother, Mr. Simons said Thursday. And when Mr. Sinclair died of an infection, a side effect of surgery intended to keep him alive long enough for a heart transplant, a member of the church staff was immediately sent to minister to the family, he said.
Both the family and church officials agree that the church volunteered to host a memorial service, feed 100 guests and create a multimedia presentation of photos from Mr. Sinclair's life.
But the photos that the family selected alerted church officials that there might be a problem with the service, Mr. Simons said.
The issue was not so much that Mr. Sinclair was, from the church's perspective, an unrepentant sinner, he said. It's that it was clear from the photos that his friends and family wanted that part of his life to be a significant part of the service.
The pastor said that he could imagine a similar situation involving a different sin. Perhaps a mother who is a member of the church loses a son who is a thief or murderer, Mr. Simons said. The church would surely volunteer to hold a service, he said.
"But I don't think the mother would submit photos of her son murdering someone," he said. "That's a red light going off."
What would Jesus do, indeed....