Certain words spring to mind in reaction to the story of Holy Family Church’s music director being fired last week because he could not promise to lead a “chaste” lifestyle.
Bill Stein is gay. He has had the same companion for 10 years. Asked point-blank to make the promise or lose his job, he had to choose the latter.
Immoral! Outrageous! Unfair! Wrong! Un-Christian! Ironic would apply as well, given the nationwide pedophile priest scandal and the church’s celebrated cover-ups and denials on that matter. Funny where lines are drawn.
Now it’s un-Christian for a Church to follow Christianity and to fire someone who refused to be chaste? St. Paul in a situation where someone was being sexually immoral said:
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
But there are two sides to every adjective that applies to this story, and Stein, 35, sees all the nuances.
Nothing to do with the moral law just nuances.
There are people who believe the gay lifestyle is immoral and deviant; in fact, that’s his church’s position. Some people would say it’s unfair to force parents into a situation where their children are taught by people who the parents believe are not good role models.
THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE on both sides of the issue. Still, this situation is unsettling and unfortunate for Stein and for the many people who testify that they were touched by his ministry at Holy Family.
Again morality doesn’t matter as long as you are “good people”, but of course they would not want to have to define good.
Stein was not fired for anything he did, but for who he is.
Excuse me, he was fired for something he did and was going to continue to do, shacking up with his male lover. Same sex attraction is not a “who” it is not the bedrock of identity for people who suffer with it.
“I never made my lifestyle a part of the job,” he said. “It doesn’t belong as part of my job, but it was forced into the job in an ugly way.”
After five years in his position — he calls music ministry his “call,” his way to serve God — he was sacked on the spot with two weeks’ pay.
They gave him a chance to change his ways. Which is more than Procter & Gamble (just as an example) would do for an employee who professed that he didn’t not use bath as part of his personal lifestyle choice.