An Indiana man has been banned from singing at his grandmother’s funeral – because he’s gay.
Connor Hakes wanted to sing in honour of his late relative at St Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church in Decatur, but he received a letter from a priest at the church denying his request because of his “homosexual lifestyle”.
Father Bob J. Lengerich had seen a photo of Connor at a Pride festival with friends, which prompted him to write the letter of “concern” to tell him that his sexuality “could scandalise our congregation”.
The church leader explained that his church has “several LGTB parishioners who have openly declared their intentions to embrace a homosexual lifestyle”, but that they are “not permitted to serve” as a result.
He claimed that those who can’t perform at funerals include “people who have been divorced and remarried, have openly support abortion rights, and are openly participating in unchaste same-sex relationships”.
Father Lengerich said Connor could honour his grandmother with a song “as long as it is outside of the Mass and outside of the Church”, recommending a performance at the “cemetery” or “luncheon”.
He added: “It’s because we love you that we are concerned for you.”
Connor Hakes took to Facebook to post the letter, which has since had over 1,000 shares and 500 comments, writing alongside it: “Both my Grandma and Grandpa would be disgusted by their parish.
“Their compassion and empathy was abundant, no matter who you were. They saw beyond race, religion, sexuality and social class. They loved everyone. That is what it means to be Catholic.”
Speaking to News Channel 15, Connor said: “This priest has judged me and really formed an opinion about me without ever communicating with me.
“This was coming from a man, a priest, out of my home parish that I’ve always felt very loved and welcomed in, and all of a sudden I feel very ostracised. I pray for the softening of his heart and that he becomes a better leader for the Catholic Church.”