leaves of absence

Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Gets 2 Weeks Off For Having Sex in Slovakia

Plenty has been said about the ethics of reporters infiltrating the “12-step” program for recovering homosexuals frequented by Pastor Tom Brock — the closeted Lutheran pastor who blamed that tornado during ELCA’s vote on gay clergy on The Gays. Like how it’s wrong to invade meetings where privacy is of utmost importance to achieve betterment. But such arguments ignore the type of meetings Brock attends. The support groups sponsored by Faith In Action, the Minnesota chapter of “”the global Catholic gay-chastity-maintenance organization” Courage (and perhaps not to be confused with Faith 2 Action and Faith & Action), resemble the recovery techniques of Alcoholics Anonymous only in their logistics: group sharing, coffee and donuts. But then there’s the Bible-based means of denigrating same-sex attraction. Yes, Brock’s so-called therapy group is for ex-gays (and wannabe ex-gays), but it also serves as a strategy session for the mental release of the very same-sex attraction these men rally — and in Brock’s case, preach — against. Either way, it got Brock ousted, at least temporarily.

The expose filed by Lavender magazine’s John Townsend about Brock, the preacher at Hope Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, involved Townsend posing as a gay man in need of recovery. And the church isn’t denying his findings that Brock confessed to some sexual slippage on a trip to Slovakia. But it isn’t confirming it either.

In the meantime, they’ve put Brock on administrative leave while they investigate, uh, something. His sexuality? Brock’s supervisor Pastor Tom Parrish says it’ll take about two weeks, and in the meantime they removed all his videos from the web (though Queerty saved the one about the tornado).

It’s unclear whether Brock will continue hosting his six-times-a-week radio show while his church looks into whether he can control his gay urges, but probs not, ’cause, awkward, right?

The Rev. James Livingston, a Catholic priest and the chaplain at North Memorial Hospital, says Townsend’s report about Brock “wasn’t so much an ethical decision as a hate crime.” Targeting anti-gay gays because of their religious-based hatred? Where does it end.

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  • L.

    Two weeks? He should hop to Europe again and take George Reker’s little helper with him.

  • Who cares

    He´s just following Luther´s teachings…”Sin boldly”

  • jimstoic

    I feel sorry for the guy. Self hatred is the worst thing in the universe. I hope he recognizes this as an opportunity to embrace reality.

  • L.

    @jimstoic: As Bill Maher points out in “Religulous”, he subscribes to beliefs that some guy could walk on water and multiply the fishes. So it’s entirely possible he’s not *that* big on reality.

  • Neil

    I would love to ask the congregation in his church if they would allow Pastor Brock to counsel their young teen sons on issues of manhood. Or would they even allow Pastor Brock to be alone in a room with these teen boys?

  • B

    In No 4, L wrote “As Bill Maher points out in ‘Religulous’, he subscribes to beliefs that some guy could walk on water and multiply the fishes. So it’s entirely possible he’s not *that* big on reality.”

    Apparently someone figured out how to walk on water (sort of). Here’s an article with some pictures:


    Then there’s the “walk on water lake” (Baishuiyang) in or near
    Zhouning ( http://www.amoymagic.com/zhouning.htm ).

    There’s also an Israeli film entitled “Walk on Water”
    ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0352994/ ).

    Couldn’t find anything about the fishes, but if most of us tried to walk on water, we’d be swimming with them!

  • Ogre Magi

    Catholic priests have to be some of the worst vermin on the planet!

  • gilber

    he deserves more more and even more suffering ,depression,long hours of anxiety fighting his “demons”,and much more for all the damages and pain he has brought to his own people.

  • Conservative Mark

    Just goes to show you, once you’ve had Slovakian, the queers will be a mocking him.

  • B

    No. 5 · Neil wrote, “Or would they even allow Pastor Brock to be alone in a room with these teen boys?”

    … would that be a problem if he’s into bears? Nobody has said what types he likes.

  • Dennis

    Tom Brock deserves every misfortune his outing may bring about. May he (I beleive the term is) repent for the sins he has committed against LGBT people, genuinely apologize to the LGBT community and ask for forgiveness, and then learn to accept himself, and create a more honest, authentic and tolerant life for himself.

    He 100% brought this on himself, and until he apologizes, have little compassion for him, or any other self-hating gay homophobe.

    We shouldn’t have to be victims of any “twisted sister’s” internalized shame and/or be silent as they attempt to act out with and harm others due to thier own inner conflicts.

  • WTF?

    @B: Exactly right, B. Neil implies he’s a pedophile, too. I don’t think there is any evidence to that effect. Saying that just encourages the tired old belief that gay men are sicko pervs who prey on underage boys. We get enough of that shit from without, let’s not start tracking it indoors too.

  • Fitz

    Part of me really believes in the unique sanctity of confidential peer groups– but all that goes out the window when your issues are causing you to be harmful to me. Put more simply: I have no problem tearing to shreds the life of someone who is a threat to my family, by any means.

  • Mary Hassler

    I don’t believe gay advocates really care about people struggling with same sex attraction. It’s either get on board or we will destroy you. I don’t believe Pastor Brock is a hypocrite for speaking against homosexual behavior because he may struggle with it himself. There are a lot of temptations that people struggle with, and may fall into, that they believe are wrong. Are we suppose to say they are okay because of this? I don’t think so.

  • Dennis

    @Mary Hassler:

    “I don’t believe gay advocates really care about people struggling with same sex attraction. It’s either get on board or we will destroy you.”

    Whatever…You know, it’s not our responsibility to “cure” every closeted gay’s internalized homophobia while they act out their inner demons on us, and as they attempt to harm gay people via hate speech and discrimination.

    First and foremost, stop the abuse he is heaping on us, and then, offer him an opportunity to ‘get right with himself’ and others by apologizing to the LGBT community for his actions and make better, more honest, choices in the future.

    Just because Brock “has issues”, gives him NO RIGHT to harm others with hateful speech and discrimination. He 100% brought this on himself.

  • jimstoic

    I’m more of Mary’s mind. While it’s not our duty to cure every closeted homosexuals internalized homophobia, I don’t need to reflect their hate back to them. And a person trapped in internalized homophobia is unlikely to apologize for his failure to accept gay people until he is able to accept himself as a gay person. Once that happens, the apology will flow naturally.

  • Conservative Mark

    It is funny how homosexuals are guilty of sensorship. Perhaps heteroseuxals are not homophobic. Perhaps homosexuals are mediaphobic.

  • ewe

    I was once threatened with two weeks suspension from a shitty civil service job i once had and i made the mistake of saying right then and there that i would love to take a vacation. They ended up doing nothing. I eventually quit. I hope he posts his photographs outside the Castro or some Miami beach with boys in bikinis on a blog.

  • Fitz

    @ewe: I don’t think you have been to the Castro in a while.
    There isn’t anything sexy about it, unless you get hot from Pottery Barn and Starbucks.

  • Lanjier

    Mary Hassler:

    “I don’t believe gay advocates really care about people struggling with same sex attraction. It’s either get on board or we will destroy you.”

    Struggling against same-sex attraction is very foolish. Just go with it — it is natural. People who don’t believe that it is natural are foolish and brainwashed. Start with fantasies of beautiful people, then take it from there. Poof! Problem solved by flowing with the Dao.

    Trying to form relationships with the opposite sex if you are gay if very wicked. They don’t need or want you! They need a heterosexual!

    Shoot your fluids into the universe, and be very, very happy. Keep those fluids in their pipes and you are deeply wicked, to you, to your same-sex partner who needs you, to your opposite-sex fool who does not need you, to the right person for that heterosexual.

    Do the right thing! Fuck a gypsy hunk in Slovakia!

  • ChrisM

    I saw more sex pairings at this type of “recovery” meetings than I found in a gay bar. I’m always amazed at the number of guys who attend these so called 12-step programs with no other objective in mind than finding like minded closeted gays. I attended (but did not participate) as part of a psychology project, openly gay with no desire to change, and was repeatedly approached by guys who wanted to meet up privately yet continued to profess their desire to change their sexual orientation.

  • ewe

    @Fitz: Ok, i do admit i am not nor never have been a chicken hawk.

  • ewe

    @Lanjier: Now there is some common sense wisdom. Thank you very much. lol

  • BearBudMN

    I would like to respond to this article as a former Courage attendee who is now out and in a wonderful relationship. Those who might suggest that Courage is not an ex-gay ministry are lying. Here is my proof based on what I witnessed and heard at Courage meetings. Courage approaches the idea that gay, lesbian or bisexual people should completely abstain from all romantic and physical activity between people of the same sex, because the Catholic church teaches that only sex between one married woman and man for the purpose of procreation is appropriate. As such all emotional and physical intimacy between people of the same sex is treated as a sexual “disorder,” “addiction” or “malfunction.” Therefore if people of the same sex are engaging in romantic and sexual activity it is because of their “intrinsically disordered” behavior.

    How else might Courage be an ex-gay ministry? Because they suggest psychological resources like NARTH (National Association of Research and Treatment of Homosexuality). The very organization of therapists and researchers who encourage reparative therapy. Also the word “disorder” is the same word used by Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family. Courage and their founders claim that “same-sex attractions” are due to things like an absent father, an over bearing mother resulting in “injured masculinity” for men or “absent femininity” for women. How is this not an ex-gay ministry.

    I want to share with everyone the one incident that finally helped me change my mind and why I think Lavendar Magazine’s tactics were perfectly ethical.

    My last meeting that I attended (and finally woke up at) one individual shared with the group that he was getting very discouraged about the idea that because he is gay he will never get married or have children. Another individual told him that there are many homosexual men in heterosexual marriages that are very happy and healthy. When he said that, I just about blew my pipe. During the years that led up to my going to Courage for a time, I remember hearing the stories of many closeted gay men in heterosexual marriages who are afraid, lonely and unable to tell their wives for fear of what will happen. Many fear that they will never see their children again or face some kind of discrimination in a court or by their wife or from someone else. How is that a healthy marriage?

    Someone finally had the courage to send someone in to tell others what goes on in a Courage meeting. A “hate crime”? I don’t think so. The only “hate” involved here, is the hate that the group is encouraging in the men who attend the group for themselves and their desire to love and be loved by someone else in a healthy and holy way. Suggesting that gay, lesbian, or bisexual people are “disordered” and their desire to love and be loved by others is “disordered” and teaching them to have such shame should they dare to show that love, is not a healthy attitude and does not lead to holy living. Not when we deny before ourselves and God that who and what we are is wonderful, beautiful and worth sharing with that someone who will honor it some day.

    Those are my thoughts.

  • David

    The article didn’t say anything of Pastor Brock having sex in Europe. He said he “fell into temptation”, and it’s not explained what that means. Pastor Brock confessed to another Pastor that he had homosexual thoughts, but never had sex with anyone.

    Pastor Tom Brock is a person of incredible character and humility. What he teaches is based on the Word of God. We don’t know why he chose not to make his struggle public, but that should be his choice. Not the choice of a slimy, low-life reporter. Though I don’t know Townsend, based on his article, he is a terrible journalist, and seeks only to destroy character.

    Pastor Brock speaks against homosexuality because Scripture speaks about it as a negative thing. Who better to speak against it than someone who has struggled with the temptation?

    Looking at the comments I don’t think very many people read the article. It was terribly written and I don’t know how much you can believe from it. It sounds like it’s incredibly biased. This guy could have said anything. Wake up and actually read the article. Don’t just jump to a conclusion.

  • David

    @BearBudMN: Why did you go to a church in the first place? There are plenty of secular-thinking pychiatrists who would be willing to tell you what you want to hear. Scripture may not tell us what we want to hear (because we are sinful creatures), but that doesn’t mean that we can just change what it says.

  • tal

    I don’t believe the article that first came out said anything about this Pastor having sex. So, I’m not sure how this article came to that conclusion. It would be nice if they could get a quote from the guy.
    I have to agree with Mary.
    Put yourselves in this pastors shoes.
    He believes in the Gospel of Christ for his salvation. He (like everyone else) is a sinner and repents to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He believes everyone is born with sin and he struggles with same sex attraction which he believes is a sin, so he goes to a support group to help him not fall into temptation. How “weak” he got is between him and God and I am guessing he has already repented and asked for forgiveness. Now pretend you are him and those are your beliefs.

  • RJ

    I have listened to Tom for some years and I am a happy well adjusted gay doctor of Psychology. It’s sad how people feel the need to create a dichotomy of sexuality and God’s love. How many people it hurts is hard to even know. So many gay people are hurt and turning one gay person against another in the name of what? Jesus said “love one another”. The message isn’t hard, it doesn’t require hours of endless Bible study or scholarship. Religion is the last bastion for those who are allowed to hate without consequence. Let’s all remember Tom and the lesson we can take from this is that we need to be true to ourselves. Jesus loves you too Tom, whether you are gay or not.

  • ed galbraith

    Tom Brock’s religious beliefs are characterized by being unkind and intensely self-righteous. Much of his paranoia spills out against women (esp in the clergy)and gay men. One thing to feel that way. Quite another to don the cloth and then preach it. Worst intellectual crime is deceit. He deserves the “hell” he describes with such certainty.

  • Aaron

    How it can it be that’s bull crap.

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