Gay Man Not Welcome to Volunteer at Canadian Church
A Canadian church has allegedly fired a college student from his volunteering job because he is gay, Canada's Global News reports.
Colin Briggs, 20, told the news outlet that he was a volunteer at Crosspoint Wesleyan Church in Fredericton, the capital of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, for years but was dismissed last week.
"They basically told me they would prefer that I wouldn't volunteer there because I was gay," Briggs, a student at Saint Thomas University, told Global News. "I went to sign up again this year to volunteer and I didn't think anything would be a big deal."
Initially, Briggs said he wanted to keep the decision private because he didn't "want to bring any negative attention to the church." But he decided to speak with school newspaper The New Brunswick Beacon and his story has since gone viral.
Briggs has received positive support from fellow classmates as well as from people off campus.
"He was doing a lot of good ... It's wrong to remove someone based on sexual orientation alone," Saint Thomas University student Robert Booth told Global News.
"I think they should take it back and let him work with the kids," student Maggie Murphy told the Global News.
Officials from Crosspoint Wesleyan Church did not comment to Global News about why they fired the college student, but in an interview with the school newspaper last Friday, Pastor Mark Brewers said Briggs' dismissal would "avoid any potential uproar that may be caused if families were to find out an openly gay male was working in the children's ministry."
"Having an openly gay male working in the children's ministry may cause some parents to feel uncomfortable," Brewer told the school paper.
The pastor added that Briggs can still attend the church but not volunteer with the children's ministry.
Briggs says he's not upset with church leaders for firing him but isn't sure if he will go back, though he still considers himself a loyal parishioner. He told Global News that he needs to stand up for who he is because he knows other people are dealing with similar issues.
According to the Raw Story, Brewer addressed the incident during his sermon on Sunday, saying that "much of what you read on the Internet is not true."
"We have never taught a message of hate or discrimination," he remarked. "Tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street. We respect the rights of people to make their own personal choices in these matters, but we request that we receive the same respect as a church in making these decisions."