GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

July 6, 2013

Why did My Newspaper Do That? The pastor's fiery column

The Midweek Musings column, which appears most Wednesdays, has long been a staple of the Times, and seems like one of our more popular features.

A regular contribution generally rotated among perhaps a dozen local pastors and others in the Cape Ann clergy who often coordinate their submissions through Rev. Rona Tyndall, the column can, I admit, sometimes seem an odd fit on the Opinion page, with its regular local and national political debates and exchanges of ideas. Yet the column is, indeed, built on opinion, and while it has a religious bent, it also often addressed timely issues of the day, and gives them a spiritual perspective.

That was the case this week with a column submitted as a Midweek Musings piece by the Rev. Patrick Slyman, pastor of Rockport’s Pigeon Cove Chapel. Rev. Slyman did not coordinate the column through Rev. Tyndall, but instead submitted it directly to me, and – given that he had contributed very occasional columns in the past — I decided it would run, when other Midweek Musing columns submitted by other clergy in advance had run out.

That day came this past Wednesday, and even if you didn’t read Rev. Slyman’s column that day, you can probably tell by the reactions in letters both in this page and yesterday’s Opinion page that the reaction has been, well, intense — and understandably so.

In short, the column railed not only against Gloucester’s flying of the Rainbow flag during the month of June — recognized across the nation as “Pride Month” — but harshly decried all gay men and women as “sinners” for engaging in their lifestyle, and condemned the city and Mayor Carolyn Kirk, whom he said was basically “shaking her fist in the face of God” for allowing the flag to be flown in the first place.

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