When a woman named Brenda Light passed away last month, her son Barry Giles sent an obituary to a local Texas newspaper, the Olton Enterprise.
As with any obituary, it mentioned her still-living family members and their spouses, saying in this case, “Those left to cherish her memory include her son, Barry Giles and his husband, John Gambill of Dallas.” When the piece was published, however, John Gambill‘s name was nowhere to be found.
That’s because the paper’s publisher, Phillip Hamilton, happens to be a Baptist pastor who thinks same-sex marriages are an abomination.
[Hamilton] declined an interview but said in a statement, “It is my religious conviction that a male cannot have a husband. It is also my belief that to publish anything contrary to God’s Word on this issue would be to publish something in the newspaper that is not true.”
Hamilton says “the newspaper respects the first amendment rights of those who express such opinions. The newspaper’s decision to edit the obituary is both ethical and lawful. It would be unethical to publish a news item that is known by the editor to be false. Based on the truth found in the Word of God, I could not in good conscience identify Mr. Gamabill as the husband of Mr. Giles.“
See everybody? He wasn’t purposely wiping away the existence of Gambill. He was just fact-checking.
Giles, naturally, is upset. No other newspaper he sent that obituary to took out his spouse’s name. Just that one.
“It wiped John completely off the picture like he didn’t exist,” Giles said.
It’s hard to argue the newspaper did anything legally wrong. Omitting information deemed unnecessary or untrue isn’t the same thing as purposely publishing false information. But ethically, what Hamilton did was atrocious. By removing Gambill’s name, he was arguably rewriting the life story of a woman who just died. Giles and Gambill say they spent a lot of time with Giles’ mother, going on family trips together and caring for her later in life.
Refusing to acknowledge his existence because of Jesus doesn’t take away from the fact that Gambill loved her and cared for her as if she were his own mother.
Leave it to a Christian to ignore love in the name of hate.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)