Michigan Pastor Resigns Amid Backlash Over Anti-Gay Remarks


In the heartland of Michigan, the idyllic and serene Beal City became the stage for a divisive clash of faith and rights. Its epicenter, St. Joseph the Worker Church, stood as the physical reminder of the recent turmoil that has awakened this usually tranquil community, located a moderate 85-mile journey north from the bustling state capital, Lansing.

The Reverend Thomas Held, a Catholic priest, tendered his resignation as pastor of the aforementioned church. A decision inspired by a sea of controversy that has churned for weeks, emerging from regret he publicly conceded about a gay author’s involvement with the local preschool.

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Like ripples in a placid pond, his comments triggered an uproar, mobilizing a legion of gay rights activists and their supporters. The murmuring congregation outside St. Joseph the Worker Church grew louder each day, transforming the church’s doorstep into an arena of peaceful yet firm protests.

Bishop Robert Gruss of the Saginaw Catholic Diocese disclosed the Reverend’s departure in the current week. The Morning Sun, caught in the flurry of the unfolding saga, carried the news to its readers.

Held, affirmed Bishop Gruss, had come to the bitter realization that mending the rifts within the parish had grown increasingly Herculean. The bishop lamented the circumstances, dubbing it an “unfortunate situation.”

The catalyst to the community’s unrest was an incident that unfolded on Facebook. On March 13, Held responded to a visit to the parish preschool by local author Dominic Thrasher. The prolific author, known for his work, “The Adventures of Cece and the Sheriff,” featuring two lovable puppy main characters, had read from his own book to the unsuspecting children.

Held, refraining from explicitly naming Thrasher, expressed his distress towards a “guest who does not represent the values of our Catholic faith” reading a book to the children. The reverend reassured the congregation that a teacher had been present and promised to instate a “new vetting system.”

Dominic Thrasher, bewildered and livid, defended himself, questioning why his personal life had to influence his interaction with the children. “Why my sexuality has anything to do with that – anything – it makes me mad,” he argued passionately.

Thrasher’s “civil union” with another man had instigated the Rev. Held’s involvement. The Saginaw Diocese stated that this fell counter to the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality and marriage. While it fueled objections from some parish members, it was received with indignation by others.

Undeterred, the Diocese stood by Held, despite regular Sunday protests demanding Held’s removal. Bearing placards that boldly declared, “There’s nothing righteous about bigotry disguised as religion” and “Love thy neighbor NO exceptions,” supporters rallied against Held’s statement.

Welcoming the news of Held’s resignation, critics rejoiced. Kate Beltinck, a mother to parish school children, breathed a sigh of relief, “We can finally begin the process of healing and restoring the sense of unity that defines our community,” she proclaimed, hoping for a peaceful resolution to a tumultuous chapter in Beal City’s history.