Ethical Issues Arise in Magazine's Outing of Anti-Gay Pastor

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A local Minneapolis magazine is getting backlash from readers for its decision to run a story about an anti-gay pastor who attended a support group for men grappling with same-sex attraction. Lavender Magazine reported that Rev. Tom Brock, of the Hope Lutheran Church, who publicly criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church for liberalizing its gay clergy policies, attended Faith in Action, the Minnesota affiliate of the Catholic Church's Courage program. The program, according to its website, claims people can "move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity" by developing an interior life of chastity.

According to Neal Karlen, a local Minneapolis writer, the city is home to a bevy of rehab clinics, where the 12-step program receives the utmost respect. Therefore, it is not surprising that many locals feel the premise of anonymity and trust in this programs was destroyed with the article in Lavender. Hope Lutheran's executive pastor, the Rev. Tom Parrish said that when he first read the story about Rev. Brock he was "caught off guard and angered" by it. Parrish worries that this case will jeopardize the sanctity of groups like Faith in Action and 12-step programs.

Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times, gives his opinion on the questionable ethics on both sides of this case.