During the recent Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting in McCandless, ("Presbytery Rejects Gay Clergy Proposal," March 15), two fathers of gay men were given an opportunity to speak concerning the "chastity and fidelity" amendment. I was struck by the profoundly different messages that these two men delivered. They were summed up in a few sentences reported by Ann Rodgers.
Mike Fazzini, an elder from Fox Chapel, spoke courageous words of support for his son, whom he seems to love unconditionally. His words were important and powerful for both young and older gay people. Mr. Fazzini's statement that "the current ordination standard cuts like a knife into the heart of what many presbytery members believe about their friends and family members who are gay" was very moving.
Thomas Fox, an elder from West Mifflin, had a drastically different message. While he acknowledges that his gay son who tragically died of AIDS was a loving person whom he greatly misses, he goes on to judge him as a sinful person, unworthy of leadership in the church.
My father died nine years ago, encouraging me until the very end of his life to be a compassionate, nonjudgmental, loving and inclusive man. He encouraged my leadership with mentally challenged children and as a facilitator with HIV and family groups affected by AIDS. He also encouraged me to stay active in my church. My father loved me unconditionally as his gay son as he loved my brother as his straight son. He would have hoped (and prayed) that Mr. Fox would one day feel similarly about his own beloved son, and I imagine that he would have wanted to quietly and firmly shake Mr. Fazzini's hand.