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After the Newtown shootings, there were a number of interfaith vigils for the victims’ families and the community. One in particular featured leaders from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Baha’i backgrounds. Setting aside for a moment the issue of where the atheists were (or whether they were even invited), that actually sounds like a comforting event — religious people setting aside their differences for the common good.

But now, Reverend Rob Morris of the Christ the King Lutheran Church, is apologizing for taking part in the event.

Because it apparently gave the impression that he endorsed the beliefs of those who came from non-Lutheran backgrounds.


Pastor Rob Morris

… The fear is that by sharing the stage with false teachers, I have diminished the proclamation of the truth which is ours by grace through faith in Christ.

… Thus, to those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies. If any of you know church members or friends or family who are now confused because of my participation, believing that the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod fully endorses the doctrine of anyone else who was on that stage, please correct this confusion lovingly, and I will personally be happy to help in any way that I can…

I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology.

What the hell…?

I can’t believe I’m defending a pastor here, but who are these people “confused” by the interfaith vigil?! Who watched the event and thought, “Oh shit! That’s my pastor! He’s sharing the stage with a Muslim! WHY DOES MY PASTOR HATE JESUS?!”

And why would a pastor apologize for taking part in an event like that? Don’t apologize to the people who sit on the lowest rung of common decency — tell them you’re ashamed of them! Tell them you did the right thing! Tell them not everyone accepts Jesus but we all grieve the same way!

I guess I can’t completely blame Morris for his apology, though. It’s not his fault his faith requires him to be a complete dick in the most tragic of situations. In fact, the 2,300,000-member Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has a constitution forbidding pastors from participating in interfaith services like this in order to remain doctrinally pure:

Even as an atheist, I readily admit that religion can be a source of comfort for a lot of people. Religious people may be wrong theologically but at least they take care of people in times of tragedy, we often say. This story just reiterates the idea that compassion ranks below adherence to mindless doctrine in the minds of certain theists.

Oh… there’s one more thing.

A bunch of religious groups just filed a joint amicus brief (PDF) in support of Proposition 8 in California (banning gay marriage).

Check out who signed onto the brief:

National Association of Evangelicals, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; the Romanian-American Evangelical Alliance of North America; and Truth in Action Ministries.

As Fred Clark puts it:

So praying for the victims of tragedy with other members of the community is forbidden. But interfaith coalitions are just fine when it comes to kicking LGBT people.

This isn’t hypocrisy. It’s just that the people in church of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod hate gays way more than they love the schoolchildren of Sandy Hook.

If you ever needed evidence that religion is part of the problem and not the solution, look no further.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.