Tyler Clementi

There is a certain amount of discussion and debate going on over on American blogs at the moment, religious and non-religious about a several suicides of young gay people. Being gay is a factor in so many young suicides, something I’ve highlighted on this blog before.

Rather than point to any of the debate, I think the thing I want to do is highlight the video below. It shows one of these young men playing his violin in church.

Watch and listen.

You might have heard of him. His name is Tyler Clementi and he apparently threw himself to his death from a bridge once he discovered that two other students had streamed on the internet a video of an encounter he had with another man.

The video is important. The church connection is important. The church he is leading worship in is Grace Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey. The church belongs to the Willow Creek Association of churches. Although there have been some brave attempts to challenge Willow Creek to change their views, the policy of that church is that being gay is an impediment to fully being part of God’s church, particularly where leadership is involved.

These are broadly the same values that the Archbishop of Canterbury was advocating in the national press last week. They are the same values that our own dear bishops are associating themselves with in keeping to the moratoria against gay leadership in the church. They are the same values that others want to enshrine in our churches by stealth in the adoption of the so-called Anglican Covenant.

(A tip of the praepostorial biretta to Robin Angus for finding the video)


  1. Melissa says

    I imagine you have seen the documentary film, ‘For the Bible Tells Me So’. The previous thread about heaven and hell brought it to mind, and I have been thinking about the damage that can be done in the midst of families due to a misguided sense of obeying God.

    The film tracks how the church values you mention above play out, sometimes in these terrible ways, in the lives of 5 different families of LGBT children. Of course, Gene Robinson is there, and I felt in the end that the way was hopeful.

    We met the filmaker, Daniel Karslake, at a screening here last year. He was brilliant, kind, and warm.

  2. Hi Melissa – thanks for your comments. I have indeed seen the film – indeed we had an open showing of it in St Mary’s about a year ago. I think its excellent. I’m happy to lend out my copy to anyone in the congregation who wants to see it.

    It was also shown at Solas, a recent Scottish Christian Arts festival, with me doing a question and answer session afterwards.

    Not that I like to name-drop, of course, but our copy was given to us by +Gene himself, when he was at St Mary’s in 2008.

  3. David | Dah•veed says

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