June 30, 2010 at 9:15 am EDT | by Staff reports
National news in brief

Minn. pastor likely to keep job despite gay report

MINNEAPOLIS — A Lutheran pastor critical of allowing gays into the clergy is on leave from his Minneapolis church after a gay magazine reported his attendance at a support group for men wanting to overcome same-sex attractions.

Church officials, however, said last week that the Rev. Tom Brock likely will return to the pulpit at Hope Lutheran Church because he acted in accordance with his faith by attending the group, the Associated Press reported.

A fixture on local cable access shows, Brock regularly broadcasts conservative views on homosexuality and criticizes the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for liberalizing its gay clergy policy. Lavender Magazine published a story this month about Brock’s quiet attendance of the Faith in Action meetings, written by a reporter who falsely posed as a member of the group.

“The fact that he said one thing publicly, and privately he’s a homosexual — that’s somewhat inconsistent,” the Associated Press quoted Lavender president Stephen Rocheford as saying. “This company has a policy not to out people. The one exception is a public figure who says one thing and does another.”

The Lavender article never explicitly said Brock acknowledged engaging in gay sex. It quotes him at one point talking about a recent mission trip to Eastern Europe, of which he says, “I fell into temptation. I was weak.”

Hope Lutheran’s executive pastor, the Rev. Tom Parrish, said when confronted with the article, Brock “simply said he indeed has been attending this Christian group, both going there and being honest about temptations he has, and is being held accountable so he never would do anything with that temptation.”

The Associated Press reported that Parrish said Brock was put on leave from the job of senior pastor at Hope Lutheran when the article came out, but likely will return after an internal investigation.

Brock, who has an unlisted phone number, did not respond to several interview requests made through Parrish.

1 dead, 5 shot in incidents at San Francisco Pride

SAN FRANCISCO — One person died and four others were injured in two shootings tied to San Francisco’s annual Pride street festival.

The Associated Press reported that in the first incident, 19-year-old Stephen Powell was one of three people shot during the city’s “Pink Saturday” celebrations. Also shot was a 19-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man; both were expected to survive.

Following the shooting, police revealed that they had arrested 20-year-old Ed Perkins on suspicion of murder. At least one other person is believed to be involved in the shooting.

In a second incident two days later, two men were shot Monday while attending a vigil for Powell. The Associated Press reported that the two men — ages 20 and 21 — sustained injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said the victims were not being cooperative and that Powell’s murder was gang-related.

Stanley Cup takes ride in Chicago gay parade

CHICAGO — The Stanley Cup, which has been on more adventures than perhaps any other piece of championship hardware, made its first appearance in a gay-themed event last weekend.

The Chicago Gay Hockey Association invited the Blackhawks to join Sunday’s Gay Pride Parade after the team won its first Stanley Cup title since 1961 — and the team said yes. So did the Chicago Cubs, who had their own float in the parade for the first time.

According to the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Phil Pritchard, it marked the first time the NHL’s championship trophy has been on display at a gay-themed event.

“We are thrilled that it worked out as it’s important for the city and important for the franchise,” Blackhawks spokesman Adam Rogowin said.

Defenseman Brent Sopel and his wife, Kelly, accompanied the Cup on a float in the parade. Sopel, who was traded last week to Atlanta, is a 33-year-old father of three who said he volunteered to honor the late son of Toronto general manager Brian Burke, his former boss in Vancouver.

Brendan Burke, 21, was killed in an auto accident in February, just three months after publicly disclosing his homosexuality.

“Anybody who has had to bury a child has suffered a heartbreak and this was the first thing that came to mind,” Sopel said. “Everything that happened last year with Brendan coming out last year and dying three months later, it was a tragedy.”

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