When someone's coming to the altar at church warrants a standing ovation from the congregation, it normally means that a meaningful decision was made, such as following Christ. But that wasn't the case recently at a Texas church.
The Daily Mail reports that a man received a standing ovation at the First United Methodist Church of Austin when he proposed to his boyfriend on the steps of the altar.
"It is very sad and outrageous that in the sanctuary of a Christian church you would actually have applause for people just bragging and announcing that they're going to be making a formal commitment to continual sexual sin," laments John Lomperis, the United Methodist program director at The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD).
Lomperis is disappointed that loving pastoral care was not demonstrated towards these two men.
"It is so much more difficult to do the truly Christian thing of loving somebody enough to compassionately encourage them to turn away from their sinful life choices and to walk with them in all of their struggles and difficulties," he offers.
Instead, the congregation applauded the action of the men who hope to wed in the church next year.
But Lomperis points out that the United Methodist Church does not allow same-gender union ceremonies, and the overwhelming majority of pastors support the ban because of Scripture.
"It's important to keep in mind that it's the misbehaving Methodists that get all the attention – these kind of vocal liberal minorities like we see in this Austin church," the IRD spokesman concludes.