Just several weeks ago, anti-LGBT Republican Randy Boehning found himself outed as a frequent Grindr user. Now, Reverend Matthew Makela has resigned from his position after being caught in the same scandal.
Makela, a married father of five, served as a pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church and School for five years. According to his bio on the church’s website (which was taken down upon Makela’s resignation), he “enjoys family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”
This description fails to acknowledge another hobby of the former pastor, though. During his five years serving the church, Makela frequently made discriminatory comments against the LGBT community.
An opinion piece written by Pastor Dan Dickerson appeared in the Midland Daily News on Nov. 21, 2014. According to Dickerson, “A sexual attraction to the same sex is a sinful temptation to be resisted and overcome by God’s grace and power, just as a temptation to steal or lie or overeat must be resisted and overcome by replacement with working hard, telling the truth and moderation in appetite.”
In a response that has been deleted, Makela praised Dickerson and compared homosexuality to alcoholism:
Thank you, Pastor Dickerson, for believing the Word of God and loving people enough to reveal God’s will for their lives and also His plan of salvation for all believe in JesusI love people who have same sex attraction, and so does God. The proof is in the sacrifice He made for all of us who sinWe don’t tell a person born with tendencies to abuse alcohol to keep on giving in to his innate desires because he can’t help it. We try to help him in his struggle.
Yesterday, the church posted a statement on its website. According to the letter, Makela has repented and been forgiven, and the church has been asked not to follow the media’s coverage of the story:
To make matters worse, though, the details of sin that have been kept confidential are being posted online by those who seek to do harm to the Makela family and to St. John’s. This is taking an already difficult situation and making it even more painful.
I write this to you to warn you that you may be confronted with the details of the sin, and to remind you that sin is never pretty. The facebook pages associated with St. John’s have been taken down in an attempt to remove the opportunity for malicious posters to have access to St. John’s members, but the internet and age of communication being what it is, I have no way of guaranteeing that you will not come across this information in some way.
Ironically, the church shows concern over “malicious posters” and “those who seek to do harm to the Makela family and to St. John’s”; however, this same kindness was not shown to the LGBT community when Makela took to his own Facebook to post hateful LGBT comments.
When a Planet Fitness located in Midland, Michigan, garnered attention for defending a transgender woman who was shamed for using the women’s the locker room, Makela took to his Facebook page to post his opinion on the transgender community:
The transgender movement is going to assist opportunistic sickos in preying upon children and others. How can business owners and the authorities prove who is a man who identifies as a woman vs. a man who wants to prey upon girls and women in their restroom or locker room
Despite this, and his many other public anti-LGBT sentiments, Makela confirmed in a statement to Queerty that the screenshots obtained by the media were in fact real. However, he declined to comment any further.