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Ethics of Outing Gay Pastor Debated

Ethics of Outing Gay Pastor Debated

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Controversy continues to swirl around the outing of Minneapolis antigay pastor Tom Brock, whom Lavender magazine reported to be among the attendees at a self-help group for people struggling with same-sex attraction.

Recently, John Townsend, a freelance journalist for Lavender,went undercover to penetrate Faith in Action, the local affiliate of the Roman Catholic group Courage. He and the magazine acted on a tip that Brock, the pastor of Hope Lutheran, attended the group's confidential meetings.

According to The New York Times, Stephen Rocheford, the president and chief executive of Lavender, has defended his publication's actions as ethical and legal, given Brock's public stature and the apparent hypocrisy of his statements and actions.

Brock, whose church broke with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over its acceptance of gay clergy, said the ELCA's policies were to blame for a tornado that a struck a Minneapolis church in 2009.

Critics of Lavender complain that Townsend misrepresented himself to gain admittance to the private group, according to the Times.

Neal Karlen, a Minneapolis writer, and Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times, discussed the controversy Wednesday on the radio program The Takeaway. Listen below.

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