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Christian Pastor Stands Up Against Church for His Gay Son

Christian Pastor Stands Up Against Church for His Gay Son

Ryan and Dave Struyk

The action brought minister Dave Struyk a shout-out on CNN's State of the Union, where his son Ryan is a producer.

A Christian Reformed Church pastor who has a gay son has spoken out against the denomination’s decision to uphold its teaching against same-sex relationships and marriages.

Dave Struyk, pastor of Community Church in Wyoming, Mich., was a delegate to the Christian Reformed synod — a meeting of denominational leaders — last week in Grand Rapids, Mich. At the synod, delegates voted to stand by a decision made in 2022, upgrading the denominal position opposing same-sex relationships from pastoral advice to “confessional status,” meaning it “is considered part of the core beliefs of the [Christian Reformed Church] and that anyone holding office in the church is expected to uphold it,” according to a Christian Reformed website.

Struyk said his gay son, CNN producer Ryan Struyk, has helped him become a supporter of LGBTQ+ equality. Last Thursday, Dave Struyk walked out of the synod.

“On behalf of the pain that was caused to many in the LGBTQ community, including my son, and the message that was sent for so many people that they’re not welcome in the CRC, I will be leaving the synod in protest,” the minister said in video that was broadcast Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union by host Jake Tapper in observance of Father’s Day.

Dave Struyk is “a father who did something really, really hard to stand up for his son,” Tapper said.

Ryan Struyk, who had been a faithful member of the church for years, posted on Facebook that he “cried the whole Uber ride home” after delegates voted to uphold the teaching. “I hope the delegates who go home tonight to their spouses pause for a moment about their decision that precludes me — by no choice of my own — from going home to mine,” he continued.

“To the white straight men crying at Synod about how hard it is to kick me out: You know NOTHING about the pain you have caused. How can you turn the attention back on yourselves when you have inflicted so much unnecessary pain on others?! Have you ever considered what it means to be gay?! I condemn your decisions now, and history will condemn them in the future. And I hope you are much, much kinder to your own LGBTQ children in your own families than you were to me. I may no longer be in your denomination, but when they come out, I will still be willing to talk with you about how to navigate those conversations.”

Dave Struyk toldThe Banner, a Christian Reformed publication, that his son’s Facebook post inspired him to speak up and walk out. “I’m not doing this for attention,” he added. “What’s hard is the sense that a group at synod wasn’t really open to deliberation and, unfortunately, they had the majority. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. Nobody from the LGBTQ community has had the opportunity to express their reaction to what Synod decided.”

After the State of the Union segment ran, Ryan Struyk posted how much he appreciated his father. “This Father’s Day, I'm so thankful for a dad who loves me — and coworkers who love me too,” he wrote. “Thanks Jake Tapper and the whole CNN State of the Union team for making me feel so supported after a difficult week. Happy Father's Day, David. I love you.”

Pastor stands up for son after church excludes LGBTQ

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