A Houston woman was volunteering at a church following Hurricane Harvey and she claims that she was let go by the pastor because she is a Jewish lesbian.
Carmen Hix saw the devastation the storm wrought first hand and wanted to do something to help. That’s when the 64-year-old Navy combat veteran heard that a nondenominational church called Calvary Houston needed volunteers.
She spent 3 days volunteering at the church’s food bank. Each day the group would pray and she bowed her head out of respect for the group. At the end of the prayer, she would quietly say “Shalom,” a Hebrew word meaning “peace be with you.”
Then a volunteer asked her about her life and she said she was Jewish and had two children with her partner of 20 years.
Then on Friday, September 8, the Pastor, Ron Hindt and a volunteer supervisor asked to speak with her alone.
“I thought they wanted to talk to me about further volunteer efforts,” Hix said. “I was so unprepared for the conversation that ensued.”
Hix was asked why she said Shalom at the end of the prayers. She answered that she was Jewish and that was when she was asked to leave for not sharing the church’s beliefs.
“I asked, ‘So if I were a liar with an evil heart, and I told you what you want to hear, that I am a Christian, I would be allowed to continue to contribute to those less fortunate than I?’ I was told, ‘Yes,’” Hix said.
A further conversation with the pastor revealed that they also hated the fact she was a lesbian. Once confirming that she was in a partnership with another woman, Hindt called her a sinner and invited her to attend service with her partner. She left angry.
Hix took to Facebook to share what happened and that led to Hindt posting an apology that he later deleted.
He said, “Recently, a resident of the community volunteered to serve with us and we wholeheartedly accepted her assistance.
“Unfortunately, we’re saddened by an incident involving some miscommunication that took place off campus in an exchange between various community volunteers at the church’s food pantry.
“I met with the individual who was upset and apologized for the misunderstanding. (I apologize once again if you are reading this.) I invited her and her partner to sit with my wife and I in church this Sunday,” Hindt wrote. “For the last twenty-six years, our heart at Calvary Houston has been to reach out and share the love of Christ to all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. As demonstrated to our community for the last two weeks during the Disaster Relief effort on-site, this position has not changed.”
Hix was not impressed.
“He invited my partner and I to come to his church and the spirit of the lord would show me the evil of my ways and would change my heart to realize that my 20-year relationship with my wife was a sin,” she wrote. “Please let the Calvary church know how you feel about my being fired as a volunteer and my contributions of time and money to his food pantry.”
Since her trouble with the church, Hix has reported that she has found another church that will allow her to contribute her time to the community.
“Wanted to share great news!” she wrote. “Told them everything up front and I have been welcomed.”