A 64-year-old woman who volunteered to help Hurricane Harvey victims at a Houston-area church was allegedly “fired” after the pastor learned that she’s a Jewish lesbian.
Carmen Hix, a Navy combat veteran, says she sought out the volunteer position at a food pantry near her home run by Calvary Houston, a local nondenominational church, because she wanted to help Harvey victims and heard they were in need of assistance.
Hix says that she took a week off of work to help out, donated $500 worth of food to the pantry, and dutifully showed up for three days of volunteer work without incident. Then on Friday, September 9, Calvary Pastor Ron Hindt and a volunteer supervisor asked Hix if they could speak with her in private.
“I thought they wanted to talk to me about further volunteer efforts,” Hix told OutSmartMagazine “I was so unprepared for the conversation that ensued.”
Hix says she was asked why she said “Shalom” after the group of volunteers met for prayers every morning. When she responded that it was because she’s Jewish, Hindt asked her not to return to the food pantry since she didn’t share the church’s beliefs.
She left, but was so outraged by the time she got home that she decided to call the church and let them know how she felt.
“Pastor ’Ron’ asked if I would meet with him at Calvary,” Hix wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. She agreed, but when she showed up for their second meeting, instead of getting the apology she expected, Hindt began questioning her about her sexual orientation, saying there were “rumors” that she was a lesbian.
When Hix confirmed that she’d raised two children with her female partner of twenty years, she says Hindt told her, “We can’t let you represent our church, as being a lesbian is a sin.”
Hindt then proceeded to invite Hix and her partner to attend Calvary’s Sunday Service.
After Hix shared her rant on Facebook, Hindt posted an apology to the social media site that has since been deleted.
“Recently, a resident of the community volunteered to serve with us and we wholeheartedly accepted her assistance,” Hindt wrote. “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 reiterated, before stating that Calvary Houston aims to “share the love of Christ to all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.”
Hix wasn’t satisfied by the apology.
“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 in a response on Facebook.
At the end of the post, she added, “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.”