Have you heard the recent news story from Tenneessee about the wife of a Church of Christ minister who gunned him down then fled the state with their three daughters? Yeah it is a made for TV movie sort of news event that gets the media all sexed up. Mary Winkler was captured over the weekend and pled no contest to the crime. The funeral is today.
Although no one has yet publically shared a motive for the murder of Matthew Winkler, today reports come out that the parents of the slain pastor assure their forgiveness for their son’s kller. According to the Jackson Sun,
Though they don’t understand what reason Mary Winkler would have had for killing their son, her in-laws have “assured her of their forgiveness,” a longtime family friend said Monday.
Wow, what a powerful display of Christian love and witness, and so quickly on the heels of the murder. It seems unnatural.
I guess God’s love is like that, and had we seen a similar expression of Christ’s teachings from President Bush towards the 911 terrorists, I imagine we would have impeached him on the spot.
This woman is no “terrorist”. She is the beloved wife and mother of a respected and popular minister of a particularly conservative Christian denomination which believes that musical instruments have no place in the church, that adults must be baptised in Jesus’ name and that basically anyone not part of their church is technically unsaved.
The church is also decidedly anti-gay. Several Love in Action participants (and subsequent survivors) I met in the Tennessee-based program, attended and ministered in the Chruches of Christ, and from the reaction they got to their queerness, I imagine that for some, it would be easier to forgive a murdering wife of a gay man than to embrace a minister in their midst who happens to be gay.
Now I am not saying that Matthew Winkler was gay. Nothing in the news reports indicates this as of yet. I’m just saying that there is something queer about this story. Keep your eye on it and see how it unfolds. While many American stories have to do with race, so many American church stories (particularly white church stories) have to do with queer issues these days.
Although, according to one news report, authorities have ruled out infidelity as a motive, a husband with same-sex attractions can be a completely different animal, one that family and friends might fight to keep in the closet.