Clementi Family Leaves Ridgewood Church Preaching Homosexuality a Sin

In a New York Times article, the family of Tyler Clementi say they've left Grace Church in Ridgewood, discuss how they too had to "come out of the closet" in the wake of their gay son's suicide.

The family of Tyler Clementi are no longer members of Grace Church in Ridgewood, an evangelical church that preaches homosexuality is a sin, according to a Saturday article in The New York Times.

A gifted but quiet musician, Tyler Clementi told his parents two days before leaving for Rutgers University in 2010 that he was gay. Weeks later, authorities after he jumped from the George Washington Bridge.

According to reports, Clementi wrote to friends that his father was accepting of his declaration but his mother, Jane, .

In the Saturday Times article, Jane Clementi says her views on homosexuality have changed tremendously since the highly publicized suicide of her youngest son in late September, 2010.

“People talk about coming out of the closet — it’s parents coming out of the closet, too,” she told the paper. “I wasn’t really ready for that.”

Jane Clementi said she believed homosexuality was a sin at the time Tyler told her he was gay, as did other congregants of Grace, according to the article.

The family has said they have since left in Ridgewood over the leadership's belief homosexuality was a sin.

The family previously reported the church community had been emotionally supportive during their grieving, but did not waiver in their beliefs as to same sex relationships.

Tyler's college roommate, Dharun Ravi,  including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. Ravi publicized Clementi's intimate encounters with a man known in court documents as "M.B."

Ravi served 20 days out of a 30-day sentence but the family has also criticized other students for staying silent during the humiliating series of events. 

, Tyler's brother who is also gay, has said that his brother's suicide was set off by Ravi's actions, though other pain may have been beneath the surface.

The Clementi family have been in honor of Tyler, an organization that pledges to help gay teens find acceptance while reducing bullying as well as suicide.

Kathryn August 25, 2012 at 03:36 PM
That's pretty harsh RdgwdGRock. Jane Clementi will suffer for the rest of her life knowing she is as guilty as Dharun Ravi. I hope this sends a message to the evangelical community. How could anyone believe that homosexuality is a sin. This kind of narrow-mindedness is appalling and dangerous.
RdgwdGRock August 25, 2012 at 03:57 PM
not harsh, just an honest opinion. yes, she will suffer due to HER actions. perhaps if she had supported her son and he felt good as he left for college, then Ravi's prank might have been handled better by Tyler. we will never know. what we know now that that the Clementi family was disingenuous of their harsh comments before/during the Ravi trial.
Mary August 25, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Oh! how quick some are to judge........ the loss of a child must be the worst pain of all. Why must some add to this pain? You are asking one person to extend love & compassion when you refuse to do it yourself. I am sure it was a very confusing time for both Tyler & his parents when he decided to reveal his homosexuality.
TSDK August 25, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I'm glad they left the church. More people should leave churches all over the place for that reason and maybe the church will stop that ridiculous, hateful teaching. Since it's a money-making business, if the patrons aren't there and money isn't coming in, that's the only way to get them to change their tune.
Craig Hueneke August 25, 2012 at 08:00 PM
A bold move. And you have to respect that. God Bless Them!
Wally Van Riper August 25, 2012 at 09:18 PM
I have no problem with homosexuality until they try to shove it down my throat.
Thomas August 25, 2012 at 09:22 PM
While walking my dog, I used to see Tyler (not knowing him but figured it out after his photo was published) walking to Grace Church on Sunday mornings carrying his violin. He always looked alone. I have to agree somewhat with with RdgwdGRock. How can any mother be so influenced by religion to reject their own child? Unfortunately, this is more common that one knows. I read where they have another son who is gay and allegedly she has referred to him as being crazy. My guess is they had to leave the church because of the foundation they started, you know to put on a good face. Sadly, I just don't trust them.
Wally Van Riper August 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM
If you're going to belong to a religion you can't pick and choose which of their teachings you want to believe in and obey. It's all or nothing.
S. Miller August 25, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin...but we all sin...every day. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. I was always taught to hate the sin but love the sinner. I would hope most churches teaches this too...mine does.
Baba Booey August 25, 2012 at 10:44 PM
cafeteria christian, you ever heard of it? They pick and choose.
Barbour, Dannie August 25, 2012 at 10:54 PM
It's hard to come out and the whole family needs time to adjust. I'm gay and I was lucky that my parents where kind in the way they talked with me about it. Some parents throw their kids out like they are no longer their child. He was not tossed out. They where dealing with it. He died because of evil actions of his roommate at a hard time in his life. I don't think a church that teachs hate of anyone is OK. I think truely good people need to stop saying hate is OK anywhere and leave those places to show it's not OK. I don't expect the world to like me but I don't except its hate either.
RdgwdGRock August 26, 2012 at 12:15 AM
a very cogent, concise and heartful post
JAFO August 26, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, provided they come from nations surrounding me. Does this mean Canada and Mexico?
Patrick Allin August 26, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Everyone has two means of support, their friends and their family. It is clear now that Tyler did not have support from his friends. His family, which must be there to lend support when everyone else is gone, failed him. From the trial, it is clear that Tyler's view that his mom had rejected him had a terrible impact on him. Jane could not have intended this. Hopefully, her sharing this will be a wake up call for other parents who are drunk on religion or other subjective views and fail to properly recognize their children's needs. I doubt that Grace Church teaches hatred of others. However, their influence on the Clementi family and many other families only harms the community. Their blind following of interpretations of biblical scripture has contributed to real harm. Grace Church is by no means the only church propagating these beliefs. Change will only come when the ludacris and ignorent rational behind these beliefs is dispelled. The bible can teach great things, but it is also contains wacky midevil teachings (such as, a man can only marry a virgin woman, found in Duteronomy 22), and everyone needs to quickly realize that we as a society are better than this before more harm is done.
RidgewoodResident August 26, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Rejecting someone is not a criminal charge... Invasion of privacy, harassment/intimidation, tampering with witnesses, and obstructing justice are...
RidgewoodResident August 26, 2012 at 04:02 PM
What, so you've like been asked to turn gay before?
RidgewoodResident August 26, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Can't wear any mixed fiber clothing! Gotta stone those disobedient children to death!
Wally Van Riper August 26, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I'm referring to the more strident among the gay community. They are very hypocritical. They keep saying that "being gay shouldn't matter". But, when they want to march in the St Patrick's Day parade they want to carry a banner proclaiming their "gayness". Well, which is it? It doesn't matter or it does? What are YOU talking about, by the way?
Melvin Freedenberg August 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM
When the tax code is redone, I think one of the first adjustments to consider is the taxing of religious organizations. IMO each and every religion has tenets that forego equality in one way or the other and most haul in loads of cash that go for things like building edifices, legal issues where someone has been abused, or stuffing the pockets of the ordained. And we want to hang the guilty on Wall Street. IMO, religions are no different except that every day a whole lot of people, worldwide, get slaughtered in the name of the Lord. Beware of religious zealots for they do not have the interest of their fellow man, woman, or child in their hearts. Human Nature 10.1 and Self Righteous 10.2.
Anne LaGrange Loving August 26, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I wish people would leave Jane Clementi alone. What parent hasn't expressed some distress about a beloved child's actions~decisions~opinions? Poor Jane did not have a chance to make it right with her Tyler, and therein lies the biggest heartbreak for her. We all think there is going to be more time. We live with the illusion that there will always be another day, guaranteed. If only she had been granted a little more time, she and Tyler would have been fine. She deserves compassion and support, not finger-pointing and nasty comments. The whole family could use the unwavering support of our community. I have never met them, but they will always have my prayers.
Matt August 27, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Tyler's sexual orientation wasn't an action, decision, or opinion. I don't think I'd have much of an issue with the mother if it wasn't for her family blaming Ravi for the son's death in the media and impact statements. If they really accept some of the blame for Tyler's mental state, why have they consistently blamed Ravi?
RdgwdGRock August 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM
the Clementi's were constantly trying toe demonize Ravi. They have as much, if not more guilt as Ravi. It seems that the Clementi's still have their heads in the proverbial sand, by being surprised that a church would preach against gays.
Brian August 27, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Right, if the family had not actively sought to have Ravi imprisoned for many years this would just be a tragedy. If they had not carried on about a miscarriage of justice after the sentencing it would be different. But they sought to blame Ravi and to ruin his life as part of their grief. Instead of facing the reality that their reaction to his sexual orientation was a major factor in the outcome of this tragedy they compounded it with vengeance.
Think about it August 27, 2012 at 08:58 PM
They shove their homosexuality down your throat. Classic. You might wanna re-phrase that. I doubt if you think that any of the other particular Irish groups that march in the parade, with their banners touting their own group, are also "shoving their pride in their own group down your throat." Evidently, you have "no problem" with homosexuality, so long as you can continue to make believe that hardly anybody is gay. Your comment is like some guy saying that he has no problem with the Dutch, unless they "shove it down his throat" by using last names that starts with "Van". According to that guy, the "solution" to this "problem" is for all Dutch people to "just" change their last names to Smith (and to stop wearing those wooden shoes). That way, that guy would not have to resent Dutch people, just for being Dutch, because he would just never know that they were Dutch -- as if there was something wrong with that. Face it, Wally, you do indeed still "have a problem" with homosexuality. You can either work on your own ability to respect gay people as they are, or continue to make believe that they haven't been all around you, for all of your life. I am straight, and, like most folks over 50, I used to think like you. I realized that I was wrong. Most others in our society are also changing their former wrongful views. It's a matter of time until your comments (and my former attitudes) are universally seen to be as ignorant and ugly as they are.
Think about it August 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Sez who? Is there a statute or regulation against thinking for yourself? Do people go to jail or get sued for thinking for themselves? Not in these United States of America. People join groups because they have views in common. Of course, that does not mean that everybody in the group agrees with everything in the group's "platform". It's called individuality. It is healthy. The only alternative is to be a robot, and go along with the group in every regard, and pretend that it is not wrong. Think Nazi Germany. A moral and responsible group member objects to aspects of the group's platform that are wrong. An immoral and irresponsible group member keeps his mouth shut, and tries to pretend that his or her silence is not immoral and irresponsible.
Erika Frank August 30, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Reading the comments following this article disturbs me. Have we lost all sensitivity towards others? When someone loses a child, no matter what the circumstances, I think that compassion and understanding should not be difficult to muster up. As we send our children to school this September, remember that even though we live in an aggressive society, it is up to us, individually, to check ourselves and how we treat others. To this I add the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP4clbHc4Xg
Mary September 01, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I love how "Christian" people are all about judgement and excluding people because of their orientation...REALLY? I thought Jesus loves everyone....I guess only straight people.
D September 03, 2012 at 01:10 PM
How many of you actually read the Bible... God's word is the same yesterday, today and forever more.... if you believe in His word you know the truth and your thoughts don't matter! READ YOUR BIBLE!
Ridgewood Mom September 03, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I always thought it was the job of clergy to serve communities. Not so much the other way around. Some individuals may have greater influence in communities then others, but individuals are themselves shaped by their communities. Not to let anyone in particular off the hook, but I think that there is plenty of blame to go around. The Clementi family were part of the Grace community and both were part of the community of Ridgewood. Self reflection is in order for all of us. And given the broader controversy of the Clementi tragedy, for greater society as well.
Erika Frank September 08, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Let's also remember that the original Bible no longer exists except for a few documents. The original Bible was heavily edited by man, many interested in power. Your beliefs don't make you a better person--your behavior does.


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