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“Daphne’s” Mom Refuses To Bend

Jim Burroway

February 7th, 2011

Remember the mom who let her five-year-old son dress as the Scooby-Doo character Daphne for Halloween? The mother, identified only as “Sarah”, got a lot of flack over it from other moms at her son’s school. That was three months ago and the controversy still hasn’t died down. This time it’s Sarah’s church getting into the act, accusing her of “libel and slander” — even though Sarah only named the other moms as mother’s A, B, and C.  ABC News has this update:

(On January 26), Sarah said she was called in for another meeting, in which the pastor told her she needed to apologize to the mothers whose comments she had mentioned in “My Son Is Gay.” She said the pastor also accused Sarah of “libel and slander, and told her that she “had taken offense [from the women] where none was intended.”

The pastor offered Sarah four steps to restore her relationships with the mothers, including writing an apology, taking down the blog post and perhaps taking down the entire blog. “I was told not to take Communion and that I may have my membership revoked if I didn’t reconcile,” Sarah said.

After Sarah complained to church elders, her pastor called back and said that he would reconsider the withholding of communion. Sarah, who says she has no idea whether her son will grow up to be gay or not (I mean, really, all of this over a Halloween costume!), responded to her church on Monday:

I cannot tell you the betrayal I feel.  The church, or at the very least Pastor is trying to bully me into shutting up, and I find that so disheartening. I am floored by the fact that they’ve gone to so much trouble regarding a post that discusses love and tolerance that was posted 3 months ago.  I am shocked that they do not see the hypocrisy of what they are saying to me. I am in complete disbelief that this has been handled in the way it has. I have never felt less welcome in a church.

This is not the church that I grew up in. This is not the God that I know.

And again I say to you that bullying is not okay, even if you wrap it in a bow and call it ‘spiritual care.’



February 7th, 2011 | LINK

It amazes me that people stay in churches that treat them so miserably. Why stay?

February 7th, 2011 | LINK

Congratulations to her! Libel and slander here is completely ridiculous! She is permitted to quote others in her blog (as far as I know), and she did not use these women’s names. Regardless of whether or not offense is intended, clearly she was upset by their comments and they are the ones who need to apologize. As has been discussed in other forums: causing offense is like stepping on someone’s toes. You might not have meant to do it, but if you do, apologize and move on. Don’t stand around and dicker about how you didn’t mean to, or how it can’t have hurt THAT bad! It floors me how people who have wronged others seem to think that it is the other person’s problem if they’re upset. And the fact that the church intervened here and told her that she had to kiss and make up, when the other women clearly upset her by saying rude things about her CHILD? Unacceptable.

February 7th, 2011 | LINK

It it awesome that in her fight against bullying she is now being bullied. Those women and that church need to take some time looking at themselves instead of blaming others.

Tony P
February 7th, 2011 | LINK

Good for Sarah! Fight, fight, fight!

February 7th, 2011 | LINK

It’s crazy. What an un-Christlike church.

Rob San Diego
February 7th, 2011 | LINK

I wasn’t aware that pastors can call us into their offices like they are some principal at a school and we are to obey what they say.

I agree with Kathy, the thought that most people are still associating with church’s amazes me. What, they just can’t stay at home and read the bible? Do they really have to go somewhere and be told what to say, what to do, what to think.

It seems to me that the only time we are welcome in the church is when are wallets are open to them.

February 7th, 2011 | LINK

You tell ’em! And go for communion. Make him refuse you in the open.

February 7th, 2011 | LINK

What I don’t understand is why she is staying at this school anyway?

If they are going to harass her like that, why would she stay? Is it that good?

February 8th, 2011 | LINK

The mother says that the church brought up Mathew 18 against her. I’ve heard that chapter brought up far too often when a Christian organization/church etc. doesn’t like when bad publicity comes out about them. They harp on about the need to, when in a conflict, to approach the brother in question, then bring about along a few witnesses, and then bring it up to the rest of a church.

That’s all well and good when dealing with 1-1 conflicts that have a good chance to be solved. But this was different. And the mother didn’t single out these mothers. If anyone knows who those mothers are, ABC probably have themselves to blame.

February 8th, 2011 | LINK

My work with the Christian Church is done here.


February 8th, 2011 | LINK

I’ve always heard the End Times prophecy type Christians talking about how in the End Times, Christians will be persecuted and the rest of the people will think it is the moral thing to do.

Well, when there is so much bad behavior on the part of Christians, and the Christians work so hard to try and deprive others of their liberty and rights or bully them over things like a little kid’s halloween costume…WHAT ELSE CAN THEY EXPECT? Like I learned in science class (At Christian schools) and from my mom…every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

There will come a time when the word “Christian” will be a dirty word and the Christians will have no one but themselves to blame for this.

Cocoa Vann
February 8th, 2011 | LINK

She should visit her local Unitarian church. I bet she will find that the congregation there will love her and her son, not in spite of who they are, but because of it

February 8th, 2011 | LINK

Mama Sarah, if you’re not COMPLETELY fed up with Christianity by now (and why wouldn’t you be?) you should see if you have a local United Church of Christ. You and your son will be loved and accepted just as you are there. I should know, I got fed up with Christianity and left the faith over a year ago. When I told the congregation of my UCC, where I am Moderator (lay leader) they said “COOL, you’re still gonna be Moderator aren’t you?” I’m still a member and I’m still Moderator. Our church is made up of Gs and Ls and Bs and Ts and Blacks and Whites and Asians and Hispanics and Mixed Race and Christians and Jews and Pagans and Buddhists and Atheists and Agnostics and Liberals and Conservatives (I think we have one or two) and Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!

The UCC is the ONLY reason that I have ANYTHING to do with the Christian faith. They seem to be the only Church, on a nation-wide basis, that even remotely resembles the Christ/Buddha and his teachings.

Things that most progressive churches are “struggling” with today the UCC dealt with DECADES ago. Even support for marriage equality. The UCC passed support for that last decade.

Emelye Waldherr
February 8th, 2011 | LINK

Hell has no fury like a cis gender police action.

February 8th, 2011 | LINK

I hope they do sue her for libel or slander. Well actually I don’t want her to have to deal with it, but it’ll be entertaining to watch them get their asses handed to them.

In order to win a libel case, you have to prove that lies or misrepresentations caused injury to a person’s reputation, and (and this is a big “and”) the impact of that harm to the victim’s reputation has made him/her lose money.

So right now, Mrs. A, Mrs. B, and Mrs. C are protected by their anonymity. But by suing, they’ll have to reveal their identity in the public record. Doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do when you’re trying to protect your reputation, now, does it?

I’m glad Sarah is standing up to her bully priest, and I hope she welcomes any legal action brought against her.

February 8th, 2011 | LINK

A brief primer on libel and slander:

1.) In the U.S, if something is true, it is not and cannot be libel or slander. Period. The very first criterion for something to be libel/slander is that it must be a deliberate lie.

2.) Yes, even if you thought it was really mean of somebody to repeat it and make you look bad to a lot of people.

3.) Yes, even if lots and lots of people–more than you thought would ever, ever hear about it–not only heard about what you said, but disagreed with you.

4.) Yes, even if some of those people you never thought would hear about it called you dumbasses for your ignorant, small minded bullying attempts. Dumbasses.

February 9th, 2011 | LINK

This makes me so sad. I am a lesbian and grew up in the church. I enjoyed it and thought God loved me. Until I told my youth pastor that I thought I was gay. He promised he wouldn’t tell anyone but that night we conviently had a sermon by another pastor about how homosexuals will not make it to Heaven. Friends found out and distanced themselves away and I later found out that people I considered family would sit around and talk about me and my path to Hell. Unfortunately this is a common occurence within the gay community. We face more hurt and prejudice from the church than any other group out there. They cause more damage than they will ever realize. I no longer believe in the church. I no longer believe God loves me or has a place for me. It’s hard to believe he does when his “children” tell me I’m not good enough or loved enough to make it in. I’m sorry they have betrayed you and have hurt you. Know that my community loves you and supports you whether or not your son is gay. You are a strong, beautiful example of what God was supposed to be. Accepting, open and loving. Thank you for telling your story and good luck.

Shana Segat
February 9th, 2011 | LINK

This is just beyond ridiculous. Sarah did nothing wrong. She doesn’t owe anyone an apology and if her church doesn’t accept her & her son, then it is time to move on to a better church. I feel so bad that she is having to deal with all of this for no other reason than being a great mother. Shame on those other mothers and shame on that pastor.

Shana Segat
Your Avon Lady

Bene D
February 10th, 2011 | LINK

ABC News did an interview with Sarah over her latest post.

She and her husband have decided it is the best interests of their son and his classmates if they find Boo another pre-school.

Good for them. Feet. Dust. Shake off.

Regan DuCasse
February 10th, 2011 | LINK

Every time I see this picture of her little boy. I just smile. It’s not just that he’s happy. He can make others happy as long as HE is.

He’s so CUTE. What’s not to love?!
Children can cross dress, get totally dirty with mud, eat bugs, spill and dance with no inhibitions and do any number of things that us adults are shy of, but children are too guileless to care, nor should they have to be.

That’s what children like this teach us. To LIGHTEN UP.
He’s demonstrating that he’s a sweet and interesting child.
He didn’t set a house on fire, he wore a fuschia pink skirt.

Moms A,B and C are making a federal case out of a little boy’s choice of Halloween costume he wore ONCE.

They don’t care about him, they just want to have their say. And say it again, even if it creates precisely the stupid irony they are threatening to litigate over.
Stupid is as stupid does.

Is there NO bottom to the victim mentality of people who don’t want to share the world with gay folks?

Timothy Kincaid
February 17th, 2011 | LINK


There will come a time when the word “Christian” will be a dirty word and the Christians will have no one but themselves to blame for this.

I’d say that they are more than halfway there.

There was a time when “that’s real Christian of you” meant that you’d done an act of kindness. Or when “well, she’s a Christian woman” meant that she was forgiving even when it wasn’t called for.

When is the last time you heard the adjective “Christian” used to describe someone selfless or generous or – frankly – anything other than self-righteous and hateful?

I’ve found that I now rarely describe myself as “Christian” anymore without having to add a disclaimer about what I mean by the term.

Timothy Kincaid
February 17th, 2011 | LINK

As for her pastor… well this adds new meaning to the term “bully pulpit”

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