A United Methodist Church leader who helped raise funds to pay the legal costs for the father of Elian Gonzalez spokes in Ames last night. Dr. Thom Fassett is the General Secretary of the general board of the church. Fassett supports the court ruling giving authority of Elian to his father. He says the decision is appropriate and will be key to many other cases.Fassett had face-to-face meetings with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro on the issue. He says Castro was wary of the whether the U-S would actually give Elian’s father a fair legal chance.Fassett says the issue won’t be decided until all appeals are exhausted and Gonzalez’s father takes the boy home. On another issue, Fassett says church leaders need to sit down and talk with those parishioners who don’t agree with the church leadership.A group in Iowa says the leadership is out-of-touch with parishioners on several issues, including homosexual rights. Fassett says they don’t need to seek an acceptance of each others point of view — they need to find a way to live with those points of view knowing that there is room in the church for varying perspectives. He says gay/lesbian issues are a key concern in churches all across the country. He says some people believe the Church’s stand supporting equal rights for homosexuals encourages homosexuality. Fassett says that’s not the case. Fassett spoke at the Iowa United Methodist Church’s annual conference.
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