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Fired Gay Choir Leader Gets New Job

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Fired Gay Choir Leader Gets New Job

by The Associated Press

June 2, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Kansas City, Kansas) Joe Nadeau may have participated in his last Mass as music director of St. Agnes Catholic Church, but 36-year-old conductor is looking forward to a more welcoming post.

Nadeau, whose contract wasn't renewed when he refused to pledge celibacy, proclaim homosexuality a disorder and quit conducting a gay men's chorus, has been hired as the music director of First Lutheran Church in Mission Hills, Kan., a Kansas City suburb.

"Joe was the first and the only candidate,” said the Rev. Keith Hohly of First Lutheran. "Everybody was very excited about him being a part of our staff.”

Several First Lutheran members are in the Heartland Men's Chorus, which Nadeau came to Kansas City in 1998 to lead. Nadeau then began working on the side as music director at St. Agnes, in the suburb of Roeland Park, Kan.

Under his direction, the music program grew to include two children's choirs, youth and contemporary ensembles, and a Spanish-language musical liturgy. And as long as Nadeau kept his two jobs separate, former Kansas City Archbishop James Keleher told him, there was no problem with his directing of a gay chorus.

But in 2003, a group of conservative parishioners began campaigning against Nadeau, and they gained the support of Monsignor Gary Applegate and the church's new leadership.

"I never told anyone about my sexual orientation at St. Agnes. It was all assumed, based on my role with the men's chorus,” Nadeau said. "Nor did I ever once, in all my years there, challenge the teachings of the church.”

The Roman Catholic Church views homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered” and in November held that priests who support "so-called gay culture” can't be ordained. While Vatican teachings also instruct that gays and lesbians should be treated with compassion, church employees are expected to live according to Catholic doctrine.

While the Archdiocese of Kansas City has refused to discuss personnel, Nadeau's contract was allowed to expire.

"The reason for me being (in Kansas City) was the men's chorus,” he said. "It combines many areas of my life into one outlet, the gay aspect of it and the music-making side of it. And the combination is very powerful.”

Nadeau said he will miss the Catholic liturgy, but he is looking forward to working at First Lutheran Church. The congregation has adopted a "welcome policy” that includes gays and lesbians.

"There's a lot of talent in the gay and lesbian community

©365Gay.com 2006

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