Radio ministry drops pastor over same-sex wedding comments

Radio ministry drops pastor over same-sex wedding comments

Radio ministry drops pastor over same-sex wedding comments

After it learned of his controversial comments about homosexuality, American Family Radio is parting ways with well-known church pastor Alistair Begg and his daily radio program “Truth For Life.”

In a September podcast on his website, Begg discussed the issue of a Christian attending a same-sex wedding. The pastor said he was asked that question by a grandmother regarding her homosexual grandson. She was told by Begg if the homosexual couple knows of your commitment to Christ, and that you cannot approve of their union, then attend the wedding.


AFR is the radio ministry of American Family Association, where Vice President Ed Vitagliano announced the decision this week. 

“Pastor Begg's program will no longer air on American Family Radio,” he tells AFN. “He is an excellent Bible teacher. We certainly wish him the best.”

Begg, 71, a native of Scotland, is senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. His radio ministry is heard on approximately 1,800 radio outlets.

Before being dropped, "Truth for Life" ran in a 30-minute weekday morning slot on AFR. The radio ministry of AFA operates about 180 radio stations across the United States.  

In that time slot Wednesday morning, when AFR listeners would usually listen to Begg's program, AFA informed listeners about the decision in a live broadcast that included Vitagliano, AFA president Tim Wildmon, and AFA vice president Walker Wildmon. (Listen to the entire segment here)

In the live segment, the AFA president likened the unbiblical same-sex wedding to a father being asked by his son, an alcoholic, to drive him to a bar. 

"Son, I'm not driving you to the bar," Wildmon said. "If you go to the bar and you're an adult, that's your decision, but I'm not going to be a part of that."

Begg has preached about 'rebellion against God'

After belatedly learning of Begg's comments, Vitagliano and Walker Wildmon discussed the matter this week in a phone call with staff members representing Begg. After that conversation, AFA made the decision to drop the radio program. 

Regarding that phone call, Vitagliano tells AFN both ministries agree on the broader issue of homosexuality. 

"We were all in agreement that homosexual marriage is just as the Bible declares it, it's a faux marriage," the AFA vice president recalls. "It's not an actual marriage. It is a sinful union."

In 2022, reading from the Book of Romans, Begg himself preached a two-part series on homosexuality called "God Gave Them Up."  

"It is not an alternative lifestyle," Begg told listeners in part two of his sermon series. "It is an unnatural decision. It is an expression of rebellion against God." 

When it comes to attending the ceremony honoring two homosexuals, Vitagliano says AFA strongly disagrees with the pastor who, according to his staff, sees the issue as one of individual conscience. Some Christian believers, for example, would not watch an R-rated film but others will. 

"This is a critical issue in the body of Christ right now," Vitagliano tells AFN. "And this is not only the wrong counsel, but it is deeply disturbing for Christians who want to hold the line against the cultural impact of the LGBTQ agenda."

On the live broadcast, Vitagliano said he told Begg's staff he is also a pastor who has taught Jesus showed his approval for man-and-woman marriage in the Book of John, when he attended a wedding in Cana. 

"So the question is, if a Christian goes to a homosexual wedding, are they approving of it?" he said. "And our answer here is absolutely." 

Walker Wildmon said the goal of the phone call with Begg's staff was to find some "reconciliation" but it did not happen, he said. In an attempt to clarify the situation, he and Vitagliano "pressed the issue" with several questions until it was clear --- without any misunderstanding --- that Begg was standing by his comments from the September podcast.

"This isn't something that we saw coming," Wildmon told AFR listeners. "This isn't like some of the others, evangelical leaders, that have drifted. This is not one that was on the list."

The live broadcast also included AFA executive Wesley Wildmon and Christian apologist Alex McFarland. 

In light of debate over attending a same-sex wedding, AFA is directing Christians to a segment of the "In His Image" documentary about same-sex couples attending church. The 2021 documentary was produced by American Family Studios, a ministry of AFA.

Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates AFN.net.