VERDICT: Methodist Pastor Has 30 Days To Renounce His Gay Children Or Be Defrocked

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On Monday, the United Methodist Church convicted Rev. Frank Schaefer on two counts against the Church for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding. On Tuesday, the impaneled jury determined his sentence: Schaefer is suspended for 30 days, and if it at the end of that time he has not renounced his support for marriage equality, he will be defrocked.

Schaefer, however, was unapologetic, refusing the invitation to “repent of your actions”:

SCHAEFER: [The Church] needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation. We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians. [...]

I will never be silent again. This is what I have to do. [...]

I have to minister to those who hurt and that’s what I’m doing.

Three of Schaefer’s four children identify as gay.

Written By: Zack Ford
continue to source article at thinkprogress.org

33 COMMENTS

  1. Religion will put itself to the sword over such social issues as marriage equality. The horse has bolted, the dam is breached – homophobia is unacceptable by younger generations, and religion has its head in the sand.

    Dogma first; empathy a distant second.

  2. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    ~ Matthew 10:35:

    The church, for once, is following its own teaching, trying to break up this family. A pox on them.

    The minister probably should find a new denomination, and bring as many of his flock with him as he can. I would imagine even many people opposed to same sex marriage would be sympathetic to him.

  3. @ link from link – ; SPRING CITY, Pa. (AP) – A United Methodist minister convicted under church law of officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding was suspended for 30 days on Tuesday but remained defiant, saying he refuses to change his views, even if it means permanently losing his credentials.

    The same jury of fellow pastors that convicted Rev. Frank Schaefer on Monday of breaking his vows also told him he must surrender his credentials if he can’t reconcile his new calling to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community with the laws from the church’s Book of Discipline.

    Do any US posters know the relevant state law on this.

    I think I am right in saying that discrimination on grounds of gender is illegal in the UK, so unless there is some “faith” exemption, a minister in a similar position would be able to sue for reinstatement or compensation under employment law.

    • In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

      Do any US posters know the relevant state law on this.

      The US constitution gives its citizens freedom of association. A private organization is free to allow or disallow any members it chooses on any basis it so chooses.

      • In reply to #8 by Narcissistic_Martyr:

        The US constitution gives its citizens freedom of association. A private organization is free to allow or disallow any members it chooses on any basis it so chooses.

        That is for members. Does the same apply to employees? Most countries have employment laws.
        I would also expect states to have laws or regulations on the conduct and registration of weddings.

      • In reply to #8 by Narcissistic_Martyr:

        In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

        Do any US posters know the relevant state law on this.

        The US constitution gives its citizens freedom of association. A private organization is free to allow or disallow any members it chooses on any basis it so chooses.

        One more reason why churches need to lose their tax-exempt status. A “private” organization should be supported by its members, and not receive support from taxes paid by the general public.

        • In reply to #31 by ShesTheBeth:

          One more reason why churches need to lose their tax-exempt status. A “private” organization should be supported by its members, and not receive support from taxes paid by the general public.

          I was thinking about this question in relation to the bishop in Illinois who performed an exorcism on the state due to gay marriage. I know the line between churches taking political stands is kind of fuzzy but clearly that crossed the line I would think. But I don’t know the law so maybe not, curious if anyone knows US law well enough to say. But my guess is that even though in terms of the letter of the law what that bishop did could cause revocation of their tax exempt status no attorney general would dare take the case for fear of the inevitable backlash not just from religious people but from the corporate press who would have a field day.

  4. Renounce your children that you have given birth to and raised and are definitely here (not an abstraction) OR get kicked out of the pretend friend club….. HHHHMMMMMMMMM….

    What really really hits home is that anyone anywhere at any time would consider the pretend friend club as a viable choice in this. That really hits home with me as demonstrating just how different human beings are from one another.

    And, since such clear diversity is demonstrable, I have a really hard time with anyone who thinks they know better for how SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD LIVE.

    That is why the Methodist religion is a bag of shit and their stance on this SHOULD be a self cleaning oven.

    • In reply to #4 by crookedshoes:

      Renounce your children that you have given birth to and raised and are definitely here (not an abstraction) OR get kicked out of the pretend friend club….

      Well, to be fair, God asked Abraham to kill his own son, and Abe was up for it.

      Then several episodes later God killed his own son.

      Allegedly.

      • So, there is PRECEDENT!!!! Your post was great!

        In reply to #15 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #4 by crookedshoes:

        Renounce your children that you have given birth to and raised and are definitely here (not an abstraction) OR get kicked out of the pretend friend club….

        Well, to be fair, God asked Abraham to kill his own son, and Abe was up for it.

        Then several episodes later…

  5. I wasn’t so nice in an email to the pastor of the Methodist church I grew up in just now. I wonder if he’ll mention it to my dad, who is on the board? I’ve never dropped the F-bomb on a pastor before. It’s energizing!

  6. He sounds like a thoroughly decent guy, but Christianity is alas bound by over a dozen references to homosexuality, none favourable, and not restricted by any means to the Old Testament.

    Kudos, at least in small measure, to the church for sticking to its teachings.

    The reality is if you are gay, or support gay rights, you cannot also be a Christian.

  7. The JWs are required to disfellowship (ostracise) members of their family or J.W. strangers who don’t swallow the party line 100%. If they refuse, then they too are disfellowshipped. IIRC Mormons do the same thing.

    On the other hand, I have heard J.W.s can withdraw from participation. Nothing too terrible happens to them. They are still considered fully active. They can restart association at any time. Challenging the dogma is the unforgivable sin.

    Rejecting Islam after having a thorough look at it is a capital crime. I committed this crime, but nothing bad happened to me. I did this in Canada, not Saudi Arabia. I presume there would also be an implied ostracism penalty.

  8. Perhaps we may see a reform in the churches? If everyone started thinking like him, and not taking every word in the Bible at face value, perhaps there would be more peace between all religions as well? There’s hope.

  9. In reply to #14 by Stevehill:

    He sounds like a thoroughly decent guy, but Christianity is alas bound by over a dozen references to homosexuality, none favourable, and not restricted by any means to the Old Testament.

    Kudos, at least in small measure, to the church for sticking to its teachings.

    The reality is if you are gay, o…

    Your view of ‘reality’ is rather skewed then.

    Also I checked your link to the skeptics annotated bible.
    Luke 17:34 has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality.

    If you want a better Bible commentary then may I recommend the New Jerome. It’s a bit heavy at nearly 1500 pages of small print and big words but it does have a nice pull out maps of Palestine both in Old and New Testament times, a plan of Solomon’s Temple and an interesting chapter on the Synoptic problem.

    • In reply to #18 by Lancshoop:

      Maybe, but you’re going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to get past St Paul (in say Romans 1) saying gays “deserve death”.

      I’m not saying it can’t be done. Christianity has made a lot of accommodations with old laws over the years, and no longer stones adulterers, burns heretics, sells children into slavery etc.

      But the bigot tendency is still in the ascendancy on this one.

      • In reply to #19 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #18 by Lancshoop:

        Maybe, but you’re going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to get past St Paul (in say Romans 1) saying gays “deserve death”.

        I’m not saying it can’t be done. Christianity has made a lot of accommodations with old laws over the years, and no longer stones adulter…

        My issue was with your blanket assertion that The reality is if you are gay, or support gay rights, you cannot also be a Christian
        based on some extracts from the bible interpreted by a satirical website which has as much intellectual value as doing a similar website called The ‘skeptics annotated Enid Blyton’.

        As for Romans I, some things were what they were and now are what they are. It’s not a question of jumping through hoops or accommodation. Speeding is still a motoring offence but I have dispensed with the bloke walking in front of my car waving a flag.

  10. They might reasonably ask him to refrain from gay sex.
    They might reasonably ask him to refrain from performing same-sex marriages.

    But the church is asking him to disown his children. This is not even a biblical teaching.

    • In reply to #24 by Roedy:

      They might reasonably ask him to refrain from gay sex.
      They might reasonably ask him to refrain from performing same-sex marriages.

      But the church is asking him to disown his children. This is not even a biblical teaching.

      Biblical would be demanding he stone them to death.

  11. I will never understand why Christianity continues to deceive, with its message of love, caring, empathy and understanding, when on the whole it is absolutely no different to how the god of the Old Testament conducted itself.

    Ah, but wait, there’s the New Testament, a new covenant, introducing Jesus, the new god who was supposed to change everything, but in fact he changed nothing. He was still as nasty as his ‘father” and Christianity is still as nasty as all the Abrahamic religions have always been.

  12. Why are Methodists so scared of gay relationships? Simply because they cannot comprehend people of the same sex being in love and think that their book of fables tells them to persecute.

  13. The real test of a “loving” friendly church is whether or not they will allow gay marriages. UMC is not among them. Any Christian who supports gay marriage should should consider attending a church that allows such marriages – Unitarian, United Church of Christ, Unity, and a few other stragglers. I think this minister needs to ditch a religion that ditched him and find a new denomination. The trouble is that very few traditional Christian churches fully accept homosexuality.

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