Frank Schaefer | Gay Marriage | Methodist Church | News

Pro-Gay Methodist Pastor Steps Up Defiance of Church in Face of Defrocking Threat: VIDEO


Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer was suspended for 30 days yesterday for officiating at his gay son's wedding in 2007, and given an ultimatum according to the AP: "surrender his credentials in a month if he can’t bring himself to adhere to the laws of the church’s Book of Discipline."

Schaefer has no intention of doing so, he says:

“I feel I have to be an advocate, an outspoken advocate for all lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people."

Adds the AP:

Rather than beg for mercy, the pastor upped the stakes.

The church “needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation,” he told jurors. “We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians.”

After the jury pronounced its sentence, Schaefer’s supporters began overturning chairs in the courtroom — symbolizing the biblical story of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers — and held an impromptu communion service.

Schaefer says he'll continue to marry gay and lesbian couples if asked.

Watch Schaefer speak after his sentencing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. This guy has my support. How can I help him?

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 20, 2013 10:16:16 AM

  2. He will be defrocked, unless he repents of his stance, which is unlikely. He knew the doctrine of the UMC when he joined the church and became a minster. The Church's doctrine was clear. If he can't uphold and adhere to it, he can't be a minister in that Church.

    Posted by: Luke | Nov 20, 2013 10:39:16 AM

  3. I don't believe in his god, but I believe in this man!

    Posted by: Gigi | Nov 20, 2013 10:40:03 AM

  4. Nothing tests your faith more than doing what's right in the face of staunch adversity. He will prevail and thrive just maybe not in the church he thought he joined and could trust to do what's right.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Nov 20, 2013 10:52:53 AM

  5. @ Luke - You're right, he will probably be defrocked. However, the church will never change if people do not take a stance for what is right.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Nov 20, 2013 10:53:15 AM

  6. The wedding occurred 6 years ago, and now they're finally making a stink about it? Pretty fast on the uptake there, Methodists.

    Of course, their reaction to this whole thing just demonstrates that they're even slower to change with the times.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Nov 20, 2013 11:15:10 AM

  7. Did anyone else notice a very slight accent? I wonder if he's from Germany.

    Posted by: woody | Nov 20, 2013 11:27:05 AM

  8. religion makes no sense when rules become more important than people.

    Posted by: m | Nov 20, 2013 11:33:31 AM

  9. Re Luke "if he can't uphold and adhere" ... If Christ had upheld and adhered the teachings of the priests there would be no Christianity. There are Methodists who disagree with the stance the church is taking on this matter and many who applaud this ministers defiance of outmoded church doctrine. Hopefully more Methodists will defy the church and hit them where it hurts-in the pocketbook.

    Posted by: rayJ | Nov 20, 2013 11:43:23 AM

  10. Rev Schaefer, the ELCA Lutherans and most of the Episcopal church would welcome you if you want to change teams. As I got taught, it's the same god(s), after all ....

    Posted by: JakeAZ | Nov 20, 2013 11:45:48 AM

  11. Woody, yes, he was raised in Germany.

    Furyoffirestorm, the complaint to the bishop was made years after the wedding was performed and just months before the statute of limitations ran out. Sadly, and in a very petty manner, the complaint was made by the son of the recently dismissed church choir director. So, it appears that, while Rev. Schaefer did in fact break the rules, he was ultimately brought to trial because of a personal vendetta.

    Posted by: Sam | Nov 20, 2013 11:48:37 AM

  12. Well met! It's neat - the united church was pretty-much formed because men (and women) like this man were tired of their original-church's stances, and reformed with others to create something Good and New. most of the people in the congregation i grew up in came to it from *other* religious backgrounds - as they grew and learned more the previous denomination no longer gave them anything resembling spiritual peace and fulfillment - just moral pause and concern.

    Kudos to this man for doing the right thing. may he inspire others.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Nov 20, 2013 12:01:17 PM

  13. @JAKEAZ, I don't believe that ELCA or the Episcopal Church have declared themselves to be supportive of FULL marriage equality from the national denominational level. ELCA didn't officially allow gay ministers nationally until a vote in 2009 that wasn't full put into practice until 2010. They didn't elect their first openly gay bishop until this year.

    On the other hand, the United Church of Christ (UCC), by a vote of their national Synod (or people's convention), formally endorsed full marriage equally denomination-wide in 2005. They started ordaining openly gay ministers in the 70's.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Nov 20, 2013 12:03:41 PM

  14. Rayj, you encourage progressive Methodists to hit the church "where it hurts - in the pocketbook." The sad truth is that conservatives give MUCH more money to their churches than do liberals. And the portion of congregational giving that goes to support the larger UM church supports a hierarchy that's overall very progressive and supportive of gay rights.

    The problem is that policy in the UM church is set every four years by a global convention at which lay delegates from conservative countries and conservative areas in the US dominate. If progressives leave the UM church, that just makes life harder and harder for the gay kids of Methodists who will grow up in a church that just keeps getting more and more conservative.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Nov 20, 2013 12:26:44 PM

  15. Go Daddy!

    Posted by: Endorado | Nov 20, 2013 12:27:31 PM

  16. @Seattle Mike: there is nothing to stop him and like minded people from starting their own church, a clone of the Methodist one but with the homophobic garbage removed. People then get to keep the same rituals and other stuff they are familiar with, and the conservatives can whine.

    The only way they could stop it is to try to claim that their "Intellectual Property" is being taken, but that probably won't work given the First Amendment allowing freedom of religion.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 20, 2013 12:39:07 PM

  17. This guy is sane, smart and loving -- so what's he doing messed up with the evil of religion in the first place? Let it go, already. Life is so much better without the completely unnecessary evil of religion in it.

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Nov 20, 2013 12:49:48 PM

  18. Just to be clear, God has these rules that are enforced in a court against clergy. OK, got it. Did God give discovery procedures and rules of civil procedure, too?

    I think this guy is wonderful, even if at the end of the day he sells a phony notion of some wonderful man in the sky who listens to your prayers but never answers.

    Posted by: DC Insider | Nov 20, 2013 1:32:34 PM

  19. this situation saddens is a man, out of the love and goodness of his heart is being "punished" makes no sense to me.......and he will continue to stand up for what he thinks is right in spite of being defrocked from his job......

    Posted by: Bernie | Nov 20, 2013 2:17:07 PM

  20. I figured he'd get a short suspension. He's talking defiantly, but it seems he's not quitting the church.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 20, 2013 3:22:31 PM

  21. Conservatives and evangelicals who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God are growing in numbers and influence in the United Methodist Church. Pro-gay proposals have been defeated with larger margins by the UMC, not decreasing margins. The fastest growing segment of the UMC is evangelical not liberal, and the international composition of the church ensures it will become even more conservative, evangelical, and charismatic henceforth.

    Posted by: Luke | Nov 20, 2013 3:24:37 PM

  22. I applaud Mr. Schaefer. He's a good man and even better father. He's exposing hatred within the Methodist community. Unfortunately, his career will likely be taken away from him, but his impact will continue to be felt even if he is defrocked.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 20, 2013 3:41:02 PM

  23. what does it say about their values when they ask someone to turn on their own child. real christians there . he and his followers should a church that actually supports his family and to hell with the bigots

    Posted by: walter | Nov 20, 2013 4:16:49 PM

  24. Why no mention on TR regarding the very sleazy fraud and hardcore drug use involving a gay Methodist minister / bank president / ex-Labour MP in England? 63 years old, and this guy was having orgies and 'partying' with young male druggies / hustlers with heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, the whole nine yards, instead of appearing before a committee in parliament investigating massive fraud at his 'fair trade' socially progressive bank.


    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 20, 2013 4:42:56 PM

  25. Bravo. He is taking a principled stand within his own church and letting the consequences fall where they may. In other words, he has a conscience and is not willing to hide it because of ultimatums. Ultimately, this is how change will come about.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 20, 2013 5:05:03 PM

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