A retired Methodist pastor committed suicide by self-immolation in Dallas on June 23 to highlight racial injustice, homophobia, and the death penalty.
A retired Methodist pastor committed suicide in Dallas on June 23rd to make a statement about racial injustice, homophobia and the death penalty, reports The Dallas Morning News.
Reverend Charles Moore left a number of notes that cited as reasons for his suicide the Methodist Church’s refusal to marry same-sex couples, the death penalty and cuts to social programs.
Moore died in a strip-mall parking lot in Grand Saline, Texas, by self-immolation. One suicide note suggests that the 75-year-old chose Grand Saline because he was troubled by his hometown’s history of prejudice he witnessed there as a boy.
In one of the notes, he wrote:
“I would much prefer to go on living and enjoy my beloved wife and grandchildren and others, but I have come to believe that only my self-immolation will get the attention of anybody and perhaps inspire some to higher service.”
Moore had a history of supporting equal rights. In the 1950s and 1960s he supported the civil rights movement. In 1995, he went on a hunger strike to protest the Methodist Church’s treatment of gays and lesbians.
However, although Moore had intended his act to be a grand gesture in the manner of Buddhist monks, his suicide drew little notice, notes The Dallas News:
“A report in the Grand Saline Sun described him as an elderly man who seemed troubled. An article in the Tyler Morning Telegraph asked if he was a ‘madman or a martyr.’”