Rev. Frank Schaefer, a pastor in South Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is about to go on trial before the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church -- all because he officiated his son's wedding six years ago. What's wrong with a pastor officiating his son's wedding? Ah, well, you see, Rev. Schaefer's son happens to be gay, and his wedding was to -- gasp! -- someone of the same sex.
The trial is set to begin on November 18, and if things go really bad, he could be stripped of his ministerial credentials and out of a job. Schaefer says that he knew when he made the decision to officiate his child's wedding, it could lead to trouble, but it was a no-brainer. "The love for my son took over the fear of losing my job with the United Methodist Church," Schaefer said. "It was a tough decision in some sense, but I just knew I had to make it. I had to follow my heart."
Beautiful. And also ... horrible. How could a church put a man on trial for loving his son? For putting his kid's needs before his own? Isn't that what being a parent, and being a good person, is all about? Selflessness? Kindness? Love?
The fact that a good person like Schaefer could be out of a job for deciding to stand by his child is sickening and, quite honestly, something that seems like it dates back to the 1800s. There ought to be more pastors like him, not less. This is a man who decided to deviate from the archaic, group thinking in order to put what's right and, more importantly, love first. People should look to him as an example, not as someone who did something wrong.
Hopefully, Rev. Schaefer won't lose his job, because it sounds like the church needs him more than he needs it. And if he does, I'm sure he has faith that things will work out. At least he can rest easy knowing he has his family's love.
What do you think of this?
Image via Phil Whitehouse/Flickr