Pastor Defrocked for Doing What the Bible Teaches Him to Do (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 20

rev schaeferWhen a pastor went on trial this fall for officiating at his gay son's 2007 wedding, I thought surely love would win the day. But nope! That was naive of me, and anyone else who thought the same. Pennsylvania pastor Frank Schaefer has been defrocked. United Methodist officials told Schaefer to either resign from the clergy or follow the church's Book of Discipline to the letter. The pastor refused both, saying the Book of Discipline discriminates against gay people. He doesn't want to give up on his church, either.

Rather than walk away, Schaefer is determined to make change from within his church. "I am actively committing to having those discriminatory laws changed and banished from our Book of Discipline. That's the only way I can reconcile being a United Methodist at this point." Not only that, Schaefer is taking Jesus' teachings to heart in his refusal to resign.

At a press conference Monday, Schaefer explained why he refused to resign: "I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a voice now for many -- for tens of thousands -- of LGBT members in our church." That reminds me of Jesus' teaching about the shepherd, and how he searches for the lost sheep and refuses to give up on them (not that LGBT members are lost, but the church does seem to want to leave them behind). The United Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members but rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible" with the teachings of Christ.

Wow, Schaefer is showing a true definition of a pastor. He could quit and join another church. He could resign his role and but stay a member of his church and an objector. But neither of these options is good enough. He recognizes that people need his leadership, and he's responding to that.

I don't know what will happen now that he's been stripped of his role, though. I think it probably means a lot to Schaefer's parishioners that he refused to resign, but he's no longer their pastor. I'm sure he'll continue fighting for change within his church, though.

When we first heard Schaefer's story, we said he stood to lose his job for being a good parent. Now it's clear he went beyond just being a good parent. He lost his job for being a good parent and a good pastor. It's a shame -- the world doesn't have enough committed leaders who sincerely care about everyone under their leadership. I think it's a mistake to defrock this pastor. But then, I also think it's a mistake to take such a hard line against gay marriage.

Schaefer married his son in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. He says he told officials about the wedding when it happened and they did nothing; it wasn't until someone complained this year that they took action.

Do you think the United Methodist church was right to defrock Schaefer?


Image via ABC News

marriage equality, religion


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nonmember avatar Ally

No, he lost his job for going against what the bible says.. End of story..

nonmember avatar Tess

I think if my fellow Christians are going to enforce one of the laws in the Biblical book of Leviticus, they should enforce them all. They won't, of course. People like their cotton/poly shirts and they like football, etc. As it stands, they seem to be guilty of being amongst those Jesus railed against quite vociferously: hypocrites. Thank the Father that His Grace is sufficient for both sides.

Kediset Kediset

Actualy he's the one who's wrong. Yes, we're supposed to accept everyone as they are, but NOT to support the lifestyle that goes against God and Jesus' teachings. Nobody's perfect, but we should all be trying our best nonetheless

mamat... mamatreat

I'm glad Tess at least has a head on her shoulders.  The Bible wasn't written by God or Jesus.  It was written by men.  And written again, and again, and again.  Should we follow everything that the Bible says? Is the Bible absolute? The Bible says it is ok to own slaves, that women are not equal to men, that you cannot eat any animal that has a cloven hoof, that you can't plant two crops in the same field, and that you can't wear mixed fabrics.  Those of you defending "homosexuality is a sin" better be living a clean life.  If the statement "homosexuality is a sin" is an absolute truth, so is the rest of the Bible. 

nonmember avatar John Townsend

The Last Commandments:
Do Not Judge. Be Only Love.
Let Everyone Be.

nonmember avatar Bill

Yes the Bible was written by men, except the 10 commandments, which were written in stone by God. The part about homosexuality is in the old AND new Testaments. Therefore it is still a sin. It is still an abomination in God's eyes. The pastor is right to love his child, but as a pastor, it is his obligation to follow the Bible's teachings.

nonmember avatar Edward Kern

I've always loved United Methodists for their ability to act with fairness, justice and grace. That's what John Wesley stood for and why his heart was strangely warmed after reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans and his stand for freedom of conscience and the freedom of the Gospel. Today I am ashamed of them.....The Rev. Dr. Edward Kern (ELCA)

nonmember avatar JCOP

As the father of six, my prayers and my heart go out to this family. If everyone would worry about their own sins and let God be judge this world would be a much better place. If you want to look at literal translation, according to the book of Deu 23:12-14, the modern bathroom would be considered a sin. This is just another judgmental Christian organization that said, "Come As You Are" and when they came they were greeted with judgment from a "Better Than Thou" group. I wonder what will happen if one of my children turns out to be LGBT. I hope that they would never run into some of the posters on this page. Jesus Loves. It's as simple as that.

nonmember avatar Tee

The Bible is authoritative, the Word of God, and declares absolute truth! Actually this wasn't chattel slavery and slaves were released after 7 years or during the year of jubilee. (Not the same system, and slavery isn't condoned). Also Galatians 3:28 states that there is no male and female for you are all one in Christ. Acts 11:9 God declares all food clean to Peter. Finally the crop and fabric references have contextual value and meaning. We can disagree on things but please don't disparage what is Sacred especially when you haven't studied the Book. The Bible isn't about rules but the revelation of Jesus, the remedy for our problem of sin, which is not limited to illicit sexual relationships homo or hetero.

nonmember avatar David Varney

This man is forcing his beliefs on this church. He knew it was not acceptable when he performed the wedding. If you belong to any group of people, and you sign an agreement to abide by the common rules of that group and then you break those rules you will be removed or repremanded in some way. What right does he have to force his beliefs on them? If his belief has changed then he should have left. His son can still get married, just not in that church.

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