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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Roils Methodist Church

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, left, of Lebanon Pa., celebrates communion with supporters after the sentencing phase of the trial at Camp Innabah, a United Methodist retreat, in Spring City Pa. Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013. (Chris Knight/AP)

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, left, of Lebanon Pa., celebrates communion with supporters after the sentencing phase of the trial at Camp Innabah, a United Methodist retreat, in Spring City Pa. Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013. (Chris Knight/AP)

The issue of gay marriage is dividing the United Methodist Church. With 8.3 million members in the U.S., Methodists comprise the nation’s third-largest Christian denomination.

This week, a jury of Methodist pastors convicted Pennsylvania pastor Rev. Frank Schaefer of violating church law when he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding six years ago.

At least four other Methodist pastors are also facing similar charges, including Thomas Ogletree, the retired dean of Yale Divinity School.

In Schaefer’s case, the church has suspended him from all ministerial duties for 30 days, at the end of which, he has to decide if he can uphold the church’s book of discipline in its entirety.

While the United Methodist Church does not allow same-sex marriage or gay ministers, it has also gone out of its way to affirm the dignity of gay people, and emphasized that church pastors do minister to them.

Schaefer speaks to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

Interview Highlights: Frank Schaefer

On what he’s going to do at the end of 30 days

“Honestly, I’m struggling with this. Of course I can’t change my convictions. I cannot agree to uphold those discriminatory laws, especially in light of the pain that they have caused my own son Tim, my family and thousands and thousands of United Methodists that are in the LGBT community.”

On why he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding

“I knew that it was against the discipline. I did it out of love. It was definitely an act of love toward my son … It was almost like if I had said no to him on his request, it would have been like talking the talk but not walking the walk. So I knew I could be in trouble. I also wanted to be very up-front with my superiors, so I put in writing, I addressed the bishop and the cabinet that I had agreed to perform this same-sex marriage.”

On finding out his son was gay and considering suicide

“We affirmed him and we said to him, look, you are made in the image of God just like everybody else. You are beautiful in the eyes of God. This is how God has created you. Obviously you did not choose to be homosexual, so you are homosexual, that’s who you are and that’s who God made you to be. And later on, as our other gay children came out, we did the same with them.”

Guest

  • Frank Schaefer, United Methodist minister in Pennsylvania, suspended for officiating his gay son’s wedding.

Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

It's HERE AND NOW. The nation's third-largest church is in the midst of a debate over gay marriage. Earlier this week a jury of pastors from the United Methodist Church convicted a fellow pastor, Frank Schaefer, of violating church law when he officiated at his son's gay wedding. Four other Methodist pastors are also facing similar charges.

The United Methodist Church emphasizes the importance of pastors ministering to gays and lesbians, but it does not allow same-sex marriage, which brings us to the case of Pastor Schaefer, who has been suspended for 30 days to decide if he can uphold the church's rules in their entirety.

Reverend Schaefer joins us now from the studios of WITF in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Welcome.

REVEREND FRANK SCHAEFER: Well, thanks for having me.

HOBSON: Well, what do you think of this judgment against you?

SCHAEFER: It's a very interesting sentence the jury came up with. The jury definitely realized that the eyes of the world were on them. What they did in my estimation is actually pretty brilliant. They really deferred their decision onto me. When I made that statement to them in my last address to the court, I said look, if I'm going to be a United Methodist minister tomorrow, I want you to know that I will be committed to the LGBT community, and I will not refuse ministry to them.

Honestly, when I made that statement to them, I actually expected to be defrocked, and instead they came back and said well, we see your honesty, and so we expect you to, you know, to come up with a decision by the end of the 30 days we give you to say that you will be willing to uphold those laws of the discipline, the United Methodist Church law, in light of your new calling.

HOBSON: Well, so what are you going to do? The ball's in your court now.

SCHAEFER: The ball's in my court, and honestly I'm struggling with this. Of course I can't change my convictions. I cannot agree to uphold those discriminatory laws, especially in light of the pain that they have caused my own son Tim, my family and thousands and thousands of United Methodists that are in the LGBT community.

HOBSON: You must have known, though, when you performed this wedding that you would be getting in trouble for it, that it would be a big decision on your part. What made you decide to do that in the first place?

SCHAEFER: I knew that it was against, you know, the discipline. I did it out of love. It wasn't - it was definitely an act of love toward my son. I wanted to affirm him in this decision as well as I had before. It was almost like if I had said no to him on his request, it would have been like talking the talk but not walking the walk.

So I knew I could be in trouble. I also wanted to be very up-front with my superiors, so I put in writing and addressed the bishop and the Cabinet that I had agreed to perform this same-sex marriage.

HOBSON: You have said that you did not talk about your views on homosexuality in the church early on in your ministry but that a certain point, a parent in the community called you anonymously about your son Tim, he was 16 at the time, told you that he was gay and was considering suicide. What did you do at that point?

SCHAEFER: That's correct. Actually when I received that phone call, that anonymous phone call, I was in shock. I was in denial. I did not see that coming. I did not think at that time that my son could be possibly gay. So I went home, I talked with my wife, and of course we talked to Tim. And he admitted at that point that he was gay and that yes, in the past, he had considered suicide, how he cried himself to sleep many, many times and asked God, you know, prayed to God to make him quote-unquote "normal," to take this away from him. And when that didn't happen, and he still felt this attraction to the same gender, he just thought it would be better for him to be gone and, you know, better for his family and his community because the messages he had heard, especially from the church, is that this was sinful, that this was not right and that he was a freak.

HOBSON: And you saw it as your responsibility to save him from this, or...

SCHAEFER: Oh my goodness we - yes, definitely. We affirmed him, and we said to him, look, you are made in the image of God just like everybody else. You are beautiful in the eyes of God. This is how God has created you. Obviously you did not choose to be homosexual, so you are homosexual, that's who you are, and that's who God made you to be. And later on, as our other gay children came out, we did the same with them.

HOBSON: How do you feel about what this has done to the church? I see that half of your congregation has left over this.

SCHAEFER: Yes, and it just tears me apart inside because I have poured my heart and soul into this, into the work of this church for 11 years. And I chose not to speak about my views on homosexuality and the wedding of my son because I knew that it was going to be divisive in an area that is rather conservative. And I just chose to be a good pastor to these people and just build this church, and it does tear me apart because, you know, I love these people.

I love every single one of them, you know, even those that took the stand against me. I love them dearly. So this is very painful for everybody, including myself.

HOBSON: Well, have you considered just leaving the church?

SCHAEFER: The United Methodist Church as a whole, or...?

HOBSON: Yeah.

SCHAEFER: Yes, that was a consideration, I guess, when I thought about doing this wedding or when I had made the commitment to my son to perform his wedding. It's not as easy as that. I hear that a lot, that people say well, if you don't agree with the policies, why don't you just go to another denomination. And, you know, it's not that easy.

I mean, it's - that would be like, you know, if I were a homosexual and lived in a state that doesn't allow for gay marriage, which I actually happen to live in a state that doesn't allow for that, I don't uproot myself and take myself out of my family and my surrounding, my friends and go to another state. I try to stay put. I have roots in the state.

And that's the same with the church. I mean, I've been a part of the Methodist Church for 20 years. I love this church, you know, except for this discriminatory law that we have. I love the church. There's so much potential, and there's so much good that the church is doing. My children grew up in this church. You know, all my children were baptized United Methodist.

You don't just go and uproot yourself and your family out of a faith tradition.

HOBSON: Well, so if you intend to stay in the church, the other option here is for the church to potentially change its rules on this issue. Do you think that will ever happen?

SCHAEFER: Oh, I definitely think that will happen. I don't think it'll happen anytime soon, given the special circumstances in the United Methodist Church where, you know, we're an international church, and we have a large representation from the African continent. And unfortunately, a number of those annual conferences are in areas that are very conservative theologically on this issue.

And so I don't expect this to happen overnight or anytime soon, but I think within the next 15 or 20 years, this will definitely change.

HOBSON: Pastor Frank Schaefer is with the Zion United Methodist Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Thanks so much for joining us.

SCHAEFER: Well thank you.

HOBSON: And we invite your thoughts at hereandnow.org. This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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  • Ralph Kerns

    I too used to think gay marriage was wrong. I was wrong. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I continue to evolve…

    • Henry

      “If you are a follower of Christ”, you have to live according to His Word not you own thinking or your own quotations.

    • Danielmormon

      God does not evolve and neither does His definition of sin Two bulls shall not make whoopee and two guys shall not give each other the smack. Period, end of discussion!

    • Danielmormon

      God has already spoken to this issue. As a child you were spot on, but someone has deceived you into thinking that we can defile ourselves and expect to come to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God.There is no salvation in following after the popular opinions of this age, if those opinions contradict the Word of GOD

      • Ralph Kerns

        Dear Mr. Danielmormon, As a child I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Was I led astray? The Words of GOD were all written by humans. My interpretation of GOD is as valid as yours. If blindly following the folly of Joe Smith a banished convicted fraud who claimed he could find gold on farms in New York helps you sleep at night then have at it buddy. I have no problem with you believing in anything as long as it doesn’t hinder my or others freedom.

        • Danielmormon

          Joseph Smith was a prophet of the living God,who restored all the keys and authority in these last days to administer in all the ordinances needed for the human family for their salvation in Jesus Christ.

  • Henry

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
    Matthew 10:37

    • Ralph Kerns

      I used to love Santa more than my mother and father so I no long am worthy of
      Santa.

      • Henry

        If your mother and father thought you right you would have loved Jesus and not santa. Now that you know better, love Him with all you heart the way He says and not the way you think you should. That is what the reverend should do also.

    • Mike Slates

      I guess you don’t eat shrimp or lobster Henry, or wear clothes of mixed fabric…oh wait, we can change the Bible when we want but when it comes to two men kissing we go by the book.

      • Henry

        Do not misunderstand me. All I’m saying is “do not say is is Christian to be gay” or anything you might call it. Live your life anyway you want but do not call it Christian because it is not, you can kiss who or what ever you like. Christianity is Living STRICTLY by the full WORD OF GOD. Not what you or society say it is, not even what any so called church group say it is. THE FULL GOSPEL OF THE WORD, period

        • hyhybt

          No, Christianity is faith in Jesus as savior.

        • Charlotte

          So, Henry, do you eat shrimp or lobster?

          • Henry

            Very much so, I’m in Red Lobster as we speak, enjoy God given lobster & shrimp. Why do you ask, don’t you?

    • Dk Raven

      How about the most important commandment?

      “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And the second is like the first: Love the person who is standing next to you as your self.”

      • Henry

        There cannot be love in disobedience to God’s Word. You cannot say you love God and disobey Him. Even partial disobedience is total disobedience (e.g. King Saul) You cannot love your neighbor in disobedience to God’s Word. Does not matter how you dice it. God’s COMPLETE WORD or nothing at all

        • Dk Raven

          Sorry, you are only defending your own bias. Scripture states that “God is Love.” Therefore, to contradict love (Hebrew racham, meaning “compassion”) is to contradict God.

          Jesus says he came to fulfill Torah, which in essence means that any aspect of the Old Testament that contradicts his teaching has been amended and clarified by his teaching. This New Covenant is summed up by “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Even as I have loved you, so also must you love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, that you have love for one another.”

          I’m sorry if this is contradictory to your own beliefs. But I am not cherry-picking the teachings of Jesus. I’m a theologian, and I know whereof I speak. And, I do not attribute Old Testament or Pauline references to Jesus. If one is to follow Christ, one must follow the teachings that can accurately ascribed to him, and not reach out to extraneous sources to support their own bias.

          • Henry

            It does not matter if you are the theologian on the century, the pope or even an angel from heaven, if what you are saying is not in line with the Spirit of the Word then you are in error. Clearly you are a theologian of the letter and not of the Spirit. We have too many of you guys around teaching the traditions of men learnt in some seminary and making the Word of God of no effect. The letter kills but the Spirit of the Word gives Life. (He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.) I do understand that the people who are of the world do not understand any of these things and CANNOT understand it because they are Spiritually decerned . What I do not like are people who claim to be Christians and do not know their left from right as far as Spiritual Word of God is concerned. Learn from the Holy Spirit and not from man. The UMC reverend needs to do the same then he will be equipped to help his gay son and not support his life style. THE WORD OF GOD NOT YOUR theology.

          • JG

            It must give you great satisfaction to cling to beliefs contrary to those of Jesus, a prophet who embraced the sinner when the church (temple) authorities condemned him/her. (“Let him who is without sin…”) Contrary to what you may think, you do cherry-pick what precepts from the bible you will follow.

          • Henry

            What do you mean by “him/her”

          • MD

            If you don’t cherry-pick bibles from nearly any religion, you are stuck with an amazing array of contradictions and errors: scientific, historical, and moral. Even if your bible is the “Christian” one, be sure to read all of it before citing scriptural authority for any purportedly true position. It cannot be done without cherry-picking!

          • hyhybt

            Off topic, but you’ve reminded me of “The Cherry Tree Carol.” It’s a beautiful, if a bit nonsensical, and the first few verses are funny. Basically, a very pregnant Mary asks Joseph to pick her some cherries. Joseph’s response is basically “get your baby-daddy to do it.” Then the tree bends over so Mary can reach the fruit easily…
            No point to this post; I was listening to a lot of Christmas music last night, and the talk of cherry picking reminded me of it.

          • hyhybt

            And of course “Henry of Disqus” is the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not in line; how could anyone possibly not know that?

          • Henry

            yes, yes, yes, but you still have not told me what you mean by “him/her”

          • hyhybt

            Generally I use that to indicate either that I do not know which applies, that I specifically intend the statement to both, or that it doesn’t matter. But to give any more specific answer, I’d have to know what instance of my using it you mean. Why do you ask? I don’t think I’ve ever even used that combination of letters where you’re likely to have read it.

        • Motherboard

          By this definition, only perfect people can love God.

  • phxlarry

    Rev. Schafer’s response to his son’s homosexuality and later the decision to officiate his son’s marriage–even knowing the difficulties the reverend would be creating for himself–is very touching. His decision now must be very difficult. I pray that God will be with him as he prays and ponders this decision, and certainly wish him the very best. I’d like to say to him, thank you for standing up and doing what, in my view, is the right thing.

    • Henry

      “If you are a follower of Christ”, you have to live according to His Word not you own thinking

      • carlsan

        Jesus said “Love your neighbor as you love your self”: and to take care of your own sin before you start calling out the sin in others.

        • Henry

          Are you a follower of Christ? I need to know so I know how to respond.

      • Stephan

        Some not famous enough words by the very person who causes homosexual controversy in the bible (Paul)

        Galations 3:23-25: “Before this faith [in Jesus] came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”

        Galations 5:13-14: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

        — So basically this tells us that people had views (like you and me of what is right and wrong. Paul spends a lot of time explaining some of “his” views yet here he tells us that even his words or any others can’t be considered law any more. We just need to live in love and that’s what Jesus came to tell us.

        You my friend, need to do some soul searching for your own good…

        • Henry

          If what you are saying is to love people outside of the body of Christ (The Church of CHRIST), show them the Love of Christ, I totally agree with you. The purpose of that is to bring them to Christ. But if what you are saying is to show love to “people who call themselves Christians” and use the name of Jesus to promote there own madness like homosexuality and any other sin, then I don’t agree with you. If a person is a Christian (a follower of Christ) he does not continue in sin (insist on his own way) but repent and seek help from God and His people (people who live by the Word of Christ also called believers). It is not love when you support anybody who is living in sin (continue living in sin) and don’t tell them the truth according to Scripture (not according to a man or a church theology) so that they can be saved from their sinful way. (lifestyle contrary to God’s Word) that includes homosexuality and ANY OTHER SIN. True love is saving them from their sin, not agreeing with their sin. Now, the UMC Shaefer fellow should not have encouraged his son’s homosexual lifestyle but instead should have seek help from God and His people to help his son beat that lifestyle. He Shaefer calls it love. That is a lie from the Pitts of hell. Love is doing what Jesus says and not an human emotion. You cannot truly love anyone if you are in disobedience to God’s Word. He is clearly in error UMC or no UMC, reverend or no reverend. God does not support homosexual lifestyle. 1 Corinthians 7:2, Romans 1:24,26,27, Romans 3:3 and 1Thessalonians 4:7,8. I rest my case Thank you

        • Jill

          I believe Methodists believe that the Bible was inspired by God but written by man.

          • hyhybt

            That sounds right. Part of the problem, though, is that people use “inspired” to mean substantially different things.

        • Danielmormon

          The Savior and the letters of the New Testament make it clear that those who persist in sexual immorality will not inherit eternal life. Such actions such as gay marriage are inconsistent with Christian faith and doctrine. Our bodies are Temples of God and we do not belong to ourselves but to Christ. We are to put off the ”Natural man” and not live according to every vile impulse that comes calling our name.
          Let us imagine that the Methodist Church has an openly gay minister who is living in sin. This so called minister gets up Sunday after defiling himself with his same gender partner, puts his nasty hands on his church vestments, goes to church where he touches the communion bread and wine with those defiled hands and then he gives you the Sacraments that you eat and drink and put in your mouth! How cursed and nasty!
          OUR NATION IS TERRIBLY DECEIVED!

          • hyhybt

            I’m sure he washes in between.

    • Danielmormon

      Rev.Schafer’s response springs from a heart that divided in who it is loyal to.You cannot encourage open sin and have the companionship of the Holy Spirit.You may feast at the table of Christ or you can rub elbows with demons and every damned and cursed doctrine they try to dress up to sound like the truth, but you cannot live in both camps.It is either Christ or a much lesser choice which will certainly lead to misery.

  • Duane_Dibbley

    I fully support marriage equality, but I can’t help but see this as an attempt at getting his 15 minutes.

    • hyhybt

      Why? He didn’t seek publicity, and didn’t get any for the years that went by before someone filed a complaint.

  • Elizabeth

    I am a former candidate for ordained ministry in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, removed from my candidacy process just as I was about to complete it because I married a woman from Sweden. I had been approved by the church, received a Master’s of Divinity degree, and worked as a minister for eight years at the time I was told I could not be ordained because of my marriage.

    After the penalty was read in the Frank Schaefer trial on Tuesday night, I wrote a blog post about my feelings and my personal experiences four years ago. We simply must share our stories with each other and continue to educate one another, hoping that one day a change will come. I love the United Methodist Church, and I have always only wanted to be an ordained UM minister. Alas, that is not possible. Still, it is my calling and my duty to continue to minister to and serve people through my writing and through sharing my story.

    You can read my blog post here:http://belovelive.com/2013/11/19/open-hearts-no-open-minds-no-open-doors-no-open-wounds-yes/

    Feel free to link my blog on your post/blog and send it further to wherever you would like. I just want my voice to be heard so that others, who have gifts and talents and a passion to serve and love others, have an opportunity to do so.

    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire

    • hyhybt

      Perhaps you can tell me something that seems hard to find. There was a vote at the last… whatever Methodists call it, to remove the “incompatible with Christian teaching” line. It failed, but what seems impossible to find is whether it was closer to passing or further away than the time before. Do you happen to know?

      • Elizabeth

        Hyhybt,

        You are right. The vote to remove that phrase did fail at the last General Conference in 2012. Here is a link to an article in the NT Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/us/methodists-wont-change-outlook-on-homosexuality.html?_r=0

        I am not sure how much closer the vote was this past time compared to the General Conference in 2008. Hope this helps!

        • hyhybt

          Thanks. It’s the 2008 one I haven’t been able to find anything on. (That, and the phrase “General Conference.” Remembering what happened is easy; actual numbers and names are tougher.)

      • carlsan

        I don’t know that answer. maybe some does. I do know that there is a petition signed by at least 20 retired bishops to remove that passage from the social principles.

    • Danielmormon

      I am sorry but you are walking in gross disobedience to Holy Writ. You cannot possibly defend your relationship by Scripture. If not by Scripture than your only defense is the frail and vain philosophies of mere men and women who are caught in a snare of lies. The source of this misery is from that very being that deceives mankind, even satan ,and not from God in whom there is no shadow of turning , who has given us eternal standards to live by.
      Can you honestly give me one sentence from the sermons of John Wesley that support chasing after sin or that such actions would not lead to utter misery eventually in the life to come? Or that Wesley would partake of such a unholy sacrament as gay marriage?
      You will search in vain! May God deliver you from this snare of falsehood that can only lead to all things that snuff out any chance of happiness. I will pray for you.

  • Dk Raven

    I was ordained in the UMC in the seventies, and know the political machinations that were happening in regards to recognizing homosexuality back then; it’s difficult to conceive that progress could possibly be so slow. Homosexuality certainly existed back in Jesus’ day; what did He have to say about gay people? Not one word; in other words, he didn’t separate anyone out from his injunction to love one another.

    There are many who, out of their own bias or ignorance, would rather follow the words of Paul than the teachings of Jesus. It’s their loss, but it’s too bad that so much suffering is heaped upon others as a result.

    • Henry

      There are so many people who think they are Christians (disciples of Christ) but clearly are not because they do not believe and live by the whole Word of God. They pick and chose what they want and what sooth then and change whenever they like only to agree with society or their own emotions or feelings. There are those who have come to believe it is wrong to turn their back on mother, father, son daughter or anyone who insist on their own way if it is contrary to God’s Word. Apostle Paul was not speaking for himself but what Jesus Christ sent him to say. (But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” Acts 9:15) Jesus Christ did not come into the world to discause sin rather He came to save man from sin. Suffering only happens because people disobey God’s Word. If anyone chooses to live a homosexual life, please let them do so, but DO NOT PARADE IT AS A CHRISTIAN LIFE because it is not. The scriptures make it clear.

      • Dk Raven

        Henry, I read the scriptures in their original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. I can tell you that the “understandings” conveyed by English versions fall far short of the original intent. Nonetheless, I have not discovered a single instance wherein Jesus condemned homosexuality or homosexuals. Rather, he counseled love, compassion and understanding for all one’s fellow (wo)men. Do you have one scrap of evidence to contradict this?

        Secondly, Paul never met Jesus, nor did he claim to. In his differences with the disciples, he says “I never knew your Rabbi Jesus; I only know the risen Christ.” When his testimony contradicts that of those who were there, who are we to believe? I have made my choice; to love as best I can, rather than condemn. Your own choice is up to you, and your responsibility.

        • Henry

          Believe the Holy Spirit IF you have Him living in you. You do not speak like one who has the Spirit of The Living God, but like a very smart research person. Plenty of that around. They will not make it if they don’t BUY THE TRUTH and don’t sell it

          • Stephan

            Who are you to judge someone else’s relationship with the holy spirit.

            Homosexual Chrisitians are some of the most amazing and fruitfull people I’ve ever meet. All I see is hate proclaiming that people who choose to love are speaking with a false spirit. You don’t find people like Jesus doing this kind of thing. That’s the way of pharisees the way I see it.

            Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

            Now let me use this in reference of this entire case. The UMC allows a jury to “judge” a man based on a common belief. Now trust me there is a good argument on both sides of homosexuality in a biblical and moral sense so who are we to judge. The only people that will ever find peace with their homosexuality is individuals with their own relationship with god and the holy spirit. You can say that their spirit is false or a figment of their imagination but that’s just using your own judgment. Please just stop being so conservative. The church has no right to judge a man. I guess they can choose not to have him work for them but that’s not a biblically or morally backed decision.

          • Dk Raven

            Bravo, Stephan.

          • Henry

            You can hi-5 yourselves all you want it does not change THE TRUE WORD OF GOD. God does not support homosexual lifestyle. 1 Corinthians 7:2, Romans 1:24,26,27, Romans 3:3 and 1 Thessalonians 4:7,8.

          • Danielmormon

            Thank you for your valiant defense of the Word

          • Danielmormon

            A Christian that willfully follows after sexual perversion will lose the companionship of the Holy Spirit, which cannot dwell in unholy temples

        • Danielmormon

          The Savior did speak of the condemnation of Sodom and Gomorrah, and told the woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more, in other words stop your sinful life and walk in the path of holiness. Common sense tells me that if the Savior came across two guys giving each other the smack He would have warned then to cease their gross conduct or pay a terrible price.
          Jesus was the God of the Old Testament too,and His judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah was dreadful.
          Paul encountered the Living Savior on the Road to Damascus and was chosen to be an Apostle to teach the faith he had once persecuted as Saul of Tarsus. Paul also warns us to flee from sexual misconduct in many of his letters .esp.The First Chapter of Romans verses 24 through 32. Finally to quote from the Book Of Mormon: ”Wickedness never was happiness”

      • Danielmormon

        Thank you Henry for being valiant in the defense of truth. You shall receive dominions and crowns for your faithfulness in God’s own time.

    • Danielmormon

      Jesus warned the woman taken in adultery to go and sin no more.In other words stop your sinful actions and walk in obedience to God. Now really, do you actually believe that if the Savior came across two men having unnatural relations that He would not tell them to cease their nasty behavior? You really should know better than that! By the way it was God Himself that destroyed Sodom and Gomorah,and it would be clear that the Son would have the same attitudes and actions as the Father. Furthermore as a Rabbi Jesus would clearly understand that same sex relations are an abomination according to the Old Testament, which He gave to men like Moses as the pre-mortal Son of God.

  • S Lynn

    Once again the United Methodist church disappoints me. I was baptized and confirmed in the UMC. My father formally a long time lay leader. Growing up I lived in an Irish/Italian neighborhood, being a Protestant was almost an abnormally. When I married 25 years ago in my church, both a minister and a rabbi officiated. My husband was never Bar Mitzvahed, the rabbi was present for his mother and uncle, who were more Jewish in name than practice.

    The fact that I could get married in the church I was raised in, despite marrying a man who is essentially an agnosti, brought me great joy. I was proud my church was progressive enough to allow such marriage. The weekend before a similar marriage took place and they even had a chuppah on the alter.

    The fact all people cannot marry the individual of their choice in their church and UMC does not allow outwardly gay ministers makes me think it might be time to find a different church to identify as being a member of.

    The day needs to come when the UMC, does not discriminate against individuals for their sexuality choices or those who support them.

    • Danielmormon

      The church cannot support open rebellion and sin. It can however point the way to the tender mercies of the Great Physician who has purchased our salvation through His atonement upon the cross,

  • Judith Randall

    Would the minister have married a gay couple who were strangers to him? In other words, did he only step up because it was his son. If yes, then that seems less “Christian” than simply taking care of one’s own.

    • hyhybt

      Sometimes people do wrong because they feel they can’t turn down family. But sometimes, it’s only when it’s family that you see clearly, or that your excuses for *not* doing the right thing regardless of consequences fall away.

      • Judith Randall

        Thank you. That sounds right.

  • Sonja

    I do empathize with the plight of individuals who feel so shut out by society when they don’t feel that they meet the “norms.” As difficult as it is for them, however, I do believe that our American culture has made amazing changes in acceptance and tolerance. I would like to think that, as we as a society continue to grow in our ability to support and encourage those who are also still growing in their walk with the Lord, while we steer away from being judgmental, we nevertheless should not let go of the standards that are clearly presented in God’s Word as the way in which the Lord intends for us to live.

    In other words, I believe the Bible clearly states that the union of marriage is to be between a man and a woman. This is stated numerous times throughout the Old and New Testaments, and is demonstrated by the lives of people in the Bible. Does this mean that people will not fall in the love with others of the opposite sex and have lifelong companions through this bond of love that they share? I believe that is impractical to think this would never happen, and that these couples need to be afforded the opportunity to care for each other as married couples are afforded that opportunity. I think that we do that well with our civil unions, but not perfectly. I do not believe that marriage in the Christian church is the answer to addressing those needs. Forcing such an opinion would be in opposition to not only the church’s preachings, but most importantly Jesus Christ and all the prophets as well.

    God is the judge, not us, and gives us the tools by which to resist temptations and live righteously. All the Lord wants for us is to live abundantly, with joy and purpose. Everyone is bound to pursue their calling to the best of their ability and will answer not to man for their failings, but to God in the end. I would not choose to rewrite the book, but I also would not choose to condemn others for their choices. This does not lead me, however, to reinterpret scripture and approve marriage other than that between a man and a woman.

    Instead of remarking of this as discriminatory or insensitive, I just know that I have wrestled with certain passages of scripture at different times in my life, and when I decide to trust and obey God’s Word, even if I don’t completely understand it, my life does become more contented. I would like to see the family of believers be open to the fact that none of us have it ALL together, and we are all growing towards holiness, but the place to go to for understanding is genuine prayer and supplication alongside the honest interpretation of scripture first and foremost, not what our flesh or friends declare.

    • Karyn L. Wiseman

      The Bible says marriage is between a man and his 700 concubines and wives. The Bible says Leverite marriage is ok. Which Biblical marriage do you support?

      • Henry

        Kindly give us the Bible references

      • Sonja

        God’s intention was for one man and one woman to be bonded in marriage, as reiterated by Jesus. I realize that some of the customs of the Old Testament days were not in line with that intention, which is why Jesus came to satisfy our redemption, partly through relieving us from the laws of Moses and usher in the days of the New Testament (or Covenant) in which we live.
        Living by the Spirit gives us the capacity to live according to God’s intention in ways that were not accessible to those in Old Testament times. They did not have Jesus serving as their moderator to God, and the Holy Spirit serving as their guide and comforter. Therefore, actions of those in OT times cannot be solely evaluated by NT standards.

        • Henry

          Thank you Sonja. SPOT ON.

          • Sonja

            You are welcome, Henry. I know this can all be very confusing. Thank you for your reply.

    • Sonja

      In rereading my initial entry, I realize that in the second paragraph, lines 3-5, I meant to say: “Does this mean that people will not fall in love with others of the same sex and have lifelong companions through…

      I think those reading this comment probably recognize that typo…

  • ForTheTruth

    I believe it can be difficult to stand for the truth and these days easily criticized for not agreeing with same sex marriage. To be a “Christian”means to be a follower of Christ, to be Christ-like.The best way to handle a matter as this is simply to speak as the oracles of God 1 Peter 4:11.So the Apostle Paul was speaking what Jesus wanted us to know on how to live our lives as described in Romans 8:13″ For if you live according to the flesh you will die;but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,you will live.-NKJ.We all have to strive to not live by the world’s standards but by God’s standards, even when it doesn’t agree with men.His word is very clear on the principles of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:2 “Nevertheless,because of sexual immorality,let each man have his own wife,and let each woman have her own husband”NKJ.The scriptures never approved of man with man or woman with woman. “There God also gave them up to uncleanness,in the lust of their hearts,to dishonor their bodies among themselves” Romans 1:24,26,27-NKJ,v.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions,For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature,27 Likewise also the men,leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another,men with men committing what is shameful,and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” And to conclude Romans 3:3″For what if some did not believe?Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? 4.Certainly not! Indeed,let God be true but every man a liar…”. 1Thessalonians 4:7,8″For God did not call us to uncleanness,but to holiness.v8Therefore,he who rejects this does not reject man, but God,who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”May each person read their bibles and find the Lord’s will to be done even when going against the grain.God Bless!

    • Henry

      True Word Of GOD and not man. Only a true believer can talk like this. Thank you, may your father in heaven honor you as you have honored Him.

  • Henry

    If there is no true repentance the Schaefer fellow and anyone like him MUST be kicked out of UMC and any other Church that is truly about the Gospel of Christ and not their own gospel. The Word of God is very clear about marriage. Take it or leave it, period.

    • C Christian

      Get prepared Henry, when the UMC changes it’s laws where are you going?

  • Ann Kosa

    Seems to me the problem is with the violation of church and state separation. Look, holy matrimony is between a couple and God. But marriage is a social contract. You cannot have a whole class of regulations pursuant to that contract and then shut out certain of the populous that government exists to serve. So I say, every couple should have access to legal marriage. Holy matrimony? That’s between the couple and God. The officiant and the building really shouldn’t figure into the equation.

    • hyhybt

      But this isn’t about civil law. Whether the weddings are legally binding has nothing to do with whether United Methodist Church allows its pastors to perform them.

  • Amy Newman

    This just in. You don’t need to cling to bronze age superstitions anymore.

    • hyhybt

      This again. If you’re going to go out of your way to insult people, that’s one thing, but Christianity started in the IRON age, thank you.

      • Amy Newman

        The Abrahamic religion of the Jews started out as a polytheist God hailing from the bronze age. Christianity soon flourished into the Iron age and leading up to the wonderful period that is “The dark ages.”

  • Miss Mary

    My dearly departed dad was a United Methodist Minister – graduated from Yale Divinity School. I had no idea the United Methodist Church was so narrow minded and did not embrace all people. In fact, when I went back to Yale with my dad for a reunion approximately 30 years ago, there was a friend of my father’s who is a gay United Methodist Minister there for the reunion. Meeting him and dining with him, I assumed the church embraced all people, particularly within the clergy as well.

  • alltruthbrandon

    Thank goodness the Methodists are taking a stand against the evil of homosexual “marriage”. And shame on the fake Christians that would approve of such evil.

    • C Christian

      Some, SOME Methodists; not all Methodists; and by the way they are now United Methodists; stand against homosexuality. Be careful of what you claim!

  • C Christian

    I am a Christian, biologically and via faith. At no time, ever, did Christ mention pro or con in homosexuality, gay, lesbian, trans, bi. The day Christ died he was a Jew and so were his parents and his apostles. During the time of Christ, he updated the following of the Torah. The Holy Bible was a creation of the Jews and Gentiles that followed Christ. Yes, what they wrote was based on what they heard from Christ and what they observed while following them. There were also letter written by men to men after Christ died. Christianity was not even created until approximately 100 years after the death of Christ. Christ never created the following of Christianity. Christ’s intention was for the Jewish Church and the people.

    Christianity has changed by the wishes of men (and women), science, culture and social living. If you are going to demand that EVERYTHING in the Old Testament be followed, then you can’t follow the New Testament. If you are demanding the EVERYTHING in the New Testament is to be followed’ then you can not follow the entire Old Testament. It is also known that many people left the first Church of Christ, the Roman Catholic Church. That’s how the Lutheran, Methodist, United Brethren, Anglican, Episcopal Church, Assembly of God, Baptist, Eastern Catholic Church, etc., were created. Those Churches were created by changing the belief / translation of the Holy Bible. Even the Roman Catholic Church has more books in their Holy Bible than the list of books in the Protestant Holy Bible. There are also many, many letters and writings that “claim” to be authentic writings learned from the life of Christ and belief; but they are not accepted in any form of Holy Bible. Men made the choices what will be in the Holy Bible and what will not be accepted.

    In other way, don’t take it upon your right to state what is right and what is wrong. In other words, either follow the Old Testament 100% or follow the New Testament and live a life directed by Christ…’Love your neighbor as yourself,” “cast no stone…”.

  • Jill

    Hallelujah, He lives in Rev. Frank Schaefer

  • Danielmormon

    I am sorry but disobedience is disobedience and Reverend Schafer’s actions are in the spirit of rebellion from the very clear position that the Holy Scriptures take on the SIN of same gender relations. The Methodist Church is under attack, and has been asked to lay down it’s spiritual weapons and surrender to this unholy monstrosity.
    All those who toot the horn for this demonic counterfeit for marriage will surely pay a terrible price not only in this life but will have sorrow upon sorrow in the life to come.
    Really folks, do you actually think that John Wesley, the Founder of the Methodist church would betray every Holy command from the scriptures to flee sexual immorality and partake of such a damned ceremony as gay marriage? I think not! All who support such trash are wells without water who have surrendered their eternal salvation for the passing praise of sinful men.

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