|Posted on November 21, 2013 at 7:55 PM|
In my previous shortcut piece I relayed the story of a Methodist pastor who had just been found guilty in a church trial for officiating at the Massachusetts wedding of his g*y son six years ago. As I wrote that piece the jury was deliberating his punishment, which could have ranged from a reprimand to a defrocking. On Tuesday night the punishment was announced: suspension for 30 days.
At first glance I was happy about what appeared to be a light sentence, but it came with a vital caveat. Schaefer would have to decide in those 30 days whether he could accept church rules, and if not he would lose his credentials as a pastor. He said after the trial that he expected to be defrocked because he couldn’t change his mind, and he would even officiate at g*y weddings during the 30 day period if asked. Though he also said that nothing was final, and he hoped that the trial and the 30 day suspension period could lead to further dialogue. Based on everything I’ve read, however, it seems to me almost certain that in 30 days Frank Schaefer will no longer be a Methodist minister.
With his job – a job that he says he loves – on the line, his words have been inspiring. “I feel I have to be an advocate, an outspoken advocate for all l*sbian, g*y, tr*nsg*nder and bise**al people.” [The church] “needs to stop judging people based on their se*ual orientation. We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians.” He also said: “I will never be silent again. This is what I have to do.”