Last month Rev. Frank Schaefer was suspended for officiating his gay son’s wedding. When his 30 day suspension was over, Schaefer vowed to continue his work.
“My honest answer has to be: No, I cannot uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety. In fact, I don’t believe anybody can…because it is filled with competing and contradictory statements.”
Schaefer was referring to the Methodist principle that pastors are to “to provide equal ministry to all people.” It is not uncommon for the traditions of a church to overwhelm and silence its core principles. At such time people of faith must be willing to disobey the church’s hierarchy in order to obey the church’s message.
“I cannot go back to being a silent supporter, I am an advocate. I must continue to speak for my LGBT brothers and sisters. I cannot repent [for performing the same-sex service]. I cannot make the statement that I will not do any more services.”
This Thursday, Rev. Schaefer may very well be defrocked by the Methodist Church. On the other hand, his judges may find the courage to do the right thing. In any case, this pastor’s courage has taken us one step closer to the inevitable day that the church will end its persecution of GLBT people and return to its true message of grace.