A Methodist pastor was defrocked for performing a marriage ceremony between his homosexual son and another man, an act that goes against the edicts of the denomination, reports the New York Times on Thursday.
Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa. said Thursday that he will appeal United Methodist Church officials’ decision to defrock him, essentially stripping him of his rank and title after a formal “church trial” was held.
According to church officials, their "Book of Discipline" condemns Schaefer’s behavior, and the fact that he wedded two homosexual men – despite one being his son – is expressly forbidden in Scripture. Schaefer was told to resign if he could not respect the rules; he refused and church officials annulled his position in the church hierarchy.
Those who convicted him said Schaefer needs to understand that his actions supporting a gay union are “incompatible with Christian teaching.” The Bible does condemn acts of homosexuality, speaking of the practice as being “detestable” in God’s eyes (Leviticus 18:22).
“God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene.”—Romans 1:26, 27.
At 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Bible clearly states that “men who lie with men” are included in those who “will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
Such scriptural principles were waylaid by Rev. Schaefer, said church spokesman John Coleman. In response, Schaefer said he was “hopeful that it wouldn’t come to what it came to — my defrockment.”
"I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community," Schaefer said Thursday. "Jesus called us to be inclusive," he added.
According to NBC News, Schaefer, who has three gay children, said he will appeal the decision on the basis that he was suspended for the wedding he already performed, and that officials are severely punishing him at the same time that they are warning him.
"I am actively committing to having those discriminatory laws changed and banished from our Book of Discipline," Schaefer said earlier in the week. "That's the only way I can reconcile being a United Methodist at this point."
“I am upset and I’m disappointed but I’m not upset at people, or my colleagues or the church, I’m upset at the exclusionary policies that we have in place, and we must change those policies,” Schaefer said Thursday.