Last week, Rev. Frank Schaefer (pictured) of Pennsylvania was found “guilty” by a jury of fellow United Methodist Church pastors of officiating his gay son’s same-sex wedding back in 2007. He was sentenced to a 30-day suspension. Afterwards, he will face a choice: Adhere to the laws dictated in the church’s Book of Discipline and renounce same-sex marriage, or surrender his credentials.
Last Friday, Schaefer spoke out about his “conviction” during an interview on SiriusXM Progress.
“I didn’t do this to make a rebellious statement against the church,” Schaefer stated. “I said to the jury, ‘Look, all of this, in the last few weeks, has really outed me to the world in terms of where I stand on my theology. I have become an advocate for the LGBT community. I can no longer be a silent supporter.”
The church claims to accept LGBT members, but rejects the practice of homosexuality, deeming it “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Schaefer, however, does not subscribe to that opinion.
“To me this is discrimination,” he said during last week’s interview. “It’s not right. So many people have been hurt … It has to stop. We’ve got to realize what we’re doing here with our theology, our doctrine, and really, our hate speech.”
Schaefer said he would happily officiate other gay or lesbian weddings while he’s a still a pastor. So far, no couples have come forward, but he has until December 18. After that, since he does not plan on following the order to renounce same-sex marriage, he expects to be defrocked.
This may be the end of his pastorship, but somehow we think it’s only just the beginning of Schaefer’s story.