After officiating the wedding of his son to his partner, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree — a minister in the United Methodist Church and a retired dean of Yale Divinity School — is facing a possible canonical trial.
The Methodist church does not condone homosexuality and considers it “incompatible with Christian teaching“, but it does welcome gay members. However, “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” can not be ordained as ministers nor can clergy perform same-sex unions.
Ogletree broke the rules when his son Thomas asked him to preside over his wedding to Nicholas Haddad last fall. Two of Ogletree’s five children are gay but since his daughter married her partner in a non-Methodist ceremony, he jumped at the chance to officiate Thomas’.
“I was inspired,” Dr. Ogletree told The New York Times. “I actually wasn’t thinking of this as an act of civil disobedience or church disobedience. I was thinking of it as a response to my son.”
Ogletree is not the first Methodist minister to bless a same-sex union, but his prominent position in the Church — he drafted a section of the rule book, the ominous-sounding Book of Discipline — makes him a target. Still, Ogletree believes it is his command of scripture that gives him an advantage.
“..[T]his is an unjust law,” Ogletree told The Times. “Dr. King broke the law. Jesus of Nazareth broke the law; he drove the money changers out of the temple. So you mean you should never break any law, no matter how unjust it is?”
Photo: Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times