United Methodist Minister In Texas Burns Himself To Death To Protest Homophobia

rev_charles_moore“I have always felt that death for a cause was my destiny,” Rev. Charles Moore’s (pictured) suicide note read, “but never so much as during the past several years — when it has admittedly been a preoccupation.”

Last month, the 79-year-old retired United Methodist minister doused himself with gasoline and set himself ablaze in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in Grand Saline, TX. Horrified onlookers rushed to put out the fire, but their efforts to save Moore were unsuccessful. Charred and unconscious, he was flown to a Dallas hospital where he later died.

“I have never seen anything like this in my entire career in law enforcement, which includes my years as an arson investigator for the Mesquite Fire Department,” police chief Larry Compton told the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Moore was protesting against discrimination against gay people and other social injustices in the world. He left behind a number of suicide notes. In one of them, he cited his church’s refusal to marry same-sex couples as just one of issues he hoped to bring attention to with his death.

Some believe Moore hoped his final act would be perceived as a grand but selfless gesture similar to those of the Buddhist monks who have done the same before him.

“Reverend Moore thought this was going to be a whole lot bigger of a deal than it turned out to be,” Rev. Jeff Hood, a colleague of Moore’s, told HuffPost. “He expected it to make national news.”

Moore’s stepdaughter, Kathy Renfro, said that he “failed to realize… the emotional turmoil that he would leave behind.”

Her husband Bill added: “He did this selfless act, this sacrifice for others, but he also did not think thoroughly through the consequences of the act.”

“I wish I could have sat down and pointed out, ‘Charles, look at what your life has meant to the world. Look at what it’s meant to individuals. You’ve changed their lives.’ ” Renfro said.

This Friday would have marked Moore’s 80th birthday.

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  • Billy Budd

    I don’t agree with this kind of insane protest. The horror of the act is so great that it paradoxically reduces the impact of its message. There are better ways to fight homophobia.

    BTW There is a movie by Ingmar Bergman, called PERSONA, where a guy puts himself into fire just like this pastor did.

  • kevininbuffalo

    This could also move other unstable people to imitate him which is probably why most responsible media ignored it. Queerty, on the other hand …

  • barkomatic

    What an awful, painful way to go. I realize he was 80 and probably thought of this as one last grand gesture before he died anyway — but still. There are non-horrible ways to make a difference. I hope no one else repeats this.

  • DistingueTraces

    Rest in peace, but this is simply an act of mental illness.

  • DB75

    @DistingueTraces: No this is not. I recommend you expand you understanding and look in to self immolation. It is the ultimate form of protest to give one’s life for a cause. You don’t have to agree with it.

    @kevininbuffalo: I doubt anyone will imitate this action. Tibetan monks have been doing this for a while.

    I’m happy Queerty took this article on. Many would have just breezed past it. However, with the anti-religious comments on most articles, this demonstrates that not all Christians are against LGBT and some are in fact so on board with full equality, they’d rather die than live another day in a world where people are treated unfairly.

    Maybe now some people will see that there are real honest Christian allies.

  • Will L

    Senility had already set in. Did he really think we would see that and go “Gee, he’s right. Let’s find a nice girl.” I side with DistingueTraces on this one.

    And besides, who cares? He was 79 and old enough to die anyway. We’ll all miss him.

  • DistingueTraces

    I prefer not to make such a sad event the pretext for an internet squabble.

  • DB75

    @Will L: You obviously didn’t even read the article. He died because there ISN’T full equality.

    You just made yourself look like a complete ass. Kudos!

  • hex0

    Suicide is a SIN in Christianity.

    But I’m glad people like this guy and the French guy who offed himself after they passed SSM are no longer.

  • DB75

    @hex0: So, you can’t read, either? This Rev was a supporter and activist FOR LGBT Equality!! He ended his life because he was distraught about the inequality the LGBT faces.

    BTW – no, suicide is not a sin in Christianity. It is a sin in Catholicism. There is no Protestant equivalent. It’s an assumption.

  • DistingueTraces

    When I was a baby, a friend of my parents immolated himself in protest of the Vietnam War.

    His daughter had been on playdates with my older sisters – and he had her with him when he did it, apparently choosing to spare her only at the last minute.

    Suicide is not political, it is not religious, it is not about whatever event may ostensibly prompt it. Thousands of people suffer pain and grief every day, and they react in a thousand different ways.

    Those who respond to pain with suicide are not those who have suffered the most grievously. They are simply those who no longer wish for more life.

    My prayers to his family.

  • eonardo

    Yall / \ / \. 333 W#y4 ?

  • DickieJohnson

    @eonardo: What’s with the cryptic sh!t? Oh, God!!! Are you Mezaien, under another name???

  • DickieJohnson

    @DistingueTraces: Yes, this is truly tragic. His survivors will never fully recover from this type of loss. Peace.

  • Queer4Life

    Everyone has the right to die how and when they choose. He lived a full life and died for something he believed in rather than toothless and in bed. He chose to make a stand for what was right. I applaud him for using what was left of his life to make a bold statement. “I would rather die horrifically than live in a world where you persecute homosexuals.”. I may be an atheist but I salute you Mr. Moore and thank you for your service.

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