According to paragraph 341.6 of The United Methodist Church Book of Disciplines, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” This is a pretty tough double standard to abide by in a church whose main mission is “Open hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” By that creed it is acceptable to believe that in The United Methodist Church, members are open minded about all people no matter what their stature is. There’s even a clause in Article IV that states, “All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.”
So why is it that homosexuals can attend the church, pay tithes to the church, but not get married in the church?
Pastor Frank Schaefer, of Zion United Methodist Church, is putting his credentials on the line for giving his son a chance to live happily ever after. Schaefer’s son has been married six years and now the church has made the decision to have a “church trial” on the issue. According to abcnews, Pastor Frank alerted his superiors in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference that he was going to perform his son’s wedding back in 2007 and they did not give him any “warning or reprimand” at that time. Six years later a parishioner has “filed a complaint, that Schaefer was told he would face discipline for violating a church doctrine.” It was also noted that Schaefer could have avoided a trial if he promised that he would not perform another same-sex ceremony. This may have been easy, but with three out of four of his children being gay that is a promise I am sure no father could make.
I do worry about losing my credentials,” Schaefer said, “but I’m willing to lose them for an act of love.”
Thisis the true meaning of having an open heart and mind. He is a man of God who knows that everyone should be accepted no matter their stature in life; gay, straight, black, white, rich or poor we should be open to everyone just as our church claims to be.
There is a Facebook page called “Stand With Pastor Frank: Support Equality” that already has 4,810 likes and counting. You too can “Stand With Pastor Frank” and support equality for all by “liking” his page. After all, we are in America where we pledge every day to give “liberty and justice for all.”
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