Mandate of love

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I was studying to become an ordained United Methodist pastor in the 1980s when the Methodist bureaucracy came after me to rescind my credentials for being a practicing lesbian. The process was relentless and very painful and to this day still haunts me.

I commiserate with the Rev. Frank Schaefer and his son in their recent ordeal (“Pa. Pastor Who Performed Gay Wedding Suspended,” Nov. 20). It is difficult to fathom that more than 25 years later the situation for Methodist pastors has not changed.

Society has moved mountains regarding this issue and yet Methodist polity remains as archaic as ever. The Methodist Book of Discipline makes clear that thou shall not love another of the same sex or support those who do and hope to survive as a United Methodist minister.

I applaud Rev. Schaefer for his courage to act in an attempt to keep a promise to his son. Tim Schaefer should indeed be proud of his father for not backing down. Jesus was continually up against the Rule of Law for his time and inevitably chose love over legality, challenging the authorities to do the same.

It seems that the Methodist Church, and not Rev. Schaefer, is the body following a heartless practice and one “incompatible with Christian teaching.”


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