This week United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer in Pennsylvania was found “guilty” of officiating at his son’s gay wedding by church officiials. Now the gentle and loving Methodist “jury” has sentenced him to a 30-day suspension only after they demanded that he denounce the wedding which he refused to do.
Frank Schaefer, 51, the pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was found guilty by a jury of 13 ordained clergy members on two counts: officiating a same-sex wedding and being disobedient to the discipline and order of the church, according to Cathy Husid-Shamir, a Schaefer family spokesperson. Schaefer received a concurrent 30-day suspension for both counts. If he does not uphold the church’s discipline after the suspension, he must surrender his credentials, according to Husid-Shamir. The jury had full power in determining Schaefer’s penalty, which could have ranged from a reprimand to a full defrocking.
“I feel I have to be an advocate, an outspoken advocate for all lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people,” Schaefer told reporters while wearing a rainbow colored stole after learning his sentence, adding that he expects to be defrocked when his 30-day suspension is up.
The church “needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation,” he told jurors. “We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians. I will never be silent again, this is what I have to do.”