Comments about ‘United Methodist minister won't quit voluntarily over same-sex wedding’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 16 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Christopher B
Ogden, UT

Easy enough to just fire him.

I applaud this church for their great work.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

Schaefer is a courageous man, acting in a long and honored tradition of civil disobedience. Heck, the very word "Protestant" originated with brave men and women who protested against the policies of their church.

And no, Chris, the Methodist church can't "just fire" him. He doesn't have to work for a church to be a licensed minister. They would have to -- and they have the authority to -- pull his credentials (defrock him), however.

I applaud Schaefer for forcing more discussion of this issue. The United Methodist Church members are already split over the issue of gay marriage -- this, along with the ongoing support of people like Bishop Talbert, may help to push the congregation over the edge.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

I defend the right of the Methodist Church to impose its system of church discipline. As for the minister who is making a courageous stand on grounds of conscience, I don't need to defend him so much as I wish to commend him.

Cleetorn
Fuaamotu, Tonga

"The Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members but rejects the practice of homosexuality as 'incompatible with Christian teaching.'"

This is simple enough to understand. The United Methodist Church loves the sinner but not the sin. Many Christian churches are adopting the same stance. It really isn't that big of a deal - except for those who can't - or won't - recognize the difference between the sin and the sinner. In other words, follow the old adage of "don't throw the baby our with the bathwater."

Don Bugg
Prince Frederick, MD

Contrarius tries to make a distinction between "firing" a minister and "defrocking" him. I don't see how that distinction is meaningful. If his credentials are revoked and he's no longer recognized by the United Methodist Church as one of its ministers, then I don't see why we should try to say he hasn't been "fired."

Billy Bob
Salt Lake City, UT

Good for the Church for sticking to their principles. There are plenty of Churches that the minister could go to if he wants to be able to perform same-sex marriages. And although I completely disagree with the minister, good for him for standing up for what he believes in. He is wrong, but his heart is probably in the right place. Also I agree with the idea that we (Christians in general) should hate the sin but not the sinner. We are all sinners in our own way. Don't hate someone because they sin differently then you.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@Don Bugg --

"Contrarius tries to make a distinction between "firing" a minister and "defrocking" him. I don't see how that distinction is meaningful."

There's a huge distinction. Schaefer can continue to officiate at weddings whether or not he is receiving a salary from a church. But he can't officiate at weddings if his credentials are revoked.

It's much easier to fire a minister from a church than it is to revoke his credentials. The only way to revoke a minister's credentials in the UMC is a conviction in their church court. In Schaefer's case, of course, he's already been convicted -- so the church now has the authority to defrock him.

OTOH, I am betting that even if they do defrock him one of the denominations that already performs gay weddings -- like Evangelical Lutheran, Unitarian, Metropolitan Community Church, Episcopalian, and so on -- would take him in.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Contrarius" this is nothing like an act of civil disobedience. This is more like the kids at the swimming pool that run along the deck. They are not doing anything couragous, they are just breaking rules.

He did nothing couragous. In fact he probably did the least coragous thing possible. Rather than living up to the standards of his faith, he caved. If he was to be couragous, he would have politely declined to perform the marriage and would have attended the wedding as any other parent would have.

Think about the damage he has now caused within his congregation. If I was a member of his congregation I would be questioning everything that was taught by this man. What else did he teach and believe in that was not in accordance with the Methodist church?

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Contrarius
"And no, Chris, the Methodist church can't "just fire" him. "

They're paid (not extravagantly, but still paid nonetheless) clergy, firing is an option.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@Redshirt1701
"In fact he probably did the least coragous thing possible. "

The least courageous thing possible would be to lie about his own beliefs on the matter.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@Redshirt1701 --

"this is nothing like an act of civil disobedience."

Of course it is.

"He did nothing couragous."

Of course he did. He put his livelihood and reputation in peril for the sake of his children and his convictions.

"Think about the damage he has now caused within his congregation. "

Forcing a congregation to think is not damage. Christians should be able to think for themselves rather than swallowing dogma wholesale.

@atl134 --

"They're paid (not extravagantly, but still paid nonetheless) clergy, firing is an option."

I didn't state that well. As I explained further in my previous post -- they could fire him, but that wouldn't stop him from performing gay marriages. The only thing that will stop him from officiating at weddings is to revoke his credentials.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Contrarius" if it is a matter of civil disobedience, then tell us what laws did he break? Since the definition of "civil disobedience" is "refusal to obey governmental demands or commands especially as a nonviolent and usually collective means of forcing concessions from the government." What laws or government demands did he refuse to violate?

The fact is that he was obeying the law when he performed the marriage, since the state that he lives it permits gay marriage.

Bob K
porland, OR

Christopher B
Ogden, UT
"Easy enough to just fire him.

I applaud this church for their great work."

...I suppose when folks who feel that way spoke to Jesus, He told them "To heck with the guy, for not refusing his son his most important and heartfelt request."

Then, are we to think that Jesus said "Bless the person who waited six years and used a personal grievance as an excuse to condemn the minister."

The Jesus I was raised to believe in would praise the minister and call the people who complained sinners.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@Redshirt1701 --

"then tell us what laws did he break? "

He broke the laws of his church, of course -- for which he has already been tried and convicted in their ecclesiastical court. Only the final sentencing has yet to be determined.

If you'd rather call his act "ecclesiastical disobedience" instead, that's fine by me -- but it's all part of the same tradition of peaceful protest and failure to comply.

bj-hp
Maryville, MO

To the critics: If this had been a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the following probably would happen:

He would be released as Bishop within months or even weeks after the event. Reason is because he did something against the doctrine of the LDS Church. Failure to say he was wrong in doing it could result in excommunication and loss of all temple blessings.

Do you still find that courageous? He just put his own personal feelings and the way of the world above the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Father.

He worried more about what man could do to him than what the Father would do to him. Just as David who took Basheba as his wife without approval from God, he also had the true husband murdered. He let his own lusts destroy him. If you say it isn't the same then put it bluntly, sexual sin is one of the grievous sins around and is just below murder. Sexual sins includes premarital sex, adultery, and any homosexual act. We are in the last days before the second coming of the Lord. All of this was prophesized years ago.

Jazzsmack
Holladay, UT

@bj-hp

Amen!

It is more courageous to stand against what is currently popular than to embrace it.

Contrariuser
mid-state, TN

@bj-hp --

"He just put his own personal feelings and the way of the world above the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Father."

Who are you to claim that you know what God actually wants?

The Mormon church believes in continuous revelation. For all you know, there may be a revelation tomorrow saying that gay marriage is just fine and dandy. That's not likely, of course -- but the point is that, given continuous revelation, the "word of God" as received by humans can ALWAYS change.

"sexual sin is one of the grievous sins around and is just below murder"

So you should be worrying about stoning adulterers, including divorcees -- which are much more common than married homosexuals, which are mentioned more frequently in the Bible than homosexuality, and which break up more families with children than homosexuals ever will.

Even by your own principles, gay marriage DECREASES sexual sin. It encourages monogamy and commitment instead of promiscuity. How is that a bad thing?

RedShirtCalTech
Pasedena, CA

To "Contrariuser" again, you are wrong. Gay marriage would add to their sins. God has declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. So, first it is a sin for gays to marry, second, gay sexual relationships are also a sin.

As for the word of God changing, that is not possible. If the revelations of God can change, then God is not consistent. If that is true, then how do we know what is required to enter Heaven? Thinking like that is typically used by people to justify their straying from doctrine.

Contrariusiests
mid-state, TN

@RedShirtCalTech --

"Gay marriage would add to their sins."

There is no commandment saying "Thou shalt not marry someone of your own gender."

"God has declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. "

"God", in the form of the Biblical interpretation of him, also declared that all adulterers should be stoned -- and that included divorcees who remarried.

Are you ready to pick up your rocks?

"gay sexual relationships are also a sin."

Adultery is also a sin. Where are your rocks?

Monogamy is still going to be less sinful than promiscuity. There's just no way around that one.

"As for the word of God changing, that is not possible."

Read my words again, Red. I very clearly said **as received by humans **.

"If the revelations of God can change, then God is not consistent. "

Joseph Smith himself said: "God said, 'Thou shalt not kill' at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted - by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed."

Would you like to accuse Joseph Smith of straying from doctrine?

Lilly Munster
netherlands, 00

This is how the advancement of Human Rights and Freedom from Ignorance and Repression works; you stand up to Bigotry. We know in our hearts that he did the Moral Thing. Bigotry, no matter how grounded in "tradition" or "doctrine" is always wrong.

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