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Smart Talk: Defrocked pastor Frank Schaefer

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | May 4, 2014 2:54 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, May 5, 2014:

Frank Schafer 300 x 220.jpg

In a case that made national headlines and had much of the country talking about how and whether religion and homosexuality can co-exist, Lebanon County minister Frank Schaefer was defrocked for officiating his son's same-sex marriage.

The United Methodist Church charged and tried Pastor Schaefer last year with violating his vows and disobeying the Book of Discipline after the church learned of Schaefer's role in the 2007  marriage of his son and his son's partner.

Pastor Schaefer actually was given a reprieve if he promised to never perform a same-sex marriage again.  He declined, noting that three of his four children are gay.

Frank Schaefer appears on Monday's Smart Talk to tell his story and talk about the relationship between organized religion and homosexuality.

It is an especially timely discussion since same-sex marriage and acceptance of the LGBT community continue to be major topics of conversation across the country and here in Pennsylvania.  As Schaefer points out, laws against same-sex marriage are often rooted in religion.

Schaefer was pastor at Lebanon Zion United Methodist Church of Iona until he was defrocked.

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Comments: 7

  • Bob Nunn img 2014-05-05 07:51

    Considering the number of sins/abominations listed in the Bible. I'd like Pastor Schaefer's opinion as to why it seems that the church is so accepting of the people that commit the other sins/abominations listed but have such an issue with homosexuality.

    Is it because of the number of members committing those other sins/abominations, is it money related.

    I asked, Bishop Gainer pretty much the same question, and if I recall his response, it was basically because homosexuals want to be treated as equals. Which is interesting because it seems that the church doesn't have a problem treating other sins as equals.

    • Lisa img 2014-05-05 08:37

      Wonderful comment, Bob. This was basically what my comment was going to be. I also think that Christians need to keep in mind that Christ himself never made any condemnation of human sexuality. When asked directly about adultery, his reply was that we should not condemn others for their sins unless we ourselves were without sin. It is this grace that should be followed in our lives.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-05-05 14:18

    Joel says...
    I believe that Smarttalk, in this mornings program with the Pastor, is missing a major point in why he has been disciplines and defrocked. This has nothing to do with the rights or dignity or even the acceptance of the LGBT community. When you are a representative of any religion or church, or for that matter any organization, you are obligated to stand by you're commitment (in the Pastors case - his vows). You're personal convictions, whether correct or noble, have no bearing on what you are obligated to do. The pastors son could have been married in a civil service, not a religious one. His obligation to his son, was that of a father, not a Minister. He said that he did this out of love, not defiance for his Churches teachings. But in listening to him this morning, it is obvious that he does have an agenda besides the love of his son. I will provide you with a parallel. I was a CPR instructor with both the Red Cross and the AHA for 30 years. Should I have taught outside of the protocol, based upon my advanced medical training, as there were many periods when I felt that what was being taught was detrimental and would decrease victim survival. We all have convictions that do not always agree with what we need to practice or preach. There is no true difference in the responsibility of an ordained minister versus a licensed Physician. If you do not practice what you have committed yourself to do, even when based on personal conscience, you must be willing to face the expected consequences.

    • thinkwrite img 2014-05-07 09:28

      Joel has nailed it. I had a friend who wanted to be ordained in the United Methodist Church, but he did not believe in infant baptism. United Methodists WILL baptize adult believers, but they practice infant baptism, and a pastor can not be ordained in the UM church if he will not baptize a baby. My friend did not try to change the church policy, he decided not to pursue ministry in that church. This case is exactly the same.

      To be honest, here is a man who found himself in this situation, and as a Methodist pastor leading the fairly mundane day to day life of that occupation, in my opinion I would not be surprised if he now enjoys the new acclaim that he has experienced in his quest to change the Methodists.

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-05-05 14:19

    Thomas writes...
    you mentioned tax collectors etc....but finish what JESUS said, you are forgiven, and SIN NO MORE. you are twisting what the church has said. if you think the sexual behavior is normal what gay men do is ok, then you have a problem. and why marriage, why not"domestic partnership".

  • Scott LaMar img 2014-05-05 14:23

    Matthew wrote on Facebook...
    Rev. Shaefer, you are a TRUE man of God. Thank you for standing up for what is right. As a former member of the UMC (and a straight, happily married father of two), I am appalled by the UMC's approach to this issue. They have provided yet another reason for people of conscience to leave the church and seek spiritual nourishment elsewhere. Thank you for your courage!

  • thinkwrite img 2014-05-07 09:42

    Actually what is the whole message of the Christian faith? Isn't it that Christ died on the cross for sin? Do you think that he would allow us to redefine sin 20 centuries after his crucifiction? As someone else quoted, in the passage where the woman was caught in adultery, he said to her "go and sin no more." He says the same thing to all who follow him.

    He also DID speak of sexuality in the passage where he is asked about divorce. He says this: "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." This comment by Christ covers the whole topic without him having to restate a list of sexual sins.

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