Methodist Minister Risks Punishment After Performing Marriage Ceremony for Gay Son

The United Methodist Church is one of those denominations that (believes it) practices “love the sinner, hate the sin” when it comes to homosexuality. They won’t let “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” into the clergy, they won’t perform gay weddings, and their official guidebook (PDF) says this:

The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.

Oh, but they’ll totally take money from gay parishioners. That’s perfectly fine.

The New York TimesSharon Otterman has a story in Monday’s paper about Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree, a retired Methodist minister who performed the marriage of his gay son. Not surprisingly, the church wants him punished:

Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree

“This ceremony is a chargeable offense” under the rules of the church, wrote the ministers, led by the Rev. Randall C. Paige, pastor of Christ Church in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

But ministers like Mr. Paige believe breaking church law is not the right way to bring about change, said the Rev. Thomas A. Lambrecht, the vice-president of Good News, a traditionalist Methodist group. “Reverend Ogletree is acting in a way that is injurious to the church, because it fosters confusion in the church about what we stand for,” he said. “And it undermines the whole covenant of accountability that we share with each other as pastors.”

Yes, he’s harming the church by performing a wedding for his son. Evil bastard…

There is an upside to all of this. Rev. Ogletree is retired, so they can’t really do anything to him — It’s not like his congregation’s going to leave him since he’s no longer in the pulpit and he’s no longer drawing an income from the church so even a suspension will have no meaningful impact.

The only punishment they can give him is a spiritual one. And while atheists can brush those off entirely (God’s upset with me? Yeah, I’m over it), it’s likely that Ogletree won’t care either, since he firmly believes what he did is perfectly in line with his faith.

The overarching story in all of this — one that never gets stated outright in the article — is that a man did something kind and decent and wonderful, but he’s being told it’s awful and immoral and worthy of retribution because… Jesus.

I hope he brushes off whatever punishment the church gives him. He did nothing wrong and other ministers would do well to follow his lead. If enough of them did, they could just vote to overturn the idiotic rule (as Methodists do because the Scripture-based rulebook works by majority rule).

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brett.falkenberg Brett Falkenberg

    Oh Methodists… You were just added to my Evangelical list. Pity.

    • http://twitter.com/jeffreydbrown Jeffrey D. Brown

      With respect, do you really devote that much time to thinking about what Christians are doing?

      • http://www.facebook.com/brett.falkenberg Brett Falkenberg

        I did when I grew up Roman Catholic, had a crisis of faith, and became a Unitarian. I studied a LOT of the Protestant faiths looking for something that could go with my conscience.

      • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

        It’s really disappointing because Methodists are generally one of the more actively progressive denominations. When my dad was working with the local interfaith group, the Methodists were just about the nicest and most active.

      • Hat Stealer

        Do you know what site you’re on?

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        What Christians are doing often affects the rest of us. So yes some of us spend a lot of time thinking about that because it’s in our faces every damned day.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684968309 Charles M Taylor

      Hey buddy, how about learning to differentiate between what the church leadership wants and what people in their congregations want. They’re not a bunch of automatons that blindly do what the Council of Bishops tells them to. Or are you going to commit the same crime of so many theists and lazily assume they all think alike? Change is coming, but it takes longer for some groups than for others.

      • http://www.facebook.com/brett.falkenberg Brett Falkenberg

        Actions speak louder than words…

        • Ryan Lelache

          (I keep trying to reply to this, but Disqus is being temperamental. Might have been too long, so I’ll make it short! :P)

          I wonder what actions you’re looking for – and I mean that genuinely, not facetiously! I hear this a lot as a Christian who publicly supports same-sex marriage and LGBTQA rights, and I would like to know what others think those like myself should be doing apart from the advocacy and support we already provide to help this cause.

          • Rain

            You could try making up some crap so they can save face and go along with it. Usually when Jesus breaks a law they make up some crap and say Jesus didn’t break any laws, he “fulfilled” the laws. Tell them that they need to “fulfill” some laws so that they can save face and break some church laws. That way they can lie to themselves and be happy, like how they do with other apologetics.

          • SeekerLancer

            Thank you for your advocacy. That doesn’t mean we can’t wish more people would join you though.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            It sounds like you are doing what you can. Sorry if we are ganging up on you but many of us find some of the behavior of theist friends infuriating. They go to anti-gay churches and give their money to them but claim they don’t agree with that part. But part of that church’s money goes to fund things like Prop 8. There’s some serious cognitive dissonance going on among many of these people. You seem aware of the problems but for many there’s a shrug and a half-hearted apology. I find that infuriating. Such people are enabling their church to cause harm to people they think of as their friends. It’s hard for me to understand that. I would leave such an organization rather than let it harm people I care about. But that is not directed at you in particular because you do seem to be attempting to make change from within not just go along and offer excuses.

      • TheG

        Hey Pal, how about you give Brett a break. The Methodists, as an organization, act in fairly kooky manner (as in the case of gay marriage). The people that call themselves Methodists might act differently when dealt with as an individual, but the leadership, in this case, is what is being indicted. This minister isn’t being attacked, my Pal, by common parishioners. The leadership is what forms the stated core beliefs of the organization.

        So, Pal, I want you to consider the following:

        1) If the leadership wasn’t acting on behalf of the organization, others in the leadership would speak out.

        2) If we are talking about the everyday layperson, they can safely assumed statistically to endorse the leadership. If the majority of the laity didn’t approve, either the leadership would be ousted or the common layperson would find a new denomination (further concentrating the aforementioned kookiness as the saner ones leave).

        Yeah. So, we all know he didn’t mean that every person that walks in a Methodist Church of any given Sunday doesn’t think people showing compassion to Teh Gayz should be punished. And we all, save you, understood what he meant: the leadership as representatives of the organization did what the majority of Methodists approve of. There are lazy assumptions out there, but there are misguided screeds from people that demand so much precision that language is meaningless.

        • Ryan Lelache

          “the leadership as representatives of the organization did what the majority of Methodists approve of”

          On the whole this isn’t really accurate. Church leadership in the UMC is not nearly as democratized as you seem to be implying. As general laity, I have no immediate say in who gets voted as District Superintendent for my region, or Bishop for my state. There are some laity involved in that process, but it’s by far a small subset of the population.

          As has been noted in some of the other comment threads by myself and others, there is a huge split in the UMC between supporters of and detractors against same-sex marriage & ordination and LGBTQA rights within and without the church. Last year’s General Conference was a mess, largely due to this issue – conservatives from the US and Africa shut down a lot of proposed legislation for LGBTQA rights and more inclusive doctrinal language, but they didn’t go up against nobody in that voting.

          • TheG

            Yet their butts are still in those same pews… interesting.

            Vote with your feet. Or dollars.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            That’s not entirely true. No, you don’t get a vote, but they are dependent on your money. Your contributions are in a way a vote. So long as the money is coming in, those in power view that as a vote supporting whatever they are doing.

            • Ryan Lelache

              In re: to Houndentenor and TheG,

              I do vote with my dollars, as do a number of my peers – only providing funding to committees, funds, orgs, etc. where we know exactly how the money is spent and agree with how it is being spent (e.g. UMCOR, which puts 100% of funds towards non-evangelical humanitarian causes, a la Tsunami/Hurricane relief, etc.). Personally, most of my donations go to non-UM orgs anyway, primarily AIDS, Diabetes, & MS support.

      • Derrik Pates

        Since apparently they work on a majority-rules basis, if enough people really want to change that, it certainly sounds like they could. I, for one, hope they will. Probably not today, or tomorrow. But hopefully, soon.

        • Ryan Lelache

          It’s a bit more convoluted than that, but overall you’re essentially right. The whole thing is really messy (voting only occurs every 4 years, represented by a subset of clergy and laity, and includes congregations from outside the US), so it isn’t something that will change tomorrow. But if last year’s conference was any indication, there is a shift going on and (if it continues), the UMC might see some more interesting voting going on in 2016.

      • SeekerLancer

        Nobody makes these arguments when someone brings up Catholics even though it’s just as true for them. Just an observation.

        The original post should be more clear to attack the institution and not individuals but until change comes more individuals like the pastor in this article need to stand up for that change.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        I can differentiate but I don’t understand why people continue to provide financial support to an organization that acts in opposition to their values.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreydbrown Jeffrey D. Brown

    Why is this noteworthy for atheists? Methodists haven’t interfered with me lately, and I’m inclined to return their favor.

    • Ibis3

      You’re just asking to be Godwinned aren’t you, Mr. Privileged?

      • http://twitter.com/jeffreydbrown Jeffrey D. Brown

        I’m a little curious as to why you would refer to me as “Mr. Privileged,” knowing, as you do, nothing about me at all. Admittedly to my surprise, the topic is drawing discourse, so peace and more power to them.

        • Bob Becker

          Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me for the leaders of a denomination to expect ministers of that denomination to follow the denomination’s rules regarding such matters as church sanctified marriages. And I’m afraid I agree with Mr. Brown that this is pretty much Methodists’ business. Not being Methodist, or a believer of any sort, it’s not mine.

          • Castilliano

            Christians moving toward a more humanistic view is important. They may not shed the crazy supernatural beliefs, but they are shedding the hateful ones.
            It’s a point in Reason’s corner.

        • amycas

          “They haven’t interfered with me lately..” kind of makes it sound like because *you* personally haven’t felt any effects from this particular branch, means that we should not talk about what they did here.

    • Ibis3

      You’re just asking to be Godwinned aren’t you, Mr. Privileged?

    • Amakudari

      That doesn’t seem like a very effective place to draw the line, and you probably wouldn’t find it very helpful if others had the same attitude were you the victim of an injustice. Hemant and commenters here are merely criticizing the church’s stance on sexuality, and the Methodist Church is free to express opinions about things I’m involved in (whether or not I agree with the content). That sort of dialogue and criticism is good for society.

      In any case, this blog often focuses on the intersection between religion and social issues, which is why this article is here (or “noteworthy”).

    • SeekerLancer

      Hemant blogs frequently about gay rights issues. It’s his blog he can’t post what he wants just like you can read what you want.

      But if you need a reason for it to be relevant I guess you can say this shows how even progressive churches can have harmful doctrines on the subject of human rights.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Because it’s an important issue in our country and because the only argument against gay marriage is a religious one, it is therefore noteworthy to atheists. It’s likely that after this issue is settled, the theocrats will come after some issue that affect you directly. Will you want others not directly affected to care about that one?

  • Ryan Lelache

    As a member of the UMC, I want to say that I absolutely 100% fully support the actions of Rev. Ogletree and any and all other pastors, ministers, priests, chaplains, etc. who perform marriage ceremonies for homosexual couples. Sadly, my home state (NJ) hasn’t gotten around to officially recognizing these unions, but in states where it’s legal I’m really glad there are individuals making a point to honor real love over a desire to hold on to this ‘tradition’ (and some, even in our state and those like it, still holding ceremonies in spite of the lack of government recognition of the act).

    And in response to Mr. Falkenberg below, I would like to note that there is a significant split inside the UMC right now between clergy who support and don’t support homosexual marriage and ordination. The church – as a whole – is far from evangelical, in the sense that the word is used nowadays, though there are some areas of the country and world where that term would easily apply to some Methodist churches and individuals.

    • Ryan Lelache

      EDIT: *clergy and laity

    • Erp

      If I remember correctly the United Methodists are far more international than most other US Protestant denominations and international in countries that are far more conservative as far as lgbt rights than the US much less Europe. This means that even if most parts of the UMC in the US are liberal on lgbt issues it won’t change the overall denomination policy.

      As example of liberal, one of the UMC churches in my town has rainbow banners outside.

      • Ryan Lelache

        Yes, you’re correct. There are conferences of the UMC in the US and abroad that are very much connectional. I’m fairly certain that the US and African UMCs actually vote together at the General Conference (I’m not super well-versed in the church’s workings, honestly, so I’m not 100% sure how it works).

        From what I remember, a large portion of the leadership from the African UMC and the more conservative leadership from the US held up a lot of legislation at last year’s GC in regards to a) same-sex ordination/marriage and even b) more inclusive language in the Book of Disclipline. Things *are* changing within the UMC, but slowly. Most of the progress is on an individual church level, not so much in the governing bodies.

      • Ryan Lelache

        Also, really wish our local UMC church(es) had rainbow banners outside it. Case in point, the split even runs within church walls. Progress, though.

    • Alice

      I know there are some Methodist churches that are openly gay-affirming, even in the Bible belt.

    • ShoeUnited

      I have to ask. If your church doesn’t support the beliefs you support why are you a member of your church? Clearly the UMC doesn’t wholly support gay rights. So why be a Methodist? I’m not trying to coerce you into atheism. There’s a hundred and fifty or more different flavors of Christianity out there alone. It’s like if you were you as a Christian and you prayed in mosques and gave money to Islamic churches. It doesn’t make any sense if it doesn’t reflect your principles.

      You don’t have to be tied to a church just because your parents or whatever were. If they don’t reflect what you believe God’s intentions are, then choose someone who does. You’re not required to be a Methodist, and one of the advantages of the US is that you can shop around for religion.

      As I said, it’s not my job to make you an atheist. But when someone says “I totally hate what these guys are doing here.” but claims to be the same group identity and gives them money? I have to wonder how honest they’re being. Not to me or the public, but with themselves.

      The best way to get a church’s attention is to quit giving them money.

      • sophocleese

        I am Canadian and despise our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. But I’m not going to change my citizenship, instead I will fight for to stop him being re-elected. My country is not a shampoo that I will stop buying because I don’t like the lack of ethics in the head office.

        People stay in communities that they are part of and that they’ve put effort into. They do it, perhaps, because of habit, because of friends, because they see potential for improvement. This is how churches, choirs and sports organizations have shifted and altered over and over again. Throughout the centuries they’s splintered, fallen apart and disappeared.

        I’m not going to despise those that decide to stay and work to make their community a better place. I know its a hard fight at times and there is no guarantee of success.

        • ShoeUnited

          I’m not asking you to change your citizenship. The allegory is that if you were part of the party that Stephen Harper is in. And they constantly elect Stephen Harpers. My question would be why you didn’t change to another political party.

          I didn’t suggest the person should leave, I asked why they were 1 particular religious sect. It’s not like it’s in the Middle East where a lot of the time being the wrong religion can mean death. It’s the US. Shopping around for religions is nothing new.

          And as the case of your example: If you don’t like Mr. Harper and the people who support him and constantly re-elect him, why aren’t you changing to a political party that’s most in line with your voice? Failing that, why not try to form your own party? Why do you keep giving a party money when they make decisions that are unilaterally against your moral code?

          Nobody’s saying this person should become an atheist anymore than I’d tell you to leave Canada. But that doesn’t mean you need to constantly give money to and vote Labour Party year after year any more than Ryan has to be a Methodist. There’s options.

        • Sonja

          What does this have to do with this discussion????

      • Ryan Lelache

        The assumption here seems, though, like it might be that you assume UMC membership correlates directly to financial support. While tithing is an assumed ‘good practice’, it’s by no means a hard lined requirement for membership.

        Personally, I’m very choosy about where my money goes, so I very rarely put my money in the ‘golden dish’ on Sundays. Rather, I wait to put it in special weekly funds for groups that are doing humanitarian work (e.g. UMCOR, which puts 100% of funds towards relief efforts abroad, no evangelism allowed). Even then, I easily donate more to non-religious groups in support of AIDS, diabetes, and MS research than I do on religiously-affiliated groups.

        I may be an odd-one-out in this situation, but it’s my way of voting with my wallet.

        And no, you are right, I’m not required to be a Methodist by any means – the reasons I have for being a member of the UMC are multi-faceted and a bit more complex than ‘I grew up in it’ or ‘I align with their discipline’ (especially since neither of those statements is even remotely true for me). I do, however, see a shift in popular opinion on some key social issues within the UMC, and am actively trying to be a part of the change and progress being made, rather than leave and potentially attribute to its stagnation.

    • ortcutt

      I’m kind of sick of people making excuses for being members of discriminatory institutions and organizations.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        I’m only sick of it when people apologize for the fundamentalists to gay people but don’t confront the fundies in any way. Those folks are enablers, but there are people inside many denominations working for change from inside. So long as they are working and not just apologizing while they do nothing, that doesn’t bother me at all.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        right there with you, friend.

      • Ryan Lelache

        I missed the part where I was making an excuse. Rather, voicing my support for a pastor who did something notable (and those who, like him, have done the same) and explaining that the internal workings of the institution being discussed aren’t simply as black-and-white as they’ve been painted by some in this thread of discussion.

        I don’t agree with everything the UMC does or stands for, something I can say is the same for a large number of my peers who belong to the church at large (both clergy and laity). And, at least in the subset of those individuals I know, we’re actively making our voices heard and trying to make this change happen from within.

        I am sorry that you see this as an excuse and that it makes you ‘kind of sick’, but this is part of our way of making change happen from within.

        • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

          I’m not sure how this makes any more sense that a bunch of left wingers campaigning and voting for the Republicans, and then attempting ‘change from within’. Merely turning up gives these organisations the social and political weight that they use to harm people, and you’re making yourself complicit in that.

          I think the key thing is that people just don’t see why you’d want to join a church that you don’t agree with any more than you would a political party. And it’s not like there aren’t plenty of churches to choose from.

          • RebeccaSparks

            I think you’re oversimplifying a situation where an organization does some things you believe in, but not all things you believe in. There used to be several atheist republicans on this board (are you guys still here?) who were fiscal conservatives & state rights, but atheists and social progressives. It’s not like changing to Democrat was going to fit them any better. If you’re Methodist/Christian but you’re for gay rights, the UMC has a rather large faction for gay rights. If you’re feminist and atheist, you don’t have to choose one or the other-you can fight for a space where you can be both.

            • Anna

              I guess the argument is that the UMC will be forced to change if all the progressives jump ship and stop giving them money. That may or may not be true, but it’s worth considering. Why support an anti-gay church if you can choose another church that isn’t anti-gay?

              United Methodists can choose, for example, to become members of the United Church of Christ, which already officially supports same-sex marriage.

              • RebeccaSparks

                I that might be the argument but I think it would be more true (and more to the atheist’s vision) If all the progressives jumped ship, then in theory all that would be left is the homophobic, socially conservative who will increasingly become more & more out of touch with the socially progressive mainstream. Eventually UMC would wither and die as their members either left or died of old age.

                I think that the UMC though is ultimately going to be one of the factions that accepts LGBT in the near future, (although I am probably biased with the extremely gay-friendly St Marks I visited for a few months, several years ago). 1/3 of UMC voted to add a non-discrimination clause that would allow for gay marriage. It didn’t pass because it’s not the majority, but I think that it’s a significant enough figure that if social trends continue to swing pro-gay, it will pass very soon. While Olgetree was doing a personal, familial act, he also knowingly was acting in defiance of what he saw was a discriminatory ruling–something he has had a history of doing. People are pushing inside UMC to change the rules. If you were making the decision to leave UMC based soley on the question of gay rights, now would be an odd time to leave.

                • Anna

                  At least with the United Methodists, there’s a mechanism to bring about change and indications that the church is heading towards progressiveness. So I don’t fault the people who want to stay and fight for equality, as long as they’re actually fighting for equality and not just passively waiting for change to happen.

                  With an institution like the Catholic church, though, I’d advise progressives to get the heck out of dodge. There are some churches where change is possible, and some where it just isn’t, no matter how much the laity wants it.

                • Ryan Lelache

                  Followed this thread today, though didn’t have much a chance to respond due to being at work. Thank you both, Anna & RebeccaSparks, for your thoughtful discussion and comments.

                  The last point in your most recent comment, Anna, is spot-on: there is a mechanism for change within the Church, and even though there are very vocal factions and organizations within the church, there are a lot of folks who want these changes to happen, and if we continue to make our case (along with overwhelming social change from without the church) we might sway some of those more on-the-fence to reconsider their stance on the issue.

                  Heck, if we can even get the church to vote majority that we agree to disagree on these social issues, we can at least move forward from there. My hope is that annual conferences make some headway over the next three years and that 2016 paints a different picture for the UMC. We’ll see where it goes, but there are going to at least be some strong voices making themselves heard in the meantime.

                  (Also, thank you for your considerate responses. So often, as a politically moderate/left-leaning Christian, it’s easy to get caught between Christians who think I’m “not Christian enough” and non-Christians [particularly those of the non-theistic world views] who think I am not “not-Christian enough.” I’m glad to know that a good portion on here are willing to have a civil and productive conversation about these issues. Thank you for that!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dharmaworks David Benjamin Patton

    Again, my belligerent response is _so fucking what?_

    I couldn’t care less what these people think about something that is none of their fucking business anyway. After 30 fucking years of dealing with this bigoted bullshit my patience for continuing to deal with it has LONG since past.

  • Shawn Gunn

    The church really should listen to this guy. He’s the face that’s going to save Christianity…or at least slow the demise…

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Honestly, I’m not sure that’s true. I belonged to some of these liberal churches before realizing I just didn’t believe at all. The Congregations are aging. The new members are mostly refugees from Fundamentalist churches. Their children don’t see any reason for organized religion. it’s only the Fundamentalists that are growing. The moderate to liberal congregations are diminishing and what we are going to be left with in another few generations is nonbelievers (of various kinds) and hardcore fundamentalists. That seems like a dangerous future for our country but an unavoidable one.

  • digitalatheist

    Good thing he wasn’t a Southern Baptist. After all, we SBC’ers know that Methodist are nothing but watered down Cat-lickers. /snark-casm>
    Good for him. He did what was write for someone he loves.

  • Rain

    But ministers like Mr. Paige believe breaking church law is not the right way to bring about change,

    Okay then just “fulfill” it then. You know, like how Jesus didn’t break any laws, he just “fulfilled” them. So you just go and “fulfill” the church law. Yeah how do you like them weaselly fancy-pants apologetics thrown right back in your face. Now the shoe is on the other foot mister minister. How do you like them apples dude.

    • Rain

      Now how the heck did this dumb comment get eight thumbs up.. You guys are okay in my book. :D

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Not surprisingly, the church wants him punished:…

    Obviously, they think he is going to roast in Hell for eternity for this transgression. But that’s not punishment enough. They want to punish him in t his world. What does this tell you about their commitment to their doctrine?

    • allein

      What kind of punishment can they give him, anyway, when he’s retired and no longer on their payroll?

  • RebeccaSparks

    I find this rather confusing, since I thought a large part of the UMC were part of the reconciling congregation network. At least in Sacramento, the St.Mark’s UMC marched in the Gay pride parade, handed out
    CRISIS: 40 STORIES REVEALING THE PERSONAL, SOCIAL, AND RELIGIOUS PAIN AND TRAUMA OF GROWING UP GAY IN AMERICA, and openly opposed prop 8.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      I currently work for a UMC congregation as a musician. I was concerned on Scout Sunday that the topic of gay rights would come up. It didn’t. It was almost surprising that it didn’t. The issue seems to still be controversial in the denomination and in keeping with the current practice of mainstream protestant churches, they just don’t talk about things that are divisive. It’s odd but that’s what seems to be happening. They are mostly very nice people and personally I think their main reason for attending church is to participate in social activities and community programs like their food pantry.

      • RebeccaSparks

        “they just don’t talk about things…”

        They being that congregation or they being the UMC at large? It’s been a long time since I went to any church, including St Marks or any UMC, but I remember they (being part of the reconciling network) talked about it a lot. And apparently it came up in a vote at the last big UMC meeting for a vote to change the by-laws to include gay marriage (which didn’t pass…)

        Actually, after your reply I visited the reconciling network page and read the article they had for Rev. Ogletree. Which was very interesting. I particularly liked this paragraph:

        “Ogletree served as a professor and dean over his 50 year career. In addition to authoring books and articles, he wrote a section in the Book of Discipline, the very rulebook under which he is now charged. Ogletree has shown a lifelong commitment to social justice, going back to his involvement with The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee starting in 1959. His first civil disobedience arrest was at a segregated lunch counter with African-American colleagues, including Congressman John Lewis.”

        http://www.rmnetwork.org/ogletreepress/

        It talked more about the Alter for All commitment than the Time article, which is the pledge that over +1000 UMC clergy have signed saying that they will officiate gay marriages.

  • Erp

    I hadn’t initially realized from the above posting that the minister presiding over the marriage, Thomas W. Ogletree, isn’t just an ordinary minister but past dean of Yale Divinity School. In other words he has taught hundreds of ministers (in several different denominations) over the years and is someone who is almost certainly listened to within mainline Christianity.

    This is going to be an interesting battle within the UMC.

  • Anna

    I think we need a tag for “Methodists!” There have been numerous blog posts about Methodists Behaving Badly. It seems like this is one denomination that is generally considered benign, yet there are frequent stories of them doing and saying harmful things.

  • Silent Service

    A friend of mine used to be a Methodist Minister. This issue is one of the reasons she left the UMC and went looking for a denomination more in line with her spiritual beliefs.

  • Labyrinthia

    As part of my “immunize them against Christianity” plan, I usually find one or two mainstream Protestant type church vacation bible schools for my baby brothers to attend. Basically it’s cheap/free day camp, and then we get to talk about the many logical fallacies behind, say, zombie Lazarus. And if usually conflicts with our local Jesus rode dinosaurs and everyone is going to hell camp, which for whatever ridiculous reason they are ALWAYS invited to. Anyway, this year I was planning on them going to a Methodist church and a Presbyterian church (the Presbyterian denomination that performs same sex marriage, ordains gay people, etc). Now, not so sure. Hmm.

  • lightweaver

    I’m entirely proud of this man for not letting others dictate how he practices his faith.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lyuba-Allenivna-Marchenko/100002084180724 Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko

    Same shite, different mudaki. Methodists, get OVER YOURSELVES! It’s not like the minister axe-murdered little old ladies. Quit being hypocrites.

  • Robster

    Are they going to ask the other 15 practising Methodists?

  • Sonja

    The Methodist Church needs to split, those more liberal wanting to recognize same sex marriages and homosexuals in the pulpit, need to leave the denomination and start there own!

  • alana zima

    I support him sending him to jail or punishing him is like saying that if his son was straight he could marry him but if hes gay he cant aren’t we taught not to judge because god does the judgeing for us this is y my faith is becoming lost its ok for on thype of people but not ok for others if u ask me that’s racisim and it need to stop I cant take it no more


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