By Pat Loeb
LANCASTER, Pa. (CBS) – Reverend Frank Schaefer has been defrocked for officiating at his son’s wedding to another man (see related story), but he hasn’t left the pulpit. Schaffer gave the sermon at the First United Methodist Church in Lancaster on Sunday.
It was Human Relations Sunday, in honor of Martin Luther King — an auspicious day for Schaefer to bring his message of inclusiveness:
“That’s what Jesus did. He included everyone. He surrounded himself with so many different folks from so many different walks of life.”
Many same-sex marriage opponents cite the bible to support their position, but Schaefer sees only copious evidence that Jesus in the new testament would support it:
“He was concerned about those who were on the margins of society. He had love for those who were rejected by society. That’s the true gospel message. That’s what we should preach.”
Schaefer’s message seemed to resonate with parishioners:
“I thought it was beautiful. It was a message of love and unity and oneness,” parishioner Errick Reider said.
“I thought it was fantastic because it was right on and I understand where the man was coming from,” adds parishioner Eleanor Harnish. “I think till it’s all over there’ll be more defrocked ministers as this goes on because we’re all sinners, saved by grace, and it all boils down to accepting and not being judgemental. It’s up to God to do the judging.”
Methodist officials said last month, they had no choice but to defrock Schaefer because church rules bar clergy from performing same-sex weddings.