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Rev. Frank Schaefer
The Right of LGBT People to Marry
Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist pastor from Pennsylvania who was defrocked by the denomination for officiating at his son’s wedding to his same-sex partner, stated: “To me this is a human rights issue,” he said during an interview in his parish office. “If being of a certain sexual orientation is who you are as a person, if that is genetic, who are we to say that these persons do not have the same rights as everybody else.”
Schaefer said the issue is particularly of interest to him not only as a man of religion, but as a United Methodist minister because the Book of Discipline tells him that he is to minister to all equally, regardless of economic status, sexual orientation, race, nationality. He says the bylaws mention sexual orientation specifically.
Rev. Schaefer was defrocked by the United Methodist Church because he would not denounce same-sex marriage and would not commit to never performing another same-sex ceremony. The final decision was made to defrock Schaefer after a full church trial. The terms of the guilty verdict as reported by MSNBC were “A 30-day suspension and if at the end of 30 days, Schaefer still refused to denounce same-sex marriage; he would have to give up his credentials.”
I cannot go back to being a silent supporter. I must continue to be in ministry with all people and speak for LGBT people. I wear this rainbow stole as a visible sign that this is who I am called to be.
Jonathan L. Walton
Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church (FAS)
Professor of Religion and Society (HDS)
Blessed Are The Rich: A theological account and response to income inequality
Social ethicist and scholar of American religions Jonathan L. Walton joined the faculty of Harvard Divinity School in July 2010 and was appointed Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church beginning July 2012. Formerly an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, Walton earned his PhD in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a BA in political science from Morehouse College in Atlanta.
His research addresses the intersections of religion, politics, and media culture. Drawing on British cultural studies, Walton explores the interrelationship between the media used by Christian evangelists and the theologies thereby conveyed. He argues for forms of theological innovation within the productions of religious broadcasting that are enabled—perhaps even generated—by the media that evangelists use, and he asks what the implications are for the study of evangelical Christianity when one attends to these particular forms of religious and theological performance. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism (NYU Press, 2009), is an important intervention into the study of American religion, as it disrupts commonly held assumptions that associate evangelical broadcasting with white, conservative evangelical communities. Professor Walton has also published widely in scholarly journals such as Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation and Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. His current research interests include the development of neo-Pentecostalism in the postwar era and the cultural impact of the prosperity gospel movement in varying global contexts.