PFLAG National leadership of strong and varied faith traditions, including longtime clergy from UMC, issue statements in support of Rev. Schaefer and his family
Today, the leadership of PFLAG National--the nation’s largest organization for parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)--issued public statements in support of Rev. Frank Schaefer, the Pennsylvania-based United Methodist pastor who was given a 30-day suspension after officiating at the wedding of his openly gay son.
|Rabbi David M. Horowitz,|
PFLAG National President
PFLAG National President Rabbi David M. Horowitz stated, “My eyes began to tear as I read about the trial and penalty levied against Rev. Schaefer, whose only crime was loving his son and loving all the members of his flock, LGBT and straight. As a rabbi, I am lucky to be able to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies, and did so for my daughter and her partner, as well as many other loving couples. As any clergy person knows, we are able to be the conduit by which spiritual significance bathes a couple's bond with one another. To be punished for doing so defies both logic and religious sensibilities, and to be forced to choose between one’s faith and one’s family defies any moral justification; it is like asking which child one loves most.”
|Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell,|
PFLAG National Board Member
PFLAG National board member Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell said, “Though now retired, I have been an ordained UMC minister for 57 years and I am saddened that my denomination has not only limited the lives of clergy who are openly gay, it has prohibited clergy from providing ministry for same-sex couples who wish to have a union or a marriage. Penalizing Rev. Schaefer, a father who--as a father--ministered to his child by officiating at his wedding, is nothing less than devastating. I and the other PFLAG National board members express the strongest solidarity with Rev. Schaefer and his family.”
|Jody M. Huckaby,|
PFLAG National Exec. Dir.
And PFLAG National Executive Director Jody Huckaby said, “As part of a large Catholic family whose faith tradition goes back generations, I know how difficult it was for my own parents to resolve their religious beliefs with the love of their children who are LGBT. But they prayed often, talked to others who made the same journey, opened their hearts, and ultimately allowed love to conquer their fears...all while maintaining their lifelong Catholic faith. And that took courage, the same kind of courage being demonstrated now by Rev. Schaefer, a kind of courage which is far too seldom witnessed in faith communities.”
“Now is the time,” said Huckaby, “for religious leaders not only to stand in solidarity with Rev. Frank Schaefer, but also to lift him up and celebrate his courage for allowing his love of family to prevail above all else. PFLAG members and supporters everywhere hold a special place in their hearts for Rev. Schaefer and his family.”