Despicable Churches and the Harm they Cause.

A Post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Pastor Frank Schaefer and his son Tim.

Pastor Frank Schaefer and his son Tim.

Today United Methodist Pastor Frank Schaefer was found guilty by a 13 member jury.

His crime?

*Disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church.*

The jury will reconvene tomorrow to decide on his punishment. He may no longer be permitted  to continue serving the church he has dedicated much of his life to.

I feel a connection to Pastor Schaefer. He is around the same age as me, we were ordained around the same time and we both have 4 children.

That was his undoing… his children… or, at least, his love and compassion for his children. Three or his children are gay and 6 years ago Pastor Schaefer officiate at the same sex marriage of his son.  One month before the statute of limitation was to expire on this *crime*,  Jon Boger, a member of his congregation, brought charges against Pastor Schaefer.

As  reported in USA Today  Boger said that he was…

shocked, dismayed… (and) betrayed when he found out that Schaefer, who had baptized his children and buried his grandparents, had presided over a gay wedding.


Detective Kat Cooper has served the Collegedale Police Force in the state of Tennessee for 11 years. In July this year Kat her wife Krista sat through  Collegedale City Council hearings which finally voted to allow spousal benefits to sex marriage partners of state employees. The reports how Kat*s mother, aunty and uncle remained by their side through the process and how they celebrated together when the positive decision was handed down.

That act of familial love and support was, of course, untenable.

Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ met in private with Kat Cooper’s mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church. (

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners.

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners.


I hope dear Reader, that you are shaking your head n disbelief at the callous legalism that would deny the love and compassion shown by a parent to a gay child and so discount the love of Christ.

But, Reader,  who are you shaking your head at? What is the object of your disbelief? The Ridgedale Church of Christ? The United Methodists?

I have news for you. If you are a part of a congregation of a Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), if you sit in the pews and put your money in the collection plate then you have contributed to that same callous legalism.

A few reminders…

Last year conservative US psychologist Dr Beverley  Yahnke  conducted seminars authorised by the College of Bishops. The seminars  including  in-service training sessions for Pastors, School Chaplains, and church workers.

I have reported extensively on these seminars in the past. I include here some of her comments on how families should respond to a gay child who comes out.  I will let her words speak for themselves.

Dr Yahnkes ministry is overseen by a board of advisors which includes one retired and two present LCA Seminary lecturers and members of the LCA Commission on Theology. Despite protests from numbers of people the LCA continues to promote these  seminars and videos on its official website.

Both the LCA and Lutheran Education Australia continue to fight through legal representation and ongoing government submission to maintain their exemption from Federal anti-discrimination laws. This ensures that they can sack gay pastors, teachers and church workers with impunity. The LCA creates an ongoing culture of fear in the church where gay employees are forced to conduct their most important relationships in secret or, worse, deny themselves the chance of a lifelong, loving and committed relationship for fear that they will loose their ministries and livelihoods.

The LCA just completed a 7 year theological investigation into sexuality where it confirmed that homosexuality is sinful, disordered and diseased. According to *Counting Themselves In* (the most thorough and reliable investigation into the lives of young gay people in Australia) such statements and attitudes  make congregations like ours some of the most hostile places for young gay people and contribute significantly to negative health outcomes including  increased rates of self harm and attempted suicide.

Last year both the Bishop of the LCA and Head of the LCA*s Committee on Social and Bio-ethical Questions published papers which likened homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and bestiality.

I could go on.

Dear Reader, indeed you should shake your heads at the despicable prejudice and injustice that Christian Churches show to LGBT people. You should weep at the harm it causes them and their families. But you really don’t need to look  to a couple of weirdo US churches. Just sit in your own congregation next Sunday and open your eyes.