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Lutheran may be defrocked, even though church knew he was gay

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ATLANTA - A minister who disclosed that he was gay before Atlantas oldest Lutheran church hired him as its pastor could now be defrocked for announcing he has a partner.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling was chosen in 2000 to lead St. Johns, though some worried his sexuality could threaten its standing with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. But last year, the 350-member congregation threw a party for him and his partner, when Schmeling announced he had found a lifelong companion.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16694726/
 

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If when they hired him, he promised them he would remain single and celibate, I'm not sure he has a case. I saw nothing of the kind in the story, though. What did the congregation expect, honestly? They hired an openly gay minister who AFAIK made no agreement not to find a long-term relationship. An argument could be made, "But you didn't have a blessing ceremony," which can be remedied by having one.
 

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ELCA spokesman John Brooks said that if a heterosexual pastor was in a relationship outside of marriage and he refused to repent, he would face similar disciplinary proceedings.
That pretty much sums it up for me. You can't expect to be part of an organization, especially a church, while actively disobeying their rules. I respect the ELCA for standing firm to their beliefs.

~Wondre
 

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The rule sucks, but I have a hard time believing that the pastor in question was unaware of church teachings on the subject.
 

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I'm not sure why you people are so forgiving of the Lutheran church for this. Their rule is absolutely absurd and full of nonesense. Why should anyone have to follow this rule, even if they are Lutheran. What a bunch of lunatics. People want to have sex, time for these archaic traditions to be let go.
 

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Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

I'm not sure why you people are so forgiving of the Lutheran church for this. Their rule is absolutely absurd and full of nonesense. Why should anyone have to follow this rule, even if they are Lutheran. What a bunch of lunatics. People want to have sex, time for these archaic traditions to be let go.
Why? If you don't want to live by the rules of a church, then don't join. Should a meat-eater be allowed to be join VB and have the right to upset the values of the other members? Should a pacifist be allowed to join the army and then refuse to fight?
 

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Originally Posted by nigel View Post

Why? If you don't want to live by the rules of a church, then don't join. Should a meat-eater be allowed to be join VB and have the right to upset the values of the other members? Should a pacifist be allowed to join the army and then refuse to fight?
Well yes of course. But what I am saying is, instead of quickly pointing the finger at this minister, why don't we take a long hard look at what the Lutherans are prosecuting him for and realize that their rule doesn't have any legitamite backing. So instead of saying "what an idiot for breaking a rule" we should be saying "why is that rule there in the first place?"
 

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Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

So instead of saying "what an idiot for breaking a rule" we should be saying "why is that rule there in the first place?"
I'm sure the answer you'll get will contain numerous Bible verses basically saying "God says homosexual sex is a sin." Since they don't want to go against God, they won't allow a pastor to actively engage in sin and still be called a pastor. It may be archaic, but it's just as legitimate as any other belief. And secondly, I don't think anyone's calling him an idiot. The article made it sound like the ELCA is handling this situation very fairly.

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Originally Posted by ~Wonder View Post

I'm sure the answer you'll get will contain numerous Bible verses basically saying "God says homosexual sex is a sin." Since they don't want to go against God, they won't allow a pastor to actively engage in sin and still be called a pastor. It may be archaic, but it's just as legitimate as any other belief. And secondly, I don't think anyone's calling him an idiot. The article made it sound like the ELCA is handling this situation very fairly.

~Wondre
I know no one here literally called him an idiot.

Not all beliefs are equal. The ones with more evidence, reason, and logical stand above the others. Luteran's belief that ministers shouldn't have sex has no reason, no logic, and therefore no evidence to back that reason or logic. Just because someone holds a belief doesn't make it a good one.
 

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^^^ in your opinion

"Because God said so" is a good enough reason for a lot of people. All beliefs are subjective. Just because you don't understand them or hold them to be true doesn't mean they're not good.

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Originally Posted by ~Wonder View Post

^^^ in your opinion

"Because God said so" is a good enough reason for a lot of people. All beliefs are subjective. Just because you don't understand them or hold them to be true doesn't mean they're not good.

~Wondre
Person A believes the sun rotates about the earth. Person B believes the earth rotates about the sun.

Are both these beliefs equal? No of course not. One is correct and one is not. Person B can present evidence to suggest why his belief is a valid one, while person A is stuck saying "because god said so" which doesn't suggest anything other then delusion.

Person A believes it is wrong to murder, person B believes it is ok murder. Are both these beliefs valid? Should both these beliefs be respected?
 

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Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

Person A believes it is wrong to murder, person B believes it is ok murder. Are both these beliefs valid? Should both these beliefs be respected?
By themselves, I don't think the other belief is any more or less valid than the other. It is when we put them in a larger context of an ethical "theory" or view that we can start evaluating them in a more "objective" (or rather, intersubjective) manner.

The subjectiveness (or relativism) of theistic and scientific beliefs may be seen from the fact that there is disagreement not only about the beliefs themselves but about the standards of justification, method and knowledge by which the "validity" of the beliefs is compared, and adopting those standards (empirical corroboration/falsification vs. the authority of holy books, for example) may in the end be just an arbitrary normative commitment which cannot be further justified or argued for.

That being said, I don't believe any institution, incl. any church, should be protected from criticism and its practices respected in silence just because they're tradition or someone's beliefs. Requirements of celibacy etc. don't seem that important a political issue for me, but (hetero)sexist practices for example should be criticized as much as possible, whether they're a part of some religious institution or a workplace.
 

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Originally Posted by sarahjayn1980 View Post

Um, okay. We're not talking about someone randomly questioning the church, though. We're talking about someone who makes their occupation in the church and then does not want to obey the church's rules. I think this is less a question of ethics and moral questions then it is fulfilling your job description.

To me, it's more like someone going to work for McDonald's and then only wanting to sell salads.

Personally, as a Catholic, I don't agree with the church's stance on gays. I think that's something the humans of the church got wrong from God.
Imagine if this was some occupation besides religion. Say this was a engineer at some engineering facility. The boss discovered that the she was having sex in her personal time and fired her because there was an office rule that no one was allowed to have sex. Would you still be forgiving the establishment?
 

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Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

Imagine if this was some occupation besides religion. Say this was a engineer at some engineering facility. The boss discovered that the she was having sex in her personal time and fired her because there was an office rule that no one was allowed to have sex. Would you still be forgiving the establishment?
Give a specific example in reality. Is this person also a 3-legged martian?
 

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My thoughts overlap a couple of different points already made here. Of course a church can enforce it's own rules. And they are free to make up whatever rules they want. But I also agree no idea should be free from outside criticism. As far as the idiocy of the rule goes, I agree, but I also see the idiocy of the people who uphold it as a community.

I highly doubt the majority of the church followers uphold the rule themselves or really, deep down, agree with it (remember article I posted about stats on sex outside of marriage). If they did, they probably would have followed it themselves.

This just reminds me of my frustration I have with a large segment of people (in my observation) who say they belong to organized religions (I am including people who belong in name only, who may never even go to church). They don't know what all the "rules" or official beliefs are of their own organization, and if they do, they don't honest to goodness believe in them. (and I realize there is room for disagreement in most churches, but I am talking about where the rubber meets the road)*

I think the vast majority of people who say I am "religion X" don't know why they are religion x and not religon Y, haven't really studied their own religion, can't explain why it's different from Y, (or even know much about the alternatives) and would not leave religion X for Y if they found it was closer to their own beliefs. ReligionXers who pick and choose what rules they follow or are lukewarm or reluctant are also insulting the truly devoted religionxers. Someone asks, "What religion are you?" and they just say the name of whatever church their parents took them to as kids.

Granted there are complex social and familial pressures involved, but why do people keep giving money and time to support ideas/institutions they don't agree with??? Start your own church! Why say you are religion X when you don't agree and don't even participate? Have some guts and say you are at least non-denominational. That is why stupid traditions keep going. Everyone knows they are without merit but not enough people have the guts to say anything or vote with their feet and wallets.

The emperor wears no clothes.

*Unitarian Universalists have no official creed or rules and actually encourage freedom of thought and for each to find his or her own path. They have only general principles.
 

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All hail the VBer that is Thalia..
Well said.

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Originally Posted by Thalia View Post

My thoughts overlap a couple of different points already made here. Of course a church can enforce it's own rules. And they are free to make up whatever rules they want. But I also agree no idea should be free from outside criticism. As far as the idiocy of the rule goes, I agree, but I also see the idiocy of the people who uphold it as a community.

I highly doubt the majority of the church followers uphold the rule themselves or really, deep down, agree with it (remember article I posted about stats on sex outside of marriage). If they did, they probably would have followed it themselves.

This just reminds me of my frustration I have with a large segment of people (in my observation) who say they belong to organized religions (I am including people who belong in name only, who may never even go to church). They don't know what all the "rules" or official beliefs are of their own organization, and if they do, they don't honest to goodness believe in them. (and I realize there is room for disagreement in most churches, but I am talking about where the rubber meets the road)*

I think the vast majority of people who say I am "religion X" don't know why they are religion x and not religon Y, haven't really studied their own religion, can't explain why it's different from Y, (or even know much about the alternatives) and would not leave religion X for Y if they found it was closer to their own beliefs. ReligionXers who pick and choose what rules they follow or are lukewarm or reluctant are also insulting the truly devoted religionxers. Someone asks, "What religion are you?" and they just say the name of whatever church their parents took them to as kids.

Granted there are complex social and familial pressures involved, but why do people keep giving money and time to support ideas/institutions they don't agree with??? Start your own church! Why say you are religion X when you don't agree and don't even participate? Have some guts and say you are at least non-denominational. That is why stupid traditions keep going. Everyone knows they are without merit but not enough people have the guts to say anything or vote with their feet and wallets.

The emperor wears no clothes.

*Unitarian Universalists have no official creed or rules and actually encourage freedom of thought and for each to find his or her own path. They have only general principles.
 
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