|Pastor Frank Schaefer|
The jury was not going to punish Pastor Frank. Whatever consequence he suffered would be his own choice.
In effect, the jury's sentence said: We aren't going to punish you; you have to decide if you are going to punish yourself. We aren't going to do anything bad to you; you have to decide if you are going to do something bad to yourself.
I'm sure it helped the jury members feel better about themselves. You could almost see them washing their hands.
This spin is articulated in a comment on the Good News Movement's webpage:
The Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference must have affirmation that they rendered the correct verdict; as Good News affirms that rendering. They did so with compassion and a time for renewal and deliberation for Rev. Schaefer. His outcome is now at his own discretion and he will own that decision.The verdict was so well spun that it is hard to believe a professional was not involved in spinning it.
Today the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church took away Pastor Frank's ordination. The board defrocked him. They terminated his ministry.
|Comment found here|
The jury's sentence said that Pastor Frank had 30-days to agree to follow the United Methodist Book of Discipline "in its entirety" or to surrender his credentials.
Many people urged Pastor Frank to say he would follow the Book of Discipline in its entirety. After all, as Rev. Andy Bryan has pointed out, to follow some provisions of the Book of Discipline you have to ignore others. Or you need to read them as though consistency does not matter.
To his credit, Pastor Frank refused to go this route. He said plainly that he would not follow rules in the Book of Discipline that discriminate against LGBTQ persons.
He also said that he would not voluntarily surrender his credentials as the jury's sentence instructed him to do. Three United Methodist bishops contacted him, he said, and urged him not to voluntarily surrender his credentials.
This morning in a meeting with the Board of Ordained Ministry when he refused to surrender his ordination credentials, the board "deemed them surrendered."
United Methodist News Service, the official news service of the United Methodist Church, reported the following statement by Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area:
Johnson said when asked to surrender his credentials, Schaefer refused to do so. The board then deemed his credentials surrendered, she said.The board did not take away Pastor Frank's credentials. The board did not invalidate Pastor Frank's ordination.The board did not defrock Pastor Frank. The board did not terminate his ministry.
The board didn't do anything to Pastor Frank. The board just "deemed his credentials surrendered."
This is well-done spin. The board did not harm Pastor Frank. The board just deemed that he had done something he did not do. The board deemed, I guess, that he had mystically surrendered his credentials.
It is like someone taking money from your wallet and then deeming that you had given the money to them.
Pastor Frank has been clear, direct, upfront and self-differentiated. He will not discriminate against LGBT people in his ministry. He will not voluntarily surrender his credentials.
The jury and the Board of Ordained Ministry have done what they have done. They have decided to take away his credentials, to negate his ordination, to end his service as a United Methodist pastor.
Only they have not been willing to say so directly and clearly.
They have tried to spin it.
When I did communications for a living, I used to say that the best spin is the God's honest truth.
I still believe it.
I have a lot of respect for Pastor Frank's honesty and clarity.
The jury and the board ... not so much.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference must have affirmation that they rendered the correct verdict; as Good News affirms that rendering. They did so with compassion and a time for renewal and deliberation for Rev. Schaefer. His outcome is now at his own discretion and he will own that decision. - See more at: http://goodnewsmag.org/2013/11/good-news-response-to-schaefer-trial-verdict/#comment-3115