(Photo: AP Images/Matt York)
A conservative United Methodist pastor with a traditional view of marriage says that a clergyman set to be on trial for officiating his son's gay wedding acted in a way that is "injurious to the church."
Rev. Thomas Lambrecht, vice president and general manager of the Methodist group Good News, shared his feelings in an interview earlier this week with the New York Times.
"Reverend [Thomas W.] Ogletree is acting in a way that is injurious to the church, because it fosters confusion in the church about what we stand for," said Lambrecht. "And it undermines the whole covenant of accountability that we share with each other as pastors."
Lambrecht's remarks come in response to his decision to help push forth a canonical trial for Rev. Ogletree, a 79-year-old Methodist pastor, who presently serves as dean of Yale Divinity School.
Last October, Ogletree officiated the same-sex wedding of his son that was held in New York despite rules that United Methodist Church has on such matters.
According to the UMC's Book of Discipline, homosexuality is considered "incompatible with Christian teaching" and clergy cannot perform a same-sex wedding even in a state where it is legal.
United Methodist clergy were alerted of the same-sex ceremony courtesy a wedding announcement in the Times.
Some observers have argued that the controversy and upcoming trial spotlight the growing divide among Methodists regarding the issue of homosexuality. At last year's General Conference meeting in Florida, a measure was proposed to remove the language against homosexual behavior from the Book of Discipline.
However, the delegates at the General Conference voted down the new language, a result greatly aided by the votes of African UMC members. The result of the vote ignited a protest from dozens of members of the pro-gay Common Witness Coalition, which held a peaceful gathering on the plenary floor of the Conference for several hours.
Ogletree has written that he considers the UMC's position on homosexuality a "blemish of bigotry in our denomination" and in contradiction to the denomination's longstanding support for social justice.
Lambrecht has publically countered that homosexuality "is not a civil rights issue" and believes Ogletree is in "defiance" and his action "threatens the fabric of unity of our church." He did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time.