Methodist panel overturns pastor’s defrocking
BALTIMORE (AP) - A United Methodist Church appeals panel has overturned the church’s decision to defrock a pastor who presided over his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony and said he would perform other gay marriages if asked.
A lower church court suspended Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, last year for officiating at his son’s 2007 wedding. The church then defrocked Schaefer because he wouldn’t promise never to preside over another gay ceremony. Schaefer appealed, arguing the decision was wrong because it was based on an assumption he would break church law in the future.
But at a news conference Tuesday, Schaefer said he “absolutely” will perform more same-sex weddings, and is confident that church law will change.
John Lomperis (lahm-PAYR’-is), director of the conservative group United Methodist Action, says Schaefer should have joined another denomination whose views he shares rather than expect the United Methodist Church to change. Lomperis adds that he hopes Schaefer’s restoration to ministry gets appealed to the church’s highest court.
Freed Christian woman, family detained in Sudan
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) - A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for apostasy was overturned was freed again on Thursday after being detained on accusations of forging travel documents.
Eman Abdul-Rahman, the lawyer for 27-year-old Mariam Ibrahim, told The Associated Press that she was released from a police station after foreign diplomats pressed the government to free her. She was detained along with her husband and two small children, one born behind bars, at Khartoum’s airport on Tuesday while trying to leave the country with her family.
Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian man from southern Sudan in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. By law, children must follow their father’s religion.