Evangelical Lutheran Church of American Defrocks Gay Pastor

by HRC Staff

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pastor Bradley Schmeling Removed from Church's Roster

WASHINGTON - In a July 2 decision that was made public today, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Committee on Appeals has decided to remove Atlanta Pastor Bradley Schmeling from the church's pastoral roles because Schmeling is a gay man living his life openly and honestly.

Speaking for the Human Rights Campaign, Harry Knox, director of the Religion and Faith Program, offered the following reaction to this regrettable decision:

"We are outraged at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and are hurting for the St. John's Community. The powers that be in the ELCA have struck the most Faustian of bargains. Presented with a loving and community-based alternative, the Committee on Appeals chose instead to willfully sacrifice the few, in this case the beloved Pastor Bradley Schmeling and his spirit-filled congregational family, St. John's Lutheran Church, on the altar of expediency. The committee has acted to hurt lesbian and gay people and those who love us in the cynical belief that we will simply go away. They obviously don't know us and have forgotten God's constant love and God's call to justice. We will not go away. In fact, we will be present with Goodsoil and Lutherans Concerned at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly and at every Churchwide Assembly from now until the gifts and graces for ministry of all people are both recognized and celebrated."

HRC's Religion and Faith Program gives voice to the fair-minded faithful, opens hearts and minds to new ways of viewing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and effectively works to reclaim the faith-based debate from the intolerant and radical right.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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