Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 20th 2013 Contents A35
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
SPRING CITY---A United Methodist minister con-
victed of breaking church law by officiating at the
same-sex wedding of his son in the US said yes-
terday he is unrepentant and refused to promise
he wouldn t perform more gay unions.
The Rev Frank Schaefer testified at the penalty
phase of his church trial. He could face punishment
ranging from a reprimand to losing his minister's
Schaefer told jurors he has been called by God to
be an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals
US pastor who performed
gay wedding unrepentant
The Rev Frank
Schaefer, left, and
Overturf, arrive for
his trial at Camp
Innabah in Spring
yesterday. A jury
of his pastoral
breaking his vows
by officiating his
wedding in 2007.
and transgendered people. He says the church needs
to stop treating them as "second-class Christians."
A jury of Methodist clergy people convicted Schaefer
on Monday of breaking a church law that forbids
pastors from marrying same-sex partners.
The trial over the 2007 wedding has rekindled
debate over the denomination's policies on homo-
sexuality and same-sex marriage. The nation's largest
mainline Protestant denomination accepts gay and
lesbian members, but it rejects the practice of homo-
sexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching"
and forbids pastors from marrying same-sex part-
Schaefer didn't deny that he performed his son's
wedding. He said he did it out of love, not a desire
to flout church teaching on homosexuality.
The Rev Christopher Fisher, who is serving as the
church's prosecutor, urged the jury to consider whether
Schaefer will "repent of and renounce his disobedience
to the (Methodist Book of) Discipline," and promise
to obey the denomination's book of law and doctrine
in the future.
Schaefer's counsel, the Rev Robert Coombe, asked
the jury to show "love and grace" to Schaefer.
"You can uphold the Discipline without being
punitive and retributive," he said.
But Fisher told jurors that Schaefer's disobedience
couldn't go unpunished.
"Ministers are not free to reinterpret (their) vows
according to personal preference," said Fisher.
His closing argument condemning homosexuality
prompted Schaefer's supporters to stand in silent
protest in the gymnasium that served as a temporary
Schaefer's superior, the Rev James Todd acknowl-
edged that Schaefer had informed the church in writ-
ing in 2006 that he planned to officiate at his son's
wedding. But Todd said he never saw the form and
would have objected had he known.
The church's sole witness was Jon Boger, a member
of Schaefer's congregation in Pennsylvania, who filed
a complaint against the pastor less than a month
before the six-year statute of limitations was set to
expire. He said he felt betrayed when he learned
earlier this year that Schaefer, who had baptized his
children and buried his grandparents, had presided
over a gay wedding.
Boger acknowledged that his mother and Schaefer
had a dispute in the months leading up to the com-
plaint. But he denied that is what motivated his com-
OSLO---Norway s military intelligence chief
said yesterday his country carries out surveil-
lance on millions of phone calls in conflict areas
around the world and shares that data with
allies, including the United States.
Lt Gen. Kjell Grandhagen made the statement
at a hastily organised news conference called in
response to a story in the tabloid Dagbladet,
which reported that 33 million Norwegian phone
calls had been monitored by the US National
Grandhagen vigorously denied the story.
"We had to correct that picture because we
know that this in fact is not about surveillance
in Norway or against Norway, but it is about the
Norwegian intelligence effort abroad," he told the
Grandhagen said his intelligence agency had
"absolutely no indication" that the NSA was spy-
ing on Norwegians.
Greenwald had worked with Dagbladet on the
story that appeared yesterday. (AP)
Military chief admits
Norway spies globally
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