UPDATE: From the UMC website. Photo by Joanne Utley.
The trial of Tom Ogletree for officiating at the wedding of his son and his son’s fiancé
was to be held yesterday but the bishop doing the disciplining dropped all charges. According to
The problem with “disciplining” Tom Ogletree is that Tom Ogletree is an adult—and then some. Before retiring, Dr. Ogletree, 79, was dean of both the Yale Divinity School and Drew Theological Seminary. He is currently professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics at Yale. From 1978-81 he was director of graduate studies in religion at Vanderbilt University. He’s the author of such books as The Use of the Bible in Christian Ethics and Hospitality to the Stranger: Dimensions of Moral Understanding. Since 1980, he has served on the editorial board of The Journal of Religious Ethics.
So guess what happened this morning instead of the trial of Thomas Ogletree? The UMC bishop overseeing the trial dropped all charges against the pastor. And he didn’t just drop them, either. He turned them into a huge brass bell he used to ring what will likely be remembered as the death knell of the anti-gay policy of the largest mainline Christian denomination in the world.
Right now—literally, as I’m typing this—in the offices of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church in White Plains, NY, Resident Bishop Martin D. McLee (below) is calling for, and committing to, an absolute end to the censuring of any UMC pastor for performing gay weddings. It is the first time in history that a sitting United Methodist bishop has categorically declared that he will not prosecute pastors for ministering to LGBTQ people.