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Pro-homosexuality Layman Pushes The Envelop Of Disobedience By Administering Pagan Rituals, Gay Wedding, And Unholy Communion In UM Church


RAINBOW CHUPPA* (LA Times Weekly Online)

...“This ain’t your mama’s church,” cracked one observer, viewing the vivid décor inside the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood last Sunday. The occasion was “God’s Gaity Among the Laity,” a holy union service for Jay Fritz and William Hayes (together eight years) staged as a protest against the Methodists’ ban on gay marriage. Under a rainbow-flag “chuppa” and a torn rainbow curtain (both created by the gay insignia’s original designer, Gilbert Baker), Fritz and Hayes performed the centuries-old slave marriage tradition of “jumping the broom” (with commentary by an African-American Buddhist in a dashiki) and the Jewish ritual of breaking the glass. A transgender Native American shaman read the invocation. Folk singer Ross Altman sang “The Night Judy Garland Died,” the strings of the Quartetto Venezia played Pachelbel’s Canon, and David Nash and Laurie Franks belted out a Broadwayesque “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” At ceremony’s end, Fritz and Hayes kissed to a roar from 100 congregants and friends.

Presiding over the marriage were lay minister Scott Imler, no stranger to hubbub in his roles as director of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Cooperative and co-author of the Proposition 215 medical-marijuana initiative, and his partner of 12 years, George Leddy. Imler held up the Methodist Book of Discipline (“It sounds more fun than it is,” he quipped) and read aloud the section, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.” He then compounded his open defiance by performing communion (a no-no for lay preachers).

Meanwhile, Crescent Heights United’s official pastor, the Rev. John Griffin, was at the Methodists’ General Conference in Cleveland, poised to join mass arrests protesting the gay-wedding ban. Leading the demonstrations will be former Jerry Falwell adviser the Rev. Mel White, joined by Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Yolanda, and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun. While the Methodists have mustered the courage to condemn the U.S. military’s bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, and confessed to the sin of racism against African-Americans, they’re not expected to locate the guts or vision to permit humans to pair off with the mate of their choice.

The Rev. Robert L. Kuyper, founder of the gay-unfriendly Transforming Congregations movement, who was on hand for the nuptials, said nothing would be gained. “I don’t think it’ll be any more effective than blessing the drink of an alcoholic in a bar. You’re still gonna get drunk from it.”

But the happy couple felt progress had been made. “To have stood onstage and had our relationship blessed in front of friends, family and strangers . . . what more could you ask for?” said Fritz.

“Except for a real wedding,” a smiling Hayes added....

—Michael Simmons

* This is an except of several articles (instead of a link) which include profanity.

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