Indiana Church Fires Gay Choir Leader and EIGHTY PERCENT of the Congregation QUITS!
The interim minister of the United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Indiana has shamed Christians nationwide in yet another incident of faith-shielded bigotry when he refused Adam Fraley the position of choral director based on his sexual orientation, according to church members David and Nancy Steele
Fraley had previously functioned as choir director for about six years, and church members were satisfied with his work, according to the Steeles. However, after a new minister joined the church, he said that he was uncomfortable with Fraley leading the music. The unnamed “new” minister, according to the Herald Bulletin, did not fire Fraley, but gave him an additional workload that resulted in Fraley’s resignation.
After about six months, a new interim minister took over, and the Steeles–and the rest of the congregation–were hopeful that David Mantor would accept Fraley back into his old position. Mantor initially agreed, but changed his mind after Fraley was back in the job about three weeks. The following day, he told David Steele that his services would not be needed either, as the district superintendent felt Steele was not supporting the positions of the minister therefore was neglecting his duties.
Under church law, “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” However, Dan Gangler, director of communications for the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, clarified that the church only prohibits gay people from being ordained. While bigoted and discriminatory, the official church stance is not bigoted nor discriminatory enough to prevent Fraley from leading the church in song. ”Any other leadership positions should be filled at the discretion of the congregation and the minister,” Gangler added.
In other words, it seems as though the minister may be overstepping his bounds in denying the position to Fraley against the congregation’s wishes. “It’s almost like he’s hijacked the church,” said David Steele, “He is completely going against what the church body wants.”
Steele’s family has stopped attending the church–a difficult adjustment for them. In a show of solidarity for Fraley, about 80% of the church congregation has joined them in emptying the pews. “They all embraced him,” Nancy Steele told the Herald Bulletin, “They’re upset about the way he was treated.”
Fraley is touched by the way the congregation stands behind him, and that he feels that his love for another man can exist within the realm of Christianity. ”I don’t like how people pick and choose which verses they want to apply,” said Fraley, “The Bible also says gluttony and divorce are bad but people seem to ignore those.”
Fraley feels that much of the support is because the congregation got to know him before they knew “gay” him. It helped to lessen the barriers that would normally exist. Both Fraley and the Steeles say that, if the situation is rectified, they will return.