This Pastor is Sleeping Outside in the Cold to Represent His Church Excluding LGBT People

Mar 8, 2016

Photo credit: #OpenDoorsUMC

By Camille Beredjick

It’s the job of a church leader to model empathy, kindness and compassion — something that can be hard to do when your church teaches discrimination. But one pastor wants to show his church what it really feels like to be cast away by your congregation.

Rev. Michael Tupper, the pastor of Parchment United Methodist Church in Parchment, Michigan, is calling attention to his church’s exclusion of LGBT people by sleeping outside his home in a tent for 175 consecutive nights. In February. In Michigan.

Tupper’s foray into LGBT activism began last year, when he was charged by church officials for officiating his daughter’s wedding to another woman. The UMC’s swift response showed him how deeply discrimination runs in the church, and he decided to fight back.

After he was brought up on charges by church officials for performing the same-sex union, Tupper pitched a tent outside the office of the man tasked with handling his case, hoping to dissuade him from prosecuting. When the case ultimately moved forward, Tupper returned to Parchment, where he is now vowing to sleep outside his house for 175 consecutive nights in protest — no small feat in Michigan, where snow is a constant and where temperatures often drop to frigid levels in winter.

“Most nights it gets into the 20s. It’s gotten down to 5 degrees,” he said, noting that he sleeps in a sleeping bag tucked inside another sleeping bag. “Yeah it’s cold. But I’ve managed.”

But it’s more than a personal protest, Tupper said — it’s symbolic.

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10 comments on “This Pastor is Sleeping Outside in the Cold to Represent His Church Excluding LGBT People

  • Wow, I didn’t know February lasted that long in Michigan!

    It’s the job of a church leader to model empathy, kindness and

    Not in the universe I inhabit. Maybe it should have read, it’s the job of religions to pretend that the job of a church leader is to model empathy, kindness and compassion.

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  • Dear Rev. Tupper

    Thanks for being a decent person but it’s time to update your resume’ and head on over to the UU church. That’s where the gay community can hope for acceptance in the congregation and practice a watered down, feel good type of religion that they can’t seem to let go of. I wish they would leave their hateful religions behind and strike out on their own in this world but I guess there are those who are willing to be part of something that considers them to be an abomination just because they need to have a sense of community. It makes me uneasy and I worry about the situation.

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  • Dear Rev. Tupper,

    I have just read the article about your situation, and would like to congratulate you. I would also like to reiterate what was said above: your church has left you literally in the cold. They have shown their true colors.

    The UMC is clearly hostile towards (“unrepentant”) gays, lesbians, and others, looks upon them , presumably, as lost souls. (They do not exclude gays and lesbians as members, if I am not mistaken.)

    If this is not the actual teaching of your Church then you are right to fight for your rights. However, I have done some research and have discovered this from the so-called Book of Statements(?):

    ¶ 304.3: The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.

    MLK once said that one can do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason.
    I don’t know which applies to you, Reverend, but I would consider spending your valuable time and energy on this earth to find a community that wants you and that accepts your life style. You might be able to curtail whatever legal challenged you are facing, but beyond that, you will never find acceptance within the UMC, accept perhaps as an ordinary member. Is it worth it?

    Question your faith. Question religion itself. You may discover, if you are rigorously honest, that there is nothing that religion offers that cannot be replaced with by something better, and it will have the added benefit of being real. Fantasies and dreams and feelings and ideas of, say, forgiveness and love, are real in their way; superstitious beliefs are real in their way too – insofar as what one feels and thinks is really felt and thought. A mirage is “real.”

    But if people cannot even try to distinguish between this kind of subjective realness with what is actual in an objective sense, with what has been established as true in a scientific sense (having passed the test of reason, evidence, and judgment), then I as a non-theist, and others like me (and our number can only grow), will continue to regard with skepticism and frustration, and with a degree of contempt, these personal religious values that you and other like you (all good people, I am sure) cling to with such tenacity – and are, apparently, so determined to defend.

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  • “…find a community that wants you and that accepts your life style.”

    I got it wrong once again. The pastor is not himself a self-avowed homosexual, but officiated at the wedding of a lesbian couple. It was his daughter and her partner.

    Sorry about that.

    I don’t know what their rules are about that. And the UMC, while it accepts gay members on paper, is not likely to welcome the LGBT community with open arms or look upon homosexuality as normal or wholesome anytime soon. Everything else I said still applies.

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  • I think it is fine this guy doing this, however, the bible does condemn homosexuality and they should have the right to exclude homosexuals as a result. Same with gay marriage while I’m outraged that homosexuals are not allowed to marry in my country, if the catholic church refuses to marry them, I’d take the position that that is their right, no matter how bigoted. What we see here is church evolution in progress. It is going to get harder and harder for these people to refer back to the bible as time goes on. Eventually I imagine all the mainstream churches will come on board and embrace the homosexuals, and then they will pretend that that is what they believed all along, just like slavery. You have to consider these things in the context of the time you see.

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  • @ Reckless Monkey

    I agree that churches do have certain rights, and I agree that the Pastor is doing a good thing. I wasn’t sure at first. Your comment made me see this.

    Congregations, church-goers, are just an aggregate of individuals. The Church is not a person; it is an abstraction, in a sense.

    Perhaps by the time “the churches” have been pressured enough and have evolved to the point where homosexuals and others will no longer be regarded as “spiritually” inferior, the psychological evolution of individuals, in a collective sense, will have evolved too – and a much greater number of people than there is at the present time will, at that future time, no longer need to belong to any church. That is, I think, a more desirable scenario.

    But the inclusion of homosexuals and other groups who are looked down upon will undermine the whole idea of a literal reading of the Bible, and that is a good thing. That is the first step. After that religion will be less repressive, less authoritarian, its dictums less draconian. Then (and this is what I am hoping for): people will be more inclined to ask (without fear or compunction): who needs the church at all? Do we really need it?

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  • Reckless Monkey #6
    Mar 9, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Eventually I imagine all the mainstream churches will come on board and embrace the homosexuals, and then they will pretend that that is what they believed all along, just like slavery. You have to consider these things in the context of the time you see.

    As with science, they will be dragged along kicking and screaming, decades or centuries behind the rational sections of the population.

    They will eventually either, respond to loss of membership, and embrace homosexuals to sustain sheeple numbers, or degenerate further into tiny minority sects, as other fundamentalists have done before them!

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  • It would be better for secularism if they stuck to their guns and just lost all their members, but I agree I think they will eventually be dragged kicking and screaming into this century – probably not before the next century has started though.

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  • I see that the indoctrinated woo is trying to make its way into English legal decisions.
    A Christian magistrate is planning to take legal action after he was sacked over comments he made on television against same-sex adoption.

    Richard Page, 69, who served as a magistrate in Kent, told the BBC last year it would be better for a man and a woman to be the adopted parents.

    The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office deemed this serious misconduct.

    His lawyers say they will bring an employment tribunal for discrimination over his religious beliefs.

    Mr Page, who served in Sevenoaks and Maidstone, sat on the Kent Central family panel and was a magistrate for 15 years. He was sacked earlier this month.

    This followed a BBC interview in March 2015 in which he had said that it was his duty as a magistrate to act on the evidence alone, and that there had not yet been a proper analysis of the effects that placing children with same-sex couples had on the child’s well-being.

    Mr Page had been reprimanded in 2014 after he was found to have been influenced in an adoption case by his religious beliefs as a Christian. He had disagreed with his fellow magistrates over placing a child into the care of a same-sex couple.

    It looks like he thinks his religious indoctrination, and bigotry, permits him to make up his own laws contrary to legal statutes, and it seems he does not take heed of warnings!

    Of course woo- beliefs lead to strong Dunning-Kruger confidence in dogmas, so he thinks that some legal action is going to let his religious views, over-ride English law in his enactment of it!

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