(Washington) For making a brief television appearance as a drag queen, wearing a massive pink wig and a sequined leotard, an American Protestant pastor was dismissed from his ministry, the local official confirmed to AFP on Wednesday. his congregation.
Craig Duke, 62, made a very noticed passage last month – at least by some of his horrified parishioners – on the HBO channel’s show “We’re Here”: we see him in particular wearing thigh-high boots. high heels, a crucifix around the neck, with lipstick and thick purple eyeshadow.
“Powerful spiritual moment”
Following this media moment, which he described as a “powerful spiritual moment”, in an interview with the agency Religion News Service, the pastor of the United Methodist Church found himself embroiled in heated controversy.
Faced with “many very critical calls and emails”, but also support, the local leader of this church decided to “relieve Pastor Duke of his pastoral mission”, cutting his salary and forbidding him to provide religious services in his church near Evansville, northern Indiana.
However, tempered Mitch Gieselman, in a letter to parishioners, Pastor Duke “has not been found responsible for any breach of disciplinary regulations” of the United Methodist Church.
Contacted by AFP on Wednesday, Mr. Gieselman confirmed the authenticity of his letter dated November 26, declining to make any further comments.
The pastor’s fate aroused a surge of emotion, illustrated by an online fundraiser which totaled nearly $ 60,000 in donations on Wednesday.
“May the bridge of understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ community extend through our community and beyond,” the pastor and his companion said on Wednesday in a statement.
He did not seem to regret his brilliance: “I was immersed in a culture in which I had never been immersed”, he congratulated himself, “and in a (religious) ministry, if you want to involve people who are different from you, you have to meet them. The invitation to this program allowed me to do so, ”he concluded.