Pennsylvania Church Fires Minister for Officiating Same-Sex ‘Wedding’

churchA church in Pennsylvania has fired their pastor for officiating a same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremony contrary to the congregation’s stand on the Biblical definition of marriage.

While the name of the church has not been revealed, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham has spoken to several outlets about the circumstances surrounding the recent termination of Ken Kline Smeltzer.

As previously reported, following the Supreme Court ruling striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), D. Bruce Hanes, a register of wills in Montgomery County, took it upon himself to begin issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexuals. However, same-sex “marriage” is illegal in Pennsylvania, as it has a marriage law on the books outlining that it is the “strong and longstanding policy of [the] Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman.”

Goreham then announced that she would marry anyone who received a license from Hanes. However, she was told that in doing so, she could be violating her oath of office.

Therefore, Goreham contacted Ken Kline Smeltzer, a minister affiliated with the Church of the Brethren denomination. She asked if he would be willing to officiate the ceremonies instead, and he agreed.

Last month, Smeltzer “wed” Joseph Davis and Gregory Scalzo in a ceremony at Goreham’s house in State College, Pennsylvania. According to the Centre Daily Times, he had prepared a statement beforehand notating that he agreed to officiate the service because the two men “are very much in love and obviously committed to each other.”

However, as Smeltzer’s congregation believes that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior, and therefore is in opposition to same-sex “marriage,” they decided to boot him as their shepherd.

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“He doesn’t regret performing the wedding and he is very supportive of marriage equality,” Goreham told local television station WTAJ. “He’s sorry that the church and he were not able to work it out, but he stands by his act and would do it again.”

Smeltzer’s wife Bonnie pastors a separate “church,” University Baptist and Brethren Church (UBBC) in State College, which is supportive of the homosexual lifestyle. She issued a statement on Thursday to alert the public that any reports that UBBC had fired her husband were inaccurate, as he served as minister at a separate location. However, the name of the church Smeltzer led is not being revealed.

“UBBC is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA and the Church of the Brethren and is a member of two organizations representing congregations whose welcome clearly includes gays and lesbians: the Supportive Communities Network of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists,” the UBBC website outlines.

Response to Smetlzer’s firing has been mixed.

“Just yet another example of a church that hates gays more than it loves God,” one commenter named Michael wrote. “And they wonder why a record number of Americans now want absolutely nothing to do with American Christianity?”

“Nice to see a church upholding Scripture as the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality,” stated another named Jody, who cited Romans 1; Leviticus 18 and 20 and 1 Corinthians 6:9. “God loves all men but He will not countenance sin; He died to remove it! By rejecting His tremendous gift, we slap His Divine face! Homosexuals and those for such unions need to experience the salvation He died to give us all rather than live as they please. When we finally surrender to His will, we will be at true peace!”

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  • L. D.

    Ian, God is going to reject everyone who has rejected His Word, His only begotten Son Jesus. He’s going to reject fornicators, adulterers, liars, sorcerers, all the unclean (which the sin of homosexuality falls under). God did not destroy the sodomites for being impolite; that is a a lie from the pit of hell. God sent the angels to remove Lot, whose righteous soul was vexed daily because of the ungodly acts committed by the folks there which included fornicators and homosexuals. God had already determined to destroy those cities of the plains, because the cup of sin was brimming over. Just as in our times, those vile sinners had to respect for God’s holy angels or people, and sought to defile them. lot even offered up his own daughters, but they refused them, lusting after the men.

    Jesus did also address homosexuality and all sexual sin when he was asked the question about divorce and remarriage by those who sought to overthrow him. Jesus told them, “In the beginning GOD created them MALE AND FEMALE, for this purpose shall a MAN leave his father and mother and cleave unto his WIFE.” It matters not what man classifies as marriage but what God’s will is. Marriage is a picture of Jesus Christ and the redeemed bride he has purchased with his blood at Calvary. Any attempts to destroy what God has intended will be met with the judgment of God, upon all that is ungodly in the world for all their ungodly deeds which they have done. God is no longer winking at sin, because His precious Son Jesus became a sin offering for us, once and for all. Reject His truth for the lies of Satan, and you will pay dearly for your own sins, since you will not accept the only substitute for them in the person of Jesus Christ. You are serving another Jesus, a false Christ.

    And, before you go judging me for hating the homosexual, let me express that I neither hate or fear anyone in the LBGT community, and Love their soul enough to tell them the truth. I have had close interaction with them, but I cannot condone sin for myself or any other. If you embrace the worldview on anything, then you are not (self included) a friend of God, but an enemy of the cross, for friendship with the world (accepting their points of view) is enmity with God. God has defined what sin is and not man. Many Christians are on their way to a burning hell, because they do not believe God’s report. Don’t be one of them!

  • Kenneth

    Scripture has always commanded that marriage is to be between one man, and one woman. (Ps.128:3; Prov. 5:18; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-29; Eccl. 9:9).

    In Matt. 19:4 we are told by Jesus that God created one “male and [one] female” and joined them in marriage. Mark 10:6-8: “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, ‘and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.

    The two as one is the pattern on how marriage was to be conducted from the start.

    And you are guilty of doing the same thing, ignoring God’s clear condemnation of the act of homosexuality.

    Leviticus 18:22: Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable”

    Leviticus 20:13: “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    Good thing we, as believers, are no longer required by God’s word to carry out the punishments God required in the old testament! But the law is still good. And the law reflects perfectly how God views sin, what He defines as sin, and what He requires as punishment. As the book of Romans states, “The wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Christ came to FULFILL the righteous requirements of the law, to live a life free from sin, because the law of God demanded perfect obedience. God gave the law to us to show us our spiritual and moral state of bankruptcy. And ultimately our great need of a savior. Then there are those who say that the MORAL requirements of the law do not apply to us today. The Apostle Paul deals with this distorted mentality here in Romans 6:1-23:

    Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. 15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 19 Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21 And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Romans 1:18-32

    But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness…. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.”

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    1 Timothy 1:8-10

    Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.”

    Jude 1:3-8:

    (3)Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. (4) For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you.They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (5) Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (6) And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (7) In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (8) In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.”

    All these passages specifically mention and condemn the practice of sexual behavior that is NOT between a MAN and a WOMAN.

    Nothing mentioned about “coercive, exploitative or abusive” behavior. No passage in scripture ever says what practicing homosexuals are saying today. “That as long as as the 2 people are in a “committed, loving, non-abusive, non-exploitative, non-coercive relationship”, then it doesn’t matter what sex they are.” You won’t find that teaching in God’s word. What you will find taught in God’s word is that the ONLY acceptable relationship in God’s eye’s is a monogamous relationship between one MAN and one WOMAN, who are in a committed marriage.

    I take God’s word literally. God said what He meant, and meant what He said.

    Question: “Can/Should we interpret the Bible as literal?”

    Answer: Not only can we take the Bible literally, but we must take the Bible literally. This is the only way to determine what God really is trying to communicate to us. When we read any piece of literature, but especially the Bible, we must determine what the author intended to communicate. Many today will read a verse or passage of Scripture and then give their own definitions to the words, phrases, or paragraphs, ignoring the context and author’s intent. But this is not what God intended, which is why God tells us to correctly handle the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). One reason we should take the Bible literally is because the Lord Jesus Christ took it literally. Whenever the Lord Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, it was always clear that He believed in its literal interpretation. As an example, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in Luke 4, He answered by quoting the Old Testament. If God’s commands in Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:13, and 6:16 were not literal, Jesus would not have used them and they would have been powerless to stop Satan’s mouth, which they certainly did. The disciples also took the commands of Christ (which are part of the Bible) literally. Jesus commanded the disciples to go and make more disciples in Matthew 28:19-20. In Acts 2 and following, we find that the disciples took Jesus’ command literally and went throughout the known world of that time preaching the gospel of Christ and telling them to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

    Just as the disciples took Jesus’ words literally, so must we. How else can we be sure of our salvation if we do not believe Him when He says He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), pay the penalty for our sin (Matthew 26:28), and provide eternal life (John 6:54)? Although we take the Bible literally, there are still figures of speech within its pages. An example of a figure of speech would be that if someone said “it is raining cats and dogs outside,” you would know that they did not really mean that cats and dogs were falling from the sky. They would mean it is raining really hard. There are figures of speech in the Bible which are not to be taken literally, but those are obvious.(See Psalm 17:8 for example.)Finally, when we make ourselves the final arbiters of which parts of the Bible are to be interpreted literally, we elevate ourselves above God. Who is to say, then, that one person’s interpretation of a biblical event or truth is any more or less valid than another’s? The confusion and distortions that would inevitably result from such a system would essentially render the Scriptures null and void. The Bible is God’s Word to us and He meant it to be believed—literally and completely.

    Also, I noticed in conversations with people who are living lifestyles clearly condemned in God’s word, whenever they come across bible passages that deal specifically with their particular sin, they automatically want to not take these passages at face value. They will deliberately ignore the clear teaching and attempt to apply an allegorical or symbolic or some external meaning to the passages. They do not want to face up to the fact that they are in rebellion against God. They will accuse people like me of being hateful, or nasty, or mean, or judgmental. To share the clear truth of what God calls sin in the Bible is very unpopular today, because the vast majority of people today reject the absolute authority of God’s word. But, according to God’s word, telling people the truth of God’s word is the most loving thing a follower of Christ can do.There are even those, like you, that claim to have a relationship with God. But they live in blatant sin.

    Like scripture says:

    Isaiah 29:13

    (13) “The Lord says:“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

    Unless you repent of the sin of homosexual behavior, God will judge you, not as a true child of God, but as a unrepentant unbeliever. Repentance from a lifestyle of habitual sin has always been part of the process of salvation. Jesus REPEATEDLY told his listeners to repent. He made it clear.

    Luke 13:1-5

    “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

  • Mahal

    He clearly understood what he was sound was a violation of his church & state law as he performed the ‘marriage’ in his home, not the church.