Pastor protests by sleeping out in the cold
Published 8:07 am Friday, February 26, 2016
A minister who took part in the marriage of former Cassopolis United Methodist Church Pastor Benjamin David Hutchison has been sleeping outside because the church’s doors are not open to everyone.
The Rev. Michael Tupper is sleeping in a tent to protest the Methodist Church’s treatment of Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning persons.
He made a stop in Cassopolis Friday and pitched his tent next to the steps of the historic courthouse where the ceremony was performed last summer. He was only allowed to stay at the courthouse during daylight hours.
“I have spent the last 80 nights outside in a tent since Nov. 30,” Tupper. said. The minister was forced out of the United Methodist Church for signing the marriage license of Hutchison, but since then has been reinstated, said. “It is kind of a symbol of how our church has been treating LGBTQ people by pushing them out in the cold.
“So I have experienced a bit of that physical cold, but the LGBTQ people have experienced the feeling of being pushed out. I would like to encourage our church to open its doors to all people including LGBTQ people.”
Tupper is no stranger to butting heads with the United Methodist Church. His daughter Sarah revealed she was gay six years ago and he signed the license for her marriage to her long-time partner Aug. 17, 2014.
As a result, a complaint was filed and was later resolved in a resolution with his bishop.
On July 13 of last year, he and numerous pastors from all over the Midwest stood with Hutchison on the courthouse steps as he married his long-time partner Monty.
Another complaint was filed against Tupper the same day and the bishop passed the complaint on to the Rev. Elbert Dulworth, who acts as counsel for the church in October of last year.
The case is still pending.
So Tupper hit the road with his tent in November and plans to continue his trek for 175 nights until the General Conference.
Most of the nights have been spent in front of his home, but he has also been to Wisconsin and Indiana, with trips planned for Des Moines, Iowa (March 4), Raleigh, North Carolina (March 11), Baltimore, Maryland (April 1) and Topeka, Kansas (April 8).
“Folks have been basically supportive,” Tupper said of his reception at the camping sites. “A lot of people don’t want to talk about it. But those who have come up and talked to me have been encouraging and supportive of what I am doing and the idea that we need to open the door to all people.”