The Tennesseean profiles Bishop Melvin Talbert

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

Retired Bishop Melvin Talbert is one of a number of United Methodist Ministers who are not only speaking out for equality, but defying their denomination to do so. (The Tennesseean)

Despite warnings from his denomination that he’d be violating the faith’s Book of Discipline, Bishop Melvin Talbert traveled from Nashville to near Birmingham, Ala., to perform the Oct. 26 wedding of Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince. They were legally married Sept. 3 in Washington, D.C., but wanted a church wedding.

Talbert sees his involvement as an act of civil disobedience for a moral cause, and if you want to disagree, you’d better have some pretty big boots.

He volunteered to perform same-sex weddings and urged fellow clergy to do the same. He likens his work to the nation’s civil rights movement, a comparison he doesn’t make lightly. Talbert, now 79, shared an Atlanta jail cell with Martin Luther King Jr. in October 1960 after being arrested at an Atlanta lunch counter sit-in.

Talbert was one of the student organizers who invited King to join their protest. He spent three days and nights in the cell with King, which molded the direction of his life.

See also the Huntsville Times


November 6th, 2013

Um, the current link to The Tennesseean is not a link to The Tennesseean….

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2013

My apologies. The link has been fixed.

Regan DuCasse

November 6th, 2013

Well, at least HE can say in all honesty he was a Christian that was persecuted and jailed once upon a time.
But even then, not because he was a Christian, but because he was a black man and Christian fighting for the equal treatment of those who had been treated with injustice.
And he’s doing it again.


November 7th, 2013

Bishop Talbert is a man of great courage and consistency in working for justice and equality. His stature will put United Methodist officials in an awkward position. Which is where they should be.

Technically, though, he performed a blessing of a civil marriage as the couple was already married in a civil ceremony. And I don’t know what the UMC Book of Discipline says about such a blessing.


November 7th, 2013

The linked article is well-written and covers the topic well.

I am obligated as a minister in the United Church of Christ to note that the UCC has supported marriage equality since 2005, when it was legal only in MA. A 1997 position taken by the UCC is also supportive of marriage equality, although not as clearly as the 2005 position. That is nearly always omitted from these stories.


November 7th, 2013

For those interested in the increasingly anti-gay rules of the UMC, Rev. Jimmy Creech weaves a sad and lovely tale of his struggle against the rising power of the conservatives in the denomination. It was particularly disappointing to read how the denomination stripped from ministers and congregations the right to act according to their consciences. For Creech and others like them, the UMC forced them to choose between following church rules or fully meeting the needs of all parishioners. Here’s a link to the book for those who are interested:

Steven Webster

November 7th, 2013

In answer to the person who questioned whether the United Methodist Book of Discipline would allow a blessing of a same-sex couple that is not an actual marriage–the answer is that the Discipline’s prohibition is very broadly worded to forbid any kind of blessing, ceremony or marriage of a same-sex couple. Talbert has put himself in very serious trouble for doing the right thing! The United Methodist Church’s ugliness will be on full display when the Church Trial Court convenes to hear the evidence and pass judgement.


November 7th, 2013

Thanks, Steven Webster, for the info on the UMC Book of Discipline. I reiterate: his stature will put the UMC’s leadership in an awkward position. He knew what he was doing.

In 2008, the UMC pastor in my California town presided at two same-sex weddings. He was a friend, told me he knew what he was doing, received a two-week suspension with pay, the lightest punishment he could get. He retired the following year. I think Bishop Talbert is in for a bumpy ride.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.