Former minister sets himself alight in protest of homophobia
Reverend Charles Moore, a retired Uniting Methodist minister has set himself alight in a public car park in the Texas town of Grand Saline in protest of homophobia.
The 79-year-old former minister doused himself in gasoline and set himself alight on June 23. Witnesses extinguished the flames, and Moore was treated by paramedics and flown to a Dallas hospital where he later died of his injuries.
While bystanders had no idea why the reverend had set himself aflame, his son-in-law Bill Renfro discovered a note explaining his actions.
In the letter and other notes found around his home, Moore cited continuing discrimination against LGBT people, the ban on the performance of same-sex marriages by Methodist clergy, the continuing use of the death penalty, cuts in social programs for the poor, and other injustices as the reason for his immolation.
The date of his death also marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of an abandoned car belonging to civil rights workers who had been registering black voters in Mississippi. It is thought Moore chose the date for its significance. A long-time activist for civil and human rights – it is believed Moore felt he had not done enough to alleviate the problems of homophobia and racism in his community and church.
It is thought Moore chose immolation as the manner of his death in emulation of Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire to protest the South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War.