A 79-year-old retired United Methodist
minister killed himself to protest discrimination against the LGBT
community and other injustices.
According to The
Dallas Morning News, on June 23, a Monday, the Rev. Charles
Moore parked his car in a Grand Saline strip-mall roughly 70 miles
east of Dallas, doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire.
Bystanders rushed to extinguish the
fire and Moore was flown to a Dallas hospital. He arrived
unconscious at the hospital, where he died from his injuries.
In a letter he left behind on his car
windshield, he said he was troubled by his hometown's history of
In other writings, he lamented not
doing enough to end social injustices, including discrimination based
on race and sexual orientation, and to help the poor and disadvantaged.
In 1955, Moore went on a hunger strike
to protest the United Methodist Church's treatment of gay men and
lesbians as the church's bishops gathered in Austin. Fifteen days
into the strike, the bishops issued a statement calling on Methodist
churches to open their doors to gay members. However, the church's
policy calling homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching”
remains to this day.
Moore began contemplating
self-immolation after his retirement in 2000.
“I have always felt that death for a
cause was my destiny, but never so much as during the past several
years – when it has admittedly been a preoccupation,” he wrote.
A memorial service will be held
Saturday at Faith Presbyterian Church in Austin.