Minister dies by self-immolation in protest of homophobia, other injustices

Rev Charles Moore

A retired United Methodist minister in Texas who had championed civil rights for African-Americans and LGBT people has committed suicide in dramatic fashion to protest continuing injustices, setting himself afire in a public parking lot.

The Rev. Charles Moore, 79, doused himself in gasoline and set himself aflame in a strip-mall parking lot in the small town of Grand Saline, where he had grown up, about 70 miles east of Dallas on June 23, reports The Dallas Morning News. Bystanders extinguished the fire, and Moore was flown to a Dallas hospital, where he died of his injuries.

He left a letter on his car windshield explaining the reasons for his action, and his son-in-law, Bill Renfro, discovered other notes at Moore’s home in Allen, a Dallas suburb, detailing his discontents. 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 he saw around him.

He also felt he had not done enough to alleviate these problems, even though he had been a longtime activist against racism, sexism, and homophobia, and poverty. He once went on a 15-day hunger strike to protest his church’s treatment of gays, and he worked with the poor in India…