PLNU Pastor ‘Convicted’ by Church Jury of Support for Same-Sex Marriage – Controversy Offers View of Ugly Underside of Nazarene Views

by on August 28, 2023 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Education, Ocean Beach

Rev. Selden Kelly

Reporter Neal Putnam at the Beacon– affiliated media network has outlined the ugly underside of Point Loma Nazarene College in a recent article about how a Nazarene pastor — Rev. Selden Kelly — lost “his credential to preach after a church jury convicted him of supporting same-sex marriage, which is contrary to the Church of the Nazarene manual about human sexuality.”

“Kelley, who is in his 60s, has been senior pastor of First Church of the Nazarene for 17 years at Point Loma Nazarene University and is popular on campus.”

A 7-man and 2-woman church jury voted unanimously “to convict” Rev. Selden Dee Kelley III (above), of being “out of harmony with the Church of the Nazarene’s doctrine, teaching, beliefs, and practices.” The jury also said that Kelley “publicly advocates beliefs that are unorthodox” and that “we require the surrender of his credential.”

Rev. Kelley has plans to file an appeal before another board within the Nazarene denomination at its Kansas City headquarters.

A Kelley defender, church board member and journalism prof at PLNU, Dean Nelson, said “the church board supports Kelley 100% and voted to continue his salary while on appeal,” and that “the board voted to continue allowing him and his wife to live in the Nazarene parsonage in Point Loma so they would not have to move out immediately.

Reporter Putnam also quoted Nelson as saying:

“All he did was ask for better dialogue on the topic of same-sex marriage.”

And then Nelson said,

“It’s been an outrageous several months. Classic fear and witch-hunt stuff. Shameful. This could have been avoided by having some grown-up discussion that would have been difficult, but healthy. Did we do that? Nope. The church hierarchy chose to draw the curtains around themselves and hope the problems would go away.”

“This was a colossal failure of imagination. Both the Old and New Testaments say over and over, ‘Fear not.’ But the church chose fear.”

Kelley has a lot of support on campus. On the first day of the 2-day trial held at the Holiday Inn in Point Loma on Aug. 11, Kelley and his wife were accompanied by 60 some supporters. And there was a lot of negative reaction to the verdict as well.

But Putnam recounts that “A PLNU faculty member, who asked not to be identified, said ‘A culture of fear’ has arisen as a result of this prosecution of Pastor Kelley. People are afraid of being fired, he said.”

There is a clear history behind the church’s hierarchy enforcing its anti-gay and lesbian policies. As Putnam outlines:

  • Two PLNU faculty members in 2023 were allegedly fired because they affirmed the LGBTQ community, according to Lauren Cazares, the founder of the Loma LGBTQIA+ Alumni & Allies Coalition, in a press release.PLNU disputes that allegation.
  • Melissa Tucker graduated from PLNU and earned her master’s degree at PLNU before she was hired as an instructor in 2015. She left in January 2023 and accepted a pastoral position at the Normal Heights United Methodist Church. She previously worked with Kelley at First Church.
  • Also dismissed was Dr. Mark Maddix, a theology professor, whose last day of teaching was on March 15.  He had sent out some emails in support of Tucker, which drew the wrath of the academic dean for “insubordination” and communicating with other faculty members about a personnel matter, according to a press release by Cazares.
  • Kelley faced controversy before in 2011 when Todd Clayton, then 21, was the elected student chaplain and he spoke at First Church in a press conference when he came out of the closet.
  • After same-sex marriage became the law of the land by the U.S. Supreme Court, PLNU ended all on-campus weddings in 2015, apparently so same-sex weddings could not be performed on campus.
  • In 2016, the university donated $50,000 to fight SB 1146, a measure that aimed to protect LGBTQ students at religious institutions.
  • The denomination is famous or infamously remembered for rules against dancing, drinking alcohol, card playing, attending movies, pre-marital sex, adultery, and any type of same-sex expression.
  • Some of these rules have been relaxed but drinking and unmarried sexual expression is still heavily discouraged. There also used to be bans on women wearing pants, jewelry, and make-up.

Nelson said,

“It’s all so unnecessary, rooted in fear of ‘the other.’ For Jesus, though, there is no such thing as an ‘other.’ Funny how the hierarchy misses that.”


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sealintheSelkirks August 31, 2023 at 8:15 pm

So here’s some snark:

Why is this a general public controversy? As long as religious zealots don’t require or promote their rules into secular politics; try to turn everybody into them so long as they don’t interfere with the legal (secular government) rights of others. I’m assuming here that nobody that isn’t part of their belief myths have any right to protest, correct? Isn’t that infringement of their rights under secular law? Aren’t the ‘members’ (and therefore their rulers) the only ones who can change the rules they live under?

Isn’t that what freedom of religion means? Think Jehovah Witnesses, Scientologists, Mennonites, Mormons, Catholics, Judism, Islam, Buddhists, etc etc the list goes on and on, and they all get to make up their own rules about what they want in ‘their’ buildings, in ‘their’ schools.

This private religious indoctrination institution has every secular right to make up their own rules pertaining to their specific beliefs, yes?

Personally I’m waiting for an old-timey group to kill a bull and burn the body in their backyard, will all due religious ceremony, because god likes the smell according to some. What an outrage that’ll bring down don’t ya think? Humane Society will be on them like…fleas on a dog. Or a bull. Do fleas like bull blood?

Oh wait a minute, have not religions already insidiously insinuated themselves into secular politics from the local to national in this country, with horribly results throughout history?

Never mind about not protesting then. Go ahead, just try and make them think outside the box they put themselves in!

Maybe this guy should just change his church affiliation to one that does accept this since, after all, they all claim to be the word of god and follow the same book. Or do they? Sure don’t see much about the parts saying ‘do unto others’ or ‘feed the poor’ and definitely that part about ‘rich men, heaven, camels and eyes of a needles.’



Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: