Theological Liberalism And Drag Queens In The Church

How Did Methodists Get From Wesley To Drag Queens?

Indiana United Methodist minister Craig Duke donned a big pink wig, lots of purple eye shadow, bright red lipstick, and high heels while appearing on a recent HBO episode of “We’re Here.” The series features HBO drag queen hosts visiting small towns to recruit local drag queens to perform.

Pastor Duke called his HBO experience in drag not only “worshipful” but an “incredibly wonderful, refreshing, deepening, powerful spiritual experience.” He explained his drag performance as solidarity with his “pansexual” daughter. Duke is now to be reassigned to a new church, but he is not the only Methodist doing drag.

United Methodist News Service recently posted a video about Illinois local church employee Isaac Simmons in a pearl necklace and bright red wig as “Ms. Penny Cost,” a play on Pentecost. “Drag is over-the-top and joyous,” he explained in character while performing at his church. At age 23, he’s also the first openly gay ministerial candidate approved by United Methodism’s mid and southern Illinois region, defying denominational law.

According to Simmons, who cites Queen Esther as a bold role model, “United Methodism is big enough to embrace both conservative theology and a drag queen.” Official United Methodist doctrine and policy requires clergy to be celibate if single and monogamous in marriage. Active homosexuals are prohibited from ordination, and same-sex rites are banned—at least officially. There is no official church policy on drag queens or transgenderism. Until very recently, no church could have imagined the need for such a policy. Read more»

MARK TOOLEY | “Drag Queens and The Coming Methodist Schism” | December 8, 2021


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. A suggestion for Grammar Guerilla (though strictly speaking, it should be something like Semantics Sniper rather than Grammar Guerilla): I think a discussion of the meanings of the words “Celibate” and “Chaste” is overdue.


  2. “This year, a United Methodist minister who has identified as “centrist” predicted that post-split (liberal) United Methodism would affirm “not only God’s beloved gay and lesbian ones, but a host of other folks who have found the door of the church closed to them: trans folks, bi folks, kink folks, poly folk, gender-fluid folk, and others.” Of course, “poly” refers to polyamory, or having many sex partners congruently. Drag queens certainly will be affirmed, likely surprising many congregations.”

    I don’t know what religion this is, but it is not Christianity. This is, inevitably, where the Side A/Side B debate leads.

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