Church Fires Pastor Who Put on Drag Show to Show ‘Allyship’ with Pansexual Daughter

'Pastor' Craig in drag

Last month, Pastor Craig Duke of Newburgh United Methodist Church in Evansville, Indiana was featured in HBO’s We’re Here, a show presenting three well-known drag queens small-town America in order to give visibility and humanize their garish and hideous self-expression.

Duke, whose daughter recently came out as “pansexual’ participated in the show after the town’s pride board asked him to do so, based on his previous support for LGBTQ issues, as well as so he could show himself as an “ally to his daughter.” Naturally, he received a drag makeover and put on a drag show, wearing caked-on makeup, a tall pink wig, 4-inch heels, and lip-sang to Ke$ha’s We R Who We R.” He explains:

“I was surrounded and immersed in a culture that I’ve never been immersed in, and one of the things in ministry, if you want to involve people different than yourself in your ministry, you have to go to where people different than you are. The invitation to be part of the show allowed me that….I’m hoping it’s a bridge — for my daughter, for the church I serve, for the denomination I love and for me — and I’m hoping my voice will become stronger.”

The church, which is deeply compromised and barely deserves credit here, decided to fire Duke and relieve him of his pastoral duties. Though they have not released a statement why, a GoFundMe setup for Dule and his wife states.

“Unfortunately, Craig’s participation in this show caused much turmoil in the church that he was serving at the time and ultimately lead to him being ‘relieved of pastoral duties’ at that church,” 


UPDATE. Mitch Gieselman, the Superintendent of the south and southwest district of the Indiana UMC later sent a letter to members on behalf of the church, writing in part:


…”Craig has not ‘resigned,’ nor has he been ‘fired,’ as these are not actions that are consistent with our appointment system. While there is a diversity of opinion regarding the moral implications of Rev. Duke’s actions, he has not been found to have committed any chargeable offense or other violation of the United Methodist Book of Discipline.”

“In short, Craig has reached a place where he feels unable to continue to serve in parish ministry at present. During his time of being relieved from pastoral duties, he will be engaging in a process of renewal, reflection, and recovery,” the statement continued, later adding, “Our desire is to provide an opportunity for Craig to again be able to utilize his numerous gifts as a pastor in a local congregation. He will not, however, be returning to the NUMC pulpit.”




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