Retired minister sets self on fire to protest discrimination of LGBTs, human rights

By : Staff Report
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Grand Saline, TX – A retired Texas minister committed suicide on June 23 by setting himself on fire to combat and protest continuing human rights injustices.

The deceased human rights activist, Charles Moore, 79, doused himself in gasoline in a strip-mall in Grand Saline then lit himself on fire, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Hearing his screams, witnesses rushed to help put out the flames that engulfed Moore using bottled water, shirts and a fire extinguisher.

He was flown to a Dallas hospital where he later died from burn injuries.

Moore left behind a note that detailed his reasons for committing suicide.

“I would much prefer to go on living and enjoy my beloved wife and grandchildren and others, but I have come to believe that only my self-immolation will get the attention of anybody and perhaps inspire some to higher service,” he said in the note.

Moore’s note also talked about the continuing discrimination against the LGBT community, the ban that prevented Methodist clergy from preforming same-sex marriages, cuts in social programs for the poor, and other injustices.

Moore had been a long-time activist, but felt he hadn’t done enough to help alleviate problems, The Advocate said. Moore helped combat racism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty. It was also reported that he once went on a 15-day hunger strike to protest the treatment of gays.

One witness of the horrifying incident told the Tyler Morning Telegraph she would never forget the what happened.

“He had been walking around the parking lot for a while, but he didn’t seem like anything was wrong,” Angi McPherson, 44, said in an interview with the Morning Telegraph. “After awhile we saw him grab something square (police report would show it was a 2-by-3-foot piece of foam) and knelt down. Then we saw him grab a gas can and begin pouring something all over him. We were like, ‘Is that gas?’”

Ms. McPherson called the incident troubling.

“He suddenly burst into flames, and he stood up and started screaming,” she said. “One of the guys ran and tried to put him out with his shirt, while my boyfriend ran to him with a fire extinguisher and finally put him out.”

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