Yesterday, delegates1 representing about 13 million United Methodists around the globe voted to change the church’s official stance on sexuality by adding phrases like, “sexual relations are only clearly affirmed in the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage bond.” They decided to keep a previous statement that reads, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” Other developments during the day made it less likely that we will realize the acceptance of homosexual clergy any time soon, and even affirmed local pastors’ right to choose who can and cannot join the church. You can read more about these decisions on the United Methodist Church website.
I was hopeful, and honestly optimistic, that this group of people would make changes to the discipline in the other direction… the inclusive direction. How can we take it upon ourselves to decide who can fully partake of the gifts that God has for us? Why can’t a homosexual or transgendered person be a shepherd for us when we need guidance?
This video is an advertisement for the United Church of Christ. I wish that I could identify such a message with my own denomination.
And finally, a couple of quotes from the late Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr.:
“For Christians, the problem is not how to reconcile homosexuality with scriptural passages that condemn it, but how to reconcile the rejection and punishment of homosexuals with the love of Christ.”2
“In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists. By abolishing slavery and ordaining women, millions of Protestants have gone far beyond biblical literalism. It’s time we did the same for homophobia.”
Vaya con Dios, amigos.
1) You can read more about these delegates and their purpose on the General Conference website.
2) An Open Letter from Rev. William Sloane Coffin to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops 2000
3) “Commentary: It’s clear that homophobia was reason for ad’s rejection,” United Church News, 2004-DEC-15