Democracy can really be a bitch, can't it. I refer to an article in the New York Times, Methodists Vote Not to Change Outlook on Homosexuality. (I've also consulted the umc.org website and an article there, Delegates cannot agree that they disagree on sexuality issue) And JUST in time for the vote on Amendment One in North Carolina too.
It's really a slap in the face of the over 400 Reconciling churches too.
The Methodist Church has an interesting history in the country. Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield, according to Franklin, became friends, and John Wesley established the first Methodist Church in the US in 1784. The Northern and Southern branches split over the issue of slavery in the 1840s, and they didn't formally reunite until 1968 as the United Methodist Church.
The UMC has an annual convention every four years. This year,they voted on two measures that dealt with recognizing the LGBT members of the church, one to overturn
The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 161F [which] states: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”39% of the delegates voted to change the outlook of the church. It's a significant number. But the bigots prevailed.
The delegates also defeated a compromise amendment proposed by the advocates of equality for gay members, which said that Methodists can agree to disagree on homosexuality and still live together as a church.Nope, reconcilers. Do what you want, but the main body of the church says don't call yourselves Methodists if you do.
A delegate from Africa likened homosexuality to bestiality only moments after several American delegates pleaded with the conference to “hear the pain” of gay church members. When protesters supporting gay rights interrupted the convention with loud singing after the vote, the moderator ended the morning session early and closed the convention hall to visitors.Suppression, too. Very nice.
The article concludes with the news that the denomination's membership is shrinking in this country, while it grows abroad, "mostly in Africa and the Philippines." Very smart to throw out almost 40% of your North American members, isn't it.
I wonder if the reconciling Methodists will actually cause a schism. The first two comments on the article from the umc.org website read
The Episcopal Church welcomes you!!!and
The Unitarians, UCC, and Unity church welcome you as well. This single issue sheds light on the sad fact that United Methodism has ceased to be relevant in nearly every matter it professes to engage. If a church cannot open its doors to all it has no business proclaiming to have open minds, hearts, or doors. Therefore, I am taking our church’s advice and “rethinking church…” My conclusion: Good-bye UMC.It will be interesting to watch.
7:27 PM PT: Thank you for the republishings! I wasn't sure this would be useful.