300 Protestors Disrupt Methodist Convention Over Anti-gay Vote
Nearly 1,000 delegates at the United Methodist Church's General Conference voted on the church's gay policies, the Star-Telegram reports, opting to both discriminate and resolve to oppose discrimination:
"While affirming the existing guidelines about sexuality, delegates also approved a resolution Wednesday opposing homophobia. Numerous delegates at the crowded session spoke into microphones placed around the convention center floor. One man from Africa said that 'we love homosexuals, but we detest what they do.' Others said condemnation of homosexual behavior conflicts with Jesus' message of love and acceptance. The church must guard against 'denying companionship and intimacy in loving relationships just because there are differences of understanding,' a Texas pastor said...One man, who said he is gay, said the church is a 'safe place. ... That should not be sacrificed.' A woman suggested that the Social Principles should be modified: 'Let's just say we are all faithful Christians and agree to disagree.'"
Here's how the vote went: "Approved, 517-416, keeping the statement that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Rejected, 574-298, a measure that would have changed the church's definition of marriage to include same-sex unions. Approved, 544-365, a resolution opposing homophobia and discrimination against lesbians or gays."
This morning, 300 people entered the Fort Worth convention center in a "negotiated disruption" (aka a protest) of the proceedings over yesterday's vote: "The protesters -- some wearing arm bands or buttons with 'All means all' or other slogans -- walked down the center aisle in a statement arranged with conference leaders. Protest leaders and several bishops then went to meet in a private area for conference officials called "holy conferencing." It was not known how long the meeting would be or whether those meeting would issue a statement later today. Marcher Ed Hoar, 65 and retiree from Delaware, Ohio, said he works for a suicide hotline, 'I discovered what kind of pain we cause gay people,' Hoar said. 'They’re just regular people trying to lead regular lives. ...There was an opportunity to do the right thing, but the church didn't have the courage to do it.'"
Methodist delegates vote to reject same-sex unions [star-telegram]
300 protest at Methodist conference in Fort Worth [star-telegram]