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Methodists Uphold Policy That Homosexuality is 'Incompatible with Christian Teaching'

United Methodists voted yesterday to uphold the denomination's anti-gay position that deems homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching," despite protests from activists, Religion News Service reports:

MethodistTwo “agree to disagree” proposals were soundly defeated during separate votes by the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference in Tampa, Fla. One proposal would have replaced the “incompatible” phrase in the Book of Discipline, which contains the denomination’s laws and doctrines. Both proposals sought to soften the disputed doctrine by adding more ambiguous statements about homosexuality...The proposals defeated on Thursday would have acknowledged that diversity, but, some conservatives argued, at the cost of muddying traditional doctrines."

Today, Methodist delegates are scheduled to debate the church's bans on same-sex marriage and gay clergy.

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  1. Tomorrow's vote should be a real nailbiter. After calling homosexuality incompatible with their religion, hard to see a groundswell of support for having gay clergy.

    Posted by: Brian | May 4, 2012 1:04:23 PM


  2. therefore any "progressive" members should immediately withdraw, and cease all, financial support.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 4, 2012 1:09:31 PM


  3. littlekiwi -- While I think there are many congregations in the denomination (including my own) which would like to do just that, the reality is that would leave their clergy without support as health care, pensions and "standing" are all controlled at the national level. Few congregations could go-it-alone buying healthcare and pensions for their clergy; national plans have more clout and therefore cost much less than independent policies. Few ministers would be willing to give-up their 'standing' in the denomination to serve congregations which have left the fold. I could happen and no doubt a handful of congregations will do just that, but I don't see that as a major threat to the denomination. More work needs to be done. I suspect that when the voting data is analyzed we will find that "bible-belt" delegates and those from the conservative south have prevailed.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | May 4, 2012 1:18:20 PM


  4. Quite a few churches have now actively united in their opposition to gay rights to equality.....they have made that quite clear.
    Their attempts to defeat our rights are coordinated and cooperative. Ratzinger is probably the chief spokesman........it is just a unity of bigotry and discrimination, not founded on any doctrinal authority and oblivious to the approval of the texts to same sex relationships of Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi.
    But have no doubt about their united hatred of us and their political activities against us.

    Posted by: JackFkTwist | May 4, 2012 1:18:44 PM


  5. Ooops......that was David and jonathan...."whose love passeth the love of women"....King James Version.

    Posted by: JackFkTwist | May 4, 2012 1:19:58 PM


  6. These hypocrites who wrap themselves in robes are no better than the common bigot or criminal on the streets. They deserve no respect, and any thinking person should refuse to be associated with such filth. And yes, I was baptised into that particular sect.

    Posted by: carl | May 4, 2012 1:29:37 PM


  7. valid points, Alex, but the reality is that organized religion is a business, operates as a business, and thus can be "controlled" as a business - when bigotry means they lose money, it gives them a reason to rethink their stances. no group wants to be proudly broke.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 4, 2012 1:30:20 PM


  8. It's not the UM clergy and hierarchy that are doing this. One half of the General Conference delegates are laypeople, and they're increasingly coming from the US Southeast and from the UMC's growth in Africa and the Phillipines, regions that are extremely anti-gay. (An African delegate yesterday on the floor of the conference compared gay people to animals.) 40% of the delegates are from outside the U.S. and that number is going to continue to grow.

    The anti-gay trend within the UMC is only going to increase, as the liberal portion of the UMC continues to shrink. Sadly, I'm increasingly thinking that there's no hope for any improvement on gay issues in this particular Protestant denomination.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | May 4, 2012 1:36:14 PM


  9. And minor point, but the official UMC position is that "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings", not homosexuality itself. Might as well be accurate. (And yes, I've heard all the jokes about "practicing".)

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | May 4, 2012 1:38:03 PM


  10. For better or worse, the United Methodist Church includes both U.S. congregations and congregations abroad - mostly in West Africa and the Philippines. (Their largest district is the Ivory Coast.)

    These African congregations are in cultures where being gay is taboo. These attitudes carry over into their churches and are reflected in their votes. If it was put up to a vote of U.S. members alone, it would have been repealed a long time ago.

    Unfortunately U.S. membership is in decline whilst African membership is on the rise, so it's unlikely that this statement will be repealed any time soon.

    Posted by: toujoursdan | May 4, 2012 1:39:40 PM


  11. As an atheist, I've always viewed this sort of story as yet one more layer of crazy on religion being nothing more than institutionalized insanity.

    Posted by: thunderboltfan | May 4, 2012 2:05:49 PM


  12. It's one of those vicious circle situations. The more the non-haters leave the
    Christian churches, the more haters gain power.
    Add in the delegates from the hateful cultures and, well, that's that.
    Time to just forget the Methodist church completely. They missed the curve on this one when they still could have done the right thing. From here on out, it's just down hill for what was once a sane group of Christians.

    Posted by: enough already | May 4, 2012 2:36:52 PM


  13. It's one of those vicious circle situations. The more the non-haters leave the
    Christian churches, the more haters gain power.
    Add in the delegates from the hateful cultures and, well, that's that.
    Time to just forget the Methodist church completely. They missed the curve on this one when they still could have done the right thing. From here on out, it's just down hill for what was once a sane group of Christians.

    Posted by: enough already | May 4, 2012 2:36:54 PM


  14. It's one of those vicious circle situations. The more the non-haters leave the
    Christian churches, the more haters gain power.
    Add in the delegates from the hateful cultures and, well, that's that.
    Time to just forget the Methodist church completely. They missed the curve on this one when they still could have done the right thing. From here on out, it's just down hill for what was once a sane group of Christians.

    Posted by: enough already | May 4, 2012 2:36:54 PM


  15. I wish the Methodists would then REALLY follow the...how did they put it...what is "compatible with Christian teaching," and be pro-slavery, tell their women pastors they can no longer lead a church, condemn and protests outside of every Red Lobster restaurant in the world, stopping having their ministers cut their hair or get tattoos.

    Please, if you're going to "Christian" they follow it all. Otherwise the Methodists heirarchy are hypocrites and actually anti-Christ (well, actually anti-Bible. Since Christ said nothing -- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING -- about homosexuality, or any of this other stuff. He did say, oh that's right, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. How's that working out for those Methodists?)

    Posted by: Bart | May 4, 2012 2:44:23 PM


  16. Hey everyone - just want to echo the comments above that a lot of us who ARE fighting for equality were simply outnumbered.

    As one of my ten thousand odd jobs living in LA, I'm also the director of communications for Hollywood United Methodist Church. We are one of the largest UMC in the district, and we ARE the largest GROWING.

    Three years ago, we averaged about 150 a service and today, we average about 320. And it's because of our reconciling ministry. We have been very vocal about our support the LGBTQ community here in Hollywood. Christopher Street West honored us as a community two Prides ago.

    The church made a very controversial move in the 90s when it placed two large AIDS ribbons on the tower of the church. Some people left. But more people came.

    During the Prop 8 protests, we marched as a congregation and ended many marches in the parking lot of the church.

    Truth takes time. It's going to take more time and it's going to take more support.

    It hurts us deeply that there are other members of our own denomination who don't see the world the way we do. And perhaps if they did, THEY would be growing. It's mind-numbing to see these churches turn away the very people who want and need the church.

    Church is supposed to be about community. Christianity is supposed to be the act of being "Christ-like." And Christ hung out with prostitutes. He helped the poor. He advocated for change.

    We feed and clothe 200 homeless people outside out doors every Tuesday. We send teams to Haiti, Mississippi, (and this fall, Alabama) to rebuild homes, destroyed by natural disasters. We march for equality till our feet bleed. We have an AIDS outreach. We support a battered women's shelter. And we try to preach and teach the next generation of young people that love is love and all are welcome.

    So... (sorry for the long rant here) - please don't think it's ALL United Methodists. Because there are some of us that are fighting very, very hard to be the change the church needs.

    Chad Darnell

    Posted by: Chad Darnell | May 4, 2012 3:10:58 PM


  17. Not to long ago they wanted to bring back prohibition and have mandatory prayer in public schools, so this might be progress.

    Posted by: anon | May 4, 2012 3:17:17 PM


  18. Sorry, Chad, but this was the end.
    I let my husband and myself be persuaded to attend the wedding of a distant relation at a Methodist church out west.
    The ushers actually came over to us during the service and told us we must leave - we had been holding hands.
    You should leave these hateful monsters and go your own way. They are only going to get worse.

    Posted by: enough already | May 4, 2012 3:33:47 PM


  19. Sorry, Chad, but this was the end.
    I let my husband and myself be persuaded to attend the wedding of a distant relation at a Methodist church out west.
    The ushers actually came over to us during the service and told us we must leave - we had been holding hands.
    You should leave these hateful monsters and go your own way. They are only going to get worse.

    Posted by: enough already | May 4, 2012 3:33:48 PM


  20. Here's a thought: Christian teaching (and that of most other religions) is incompatible with reality. If it were really the word of an all knowing diety, wouldn't he have slipped a little lagniappe in there about nuclear fission, genetic engineering, Moore's Law, etc.

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | May 4, 2012 3:36:39 PM


  21. My friend's aunt earned $16991 past month. she is making money on the computer and moved in a $584700 condo. All she did was get fortunate and put in action the directions laid out on this web site.... is(dot)gd/6kJUeB

    Posted by: joanna | May 4, 2012 4:07:18 PM


  22. My dad is a pastor, and he's mentioned many times that a good amount of UMC churches are dying off because of a lack of influx of new members. Well... Duh. Younger generations aren't going to subscribe to a denomination that is so resistant to change. No wonder contemporary churches which focus less on who to hate and more on positive lessons from the bible are on the rise.

    Posted by: Wdeanis | May 4, 2012 4:23:12 PM


  23. As a child, I was raised and confirmed in the Methodist Church. This news... it's just... I really don't care. I haven't attended service in at least four years. If this is how it's about to be. I'll go somewhere that is affirming.

    Posted by: KZ | May 4, 2012 4:48:43 PM


  24. Please see this link for what our people tried to do at conference: http://gc12.org/featured/interrupting-harm/

    Posted by: Chad Darnell | May 4, 2012 7:51:33 PM


  25. This really suprises me. When I was growing up, my family went to a Methodist church for a year--the town where we happened to be living at that point didn't have a Lutheran one. Having experienced both, I felt that the Methodists were much less conservative and uptight than the Lutherans. Yet the Lutherans are the ones who went "gay is ok" recently.

    Posted by: jim | May 4, 2012 9:48:53 PM


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