Why the Methodists did what they did

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We covered the demonstration following rejection of any official accommodation of conscience for clergy and laity in the Methodist Church who are supporters of marriage equality last week. But there’s more to what happened than just the demonstration. The Conference decided, after the votes that would have officially admitted a diversity of opinion to cancel all subsequent votes on issues touching on the same subject.


Episcopal News Service has a good analysis (with links to source material) of the whole sequence of events:

“On May 3, the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered in Tampa, Fla., soundly rejected two motions that would have amended the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline, which calls the practice of homosexuality ‘incompatible with Christian teaching.’ After those votes, protesters flooded the convention floor, briefly shutting down the conference.

Conference planners, evangelical leaders and gay and lesbian advocates met later that day and determined that there was little use in holding additional contentious debates on homosexuality, according to several sources. Proposals to ordain gay clergy and bless same-sex unions held little chance of passing, the parties agreed, and so were pushed to the back of the agenda, essentially assuring that they would not be debated.

‘Leaders of the demonstration were told that the legislation was postponed to avoid more harm to LGBT people and their supporters,’ the Love Your Neighbor Coalition said in a statement. ‘The United Methodist Church had an opportunity to offer love, grace, and hope,’ the coalition said. ‘Sadly, we did not take that opportunity.’

The UMC’s policy remains that ministers cannot marry same-sex couples and churches cannot host same-sex weddings. Clergy in same-sex relationships are likewise banned.”

More here.

The Methodist Conference went on to rule unconstitutional all of the proposed changes to their structure (previously covered here). Not a good a good outcome for many in the US Methodist Church on either account.

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Nicole Porter
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Nicole Porter

Peter, Would you rather someone lie about how they feel to your face and do something entirely different behind your back? People in person were overwhelmingly against Amendment One in NC, yet it passed with the same percentage the Methodist struck down the Book of Discipline changes: 61% to 39%. People are lying about how they feel apparently.

Matty, Orthodox Jews still hold to the 613 laws. I'm not a Jew. What do you say to those who actually do??

Eric, I'm speaking on the subject just as everyone else is. The church isn't monolithic in thought and never will be. Just as people will express their support, there will be people expressing their opposition.

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E Sinkula
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E Sinkula

Yawn.....

Nicole and Vicki: you have traditional understandings about sexuality - we get it. Super.

Everyone else (including me): you support same sex marriage and wish for more inclusive stances for us GLBT members - we get it.

Let's move on for God's sake (literally).

Eric

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Matty Zaradich
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Matty Zaradich

...pardon, rather "nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials." (Lev. 19:19)

You get the picture.

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Matty Zaradich
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Matty Zaradich

In the spirit of transparency, you should enumerate your personal beliefs here so we can all have a fuller understanding of exactly what you mean when you, as many do, attempt to "however" such "nice" people away, in honor of your deeply held beliefs.

I'm just wondering to where you wish to "however" LGBTQ people away. Hell?

I'm also confounded on your use of "traditional". What do you actually mean? How far back do we go in history to find the genesis of your "traditional" beliefs? Shall we go to Leviticus? If so, I beg you to please check the fabric count on the shirt you're currently wearing-- if it's made of more than one fiber, do burn it forthwith, and avoid eternal damnation, for indeed "you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed" (Lev. 19:19).

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Peter Pearson
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Peter Pearson

Nicole, I wonder if you have any idea what it feels like to have your life spoken of as if it were an issue rather than your life? I'm not a science experiment nor is it a question for debate in the abstract. It's my life and I doubt you've ever had to deal with other people assuming to decide what your life is about or worth or deserving of and I hope you never will have to because it's pretty awful. Empathy seems like something Christians should just get though and I don't hear it in this conversation. That's sad.

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