Breaking news: United Methodist Bishop drops all charges against Thomas Ogletree, calls for end of “disciplining” UMC pastors who perform gay weddings

Last October Dr. Thomas Ogletree (above), a clergyman in the United Methodist Church (UMC), performed the wedding ceremony for his gay son.

UMC pastors are not supposed to marry gay couples, family members or otherwise. They’re instead supposed to believe what their Book of Discipline (which is to the UMC what, say, the Tax Code Book is to the IRS) tells them to believe, which is that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

By marrying his gay son Dr. Ogletree broke UMC law. And (predictably) he got in trouble for it. A formal complaint was filed against him, and ultimately Dr. Ogletree was told that he would have to face a UMC canonical trial for violating church rules.

That trial was supposed to be today.

The problem with “disciplining” Tom Ogletree is that Tom Ogletree is an adult—and then some. Before retiring, Dr. Ogletree, 79, was dean of both the Yale Divinity School and Drew Theological Seminary. He is currently professor Emeritus of Theological Ethics at Yale. From 1978-81 he was director of graduate studies in religion at Vanderbilt University. He’s the author of such books as The Use of the Bible in Christian Ethics and Hospitality to the Stranger: Dimensions of Moral Understanding. Since 1980, he has served on the editorial board of The Journal of Religious Ethics.

The point being: telling Dr. Thomas Ogletree what he should or shouldn’t think about homosexuality or gay marriage is like telling King Kong what he should or shouldn’t think about bananas or tall buildings.

Too late. Already all over it.

Guess what happened this morning instead of the trial of Thomas Ogletree? The UMC bishop overseeing the trial dropped all charges against the pastor. And he didn’t just drop them, either. He turned them into a huge brass bell he used to ring what will likely be remembered as the death knell of the anti-gay policy of the largest mainline Christian denomination in the world.

Right now—literally, as I’m typing this—in the offices of the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church in White Plains, NY, Resident Bishop Martin D. McLee (below) is calling for, and committing to, an absolute end to the censuring of any UMC pastor for performing gay weddings. It is the first time in history that a sitting United Methodist bishop has categorically declared that he will not prosecute pastors for ministering to LGBTQ people.

Said Bishop McLee:

As the Bishop of the New York Annual Conference, in consideration of my responsibility to provide spiritual, pastoral and temporal oversight for those committed to my care, I call for and commit to a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same-gender wedding ceremonies and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation.

Mark this day, friends. It’s a good one.

(Dr. Ogletree’s legal defense was provided by Methodists Moving in New Directions, the first LGBT-affirming organization to join the Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project.)

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • jnelson522

    We often avoid saying this during Lent, but — HALLELUJAH!

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship Censored

      By the authority of my sweat stained hat and Nature’s God, and in mercy towards you, I absolve you from all Lenten misdeeds and remit all punishments for eternity and a day.

  • buricco

    It’s a start, but when will a revision of the Book of Discipline come out that doesn’t reject gays out of hand?

    I am not sure I want to return to the UMC until I can be sure that as transgender, I won’t also be rejected out of hand (I drifted away from the church before I came out of the wardrobe).

    • http://devotionalarticles.com Dan

      There is still a long ways to go but this is a very good start and reason for a small celebration. I am hoping this will also trickle over to some of the other denominations.

    • anakinmcfly

      There’s a separate section in the BOD for trans people; apparently they think that we should be sent for therapy. But what that means is that it’s possible that the trans section might change even if the gay section does not, and vice versa. They’re not necessarily linked. I know of Methodist clergy who accept trans people but not gay people, which isn’t logical if they’re going to base their condemnation of the latter on the notion of genitals not fitting, because at least some heterosexual trans people are going to be having sexual relations that are anatomically similar.

      • buricco

        Well, if one ignores the transgender, I’m not gay and don’t identify as such, but a lot of people do link the two.

        • anakinmcfly

          Yeah. It sucks that people still conflate gender identity and sexual orientation. It leads to them asking questions like why I bothered to transition to male if I’ve always been attracted to guys. But then they’re practically implying that the only reason they consider themselves men or women is because it makes it easier for them to get laid; and *we’re* the sex-obsessed perverts?

      • Sheila Warner

        It just goes to show that gender isn’t about genitalia. Gender is in the mind. I’ve met a few transgenders, male to female, and they are just as normal as anyone else.

        • anakinmcfly

          I vaguely recall reading about past cultures that considered anatomy completely irrelevant to anything other than procreation, and instead based gender roles on observing kids at play and social interaction.

          P.S. – ‘transgender’ is an adjective, not a noun’. :) So it’s ‘transgender people’, not ‘transgenders’. Whereas ‘transsexual’ is both an adjective and a noun’. English is weird that way.

  • Marilyn

    The point is that he agreed to uphold certain values and ethics of his profession as a member of a particular group. If a lawyer disobeyed the values and ethics he or she had vowed to uphold would they not be sanctioned? Dis-barred? The same with many groups. Are they not adults too? If a person can no longer uphold the vows they made as part of a group they should get a professional divorce – leave. Do not toss sour apples at the rules and values they choose to violate but just leave. If they are right….what is left will be a husk and if they are not….the dialogue continues or a new denomination emerges or another grows.

    • Christie Draper

      Marilyn: the Nazi’s also agreed to uphold Hitler’s values and ethics as a “member of a particular group…..” Dissenting because the policy is immoral and wrong is what is RIGHT

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      How did Pastor Ogletree not hold up to the values and ethics of his profession? The book of Disciple is a guideline and there are all sorts of guidelines that are not adhered to by every Methodist. It is not DA RULES which are never to be broken.

      • Jarell

        Did you just referencing the Fairly Oddparents? If so you get ten points from me.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I did!! My grandkids were watching a Fairly Oddparents marathon a couple of weekends ago. I love that silly little show.

    • Leslie Marbach

      The problem with that is by *not* ministering to same-sex couples equally and performing those ceremonies pastors would be violating other portions of the BOD. Hopefully at the next General Conference that line in the BOD will be removed. I’m thankful for ministers like Ogletree and Schaeffer and the others who have stood up against the bigotry that has prevailed for too long within the church. They are doing God’s work.

    • Kit

      If people did as you suggest we’d still have slavery and women couldn’t vote.

    • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

      A decision was obviously made not to go forward with this trial, and I don’t know all the reasons for it.

      However, to use your lawyer example, let’s look at that. A lawyer is not supposed to commit a crime and cannot encourage a client to commit a crime. However, a lawyer can instruct a client as to how to challenge an existing law that is thought to be unconstitutional or otherwise no good. IN effect, this amounts to the same thing as instructing a client to violate existing law.

      Rosa Parks wasn’t acting alone. She had legal counsel telling her how to challenge the law.

      That’s largely what happened here. He took a gamble and it paid off.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    I am a happy Methodist with this ruling. Now lets go for full inclusion, for all who wish to be a part of our group.

    • Linnea912

      Me, too! I’ve been part of a Reconciling Congregation for almost 10 years, and this is really good to see, but we need to keep pushing.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Mine’s not…yet (tis the south, and we always drag our feets)…but there are those of us who are hopefully awaiting the day.

  • John Thomas

    The challenge with this is that in the NY Annual Conference (episcopal area–”diocese”) this is the case, but in an annual conference next door, in the same jurisdiction (“province”), there can still be trials and defrocking as a result. I and others have often argued that bishops have more power in the UMC than they often claim– there’s no church law that says complaints MUST go to trial, and Rev. Dean Synder wrote a great blog post on the topic.

    The policies are unjust and must change in 2016, hopefully our conservative brothers and sisters here in the US and across the world will hear our prayers and God will place a change of their minds on their hearts.

  • Marie Ugorek

    correction–UM clergy are not necessarily supposed to “believe” what the book of discipline says, they are supposed to COMPLY with it. That said, the characterization of the BOD as the UM equivalent of the tax code is fairly accurate: It is a complex document written over time, revised every four years, and designed to allow the denomination to minister as a unified body despite a wide variation in theological philosophies. As such, the wordings of many passages are the result of a great deal of compromise and the wordings of many other passages have not been changed yet because the predominant understandings (or even political complications) of certain individuals, congregations, districts, and conferences have still not caught up in the movement which understands that the Spirit is moving us toward a more inclusive understanding of the scripture. This is a small step, but there can only BE small steps in this process, unless and until God sends an indisputable, clear, prophetic sign to all at General Conference. As the Bible clearly shows that God tends toward cryptic messages revealed initially to a few, I don’t think we can expect THAT.

  • ZEROthefirst

    And so begins the bickering and squabbling of Christians who demand everything be done their way. Before anyone says anything about “well it’s the principle that matters here” I get it, but the majority of you preach that you’re supposed to be loving and caring towards anyone and do your best to bring others to God, but then little things like this cause you to go bat s*** insane and drive far more people away from your inability to willingly accept that not every living being is going to think as you do and follow something like you do. You’ll exclaim that they’re the ignorant ones for not following God, but they could very easily return the “you’re ignorant” message for a narrow view on others.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Huh???

    • ruth hampton

      Agreed. If Christians would turn their energy toward doing things that are good, true, and holy and away from arguing amongst ourselves much good would be accomplished. I understand that everyone has different beliefs. God created us uniquely. I just think a lot of time is spent on the wrong focus.

  • 2patricius2

    This is indeed good news.

  • Grace Murray

    While this is “good news” on its face, I cannot help but note that it seems retired clergy, not under appointment, are able to act out of their conscience. However, active clergy are still subject to trail, lose their credentials and livelihood.

  • penzance

    Bishop McLee is obeying a higher authority than the Book of Discipline.

    • ituri

      At least the authority of society exists. Unlike other mythical authorities you would prefer take precedent over the betterment of mankind.

  • ituri

    All I have to say is… WOOT!

  • burned_out

    Makes one want to join the Catholic or MS Lutheran church.

    • MidwestKris

      It is one of the reasons I LEFT the LCMS. Pope Francis, though – makes Catholicism seem possible; the Pope wants the Catholic Church to study same-sex unions, ‘rather than simply condemn them…’

    • Paul Linxwiler

      Not really.

    • Cary Bass-Deschenes

      If your choice of religion is contingent on your support or opposition to same-sex marriage, you’d be better off an atheist.

    • Matt

      Why? Most likely this ruling will have exactly zero impact on your life.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Agreed.

      • burned_out

        Liberals foul everything. If it weren’t for them I might consider going to church again. I cannot abide being in the same room with them.

        • Joe

          If you can’t abide being even in the same room with a Christ-follower who disagrees with you on certain things, you have greater problems to deal with than the debate on gay marriage.

          • ruth hampton

            Amen.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          And yet you are here.

          • burned_out

            Not wanting to get too personal, I had to tolerate the Liberal rantings of the ex-pastor of the largest Baptist church in Huston, in order to pass a university class in the New Testament, that was required for my ultimate graduation.
            I am sorrowed to see the Christian churches ripped apart by Liberals. So I comment.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            (waves). I’m a liberal. I believe the church should be feeding the poor, caring for the homeless, offering comfort wherever it is needed, with no strings attached…being people of peace and generosity, and looking at everyone as their favorite next door neighbor, shunning, condemnation, hatred, bigotry and anything that drives wedges in communities, families, etc.

          • Michael Rowe

            Amen.

          • Michael Rowe

            You went to university but you still can’t spell “Houston?”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Most Baptist pastors, I am aware of, past or present are men I would not label as liberal. And the one former one I do know personally who I would lable thus, wouldn’t know how to rant if his life depended on it.

          • burned_out

            British spell checker. My Bad.

          • Michael Rowe

            There is no “British spelling” for place names. You just can’t spell “Houston,” period.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Speaking of Houston. I attended two masses at a gorgeous Catholic church very close to downtown, when i visited on vacation. It was such a peaceful setting, and a beautiful spiritual experience.

          • Lamont Cranston

            May your sorrow never end.

        • Michael Rowe

          Yes, that’s more or less what the Pharisees and the Romans said about Christ. You’re in pretty specific company.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            The inimitable Michael Rowe! That’s TWICE you’ve lately visited my blog! I’m now happy.

        • Sheila Warner

          Can’t even abide being in the same room with them? Jesus actually ate dinner with some of them.

      • Andy

        No! I don’t like cake, so I’m not going to have it, and nobody else can have it either! Nobody gets cake!

        • Matt

          Clearly, the cake is a lie.

    • Rhonda Painter

      Why? So that you could just go straight to disapproving of any marriage not performed by a priest?

  • Paul Linxwiler

    Hahahaha . . . no one cares about your scripture-vomiting anymore.

    • Paul Linxwiler

      It’s only “true” in your head.

  • David Chipman

    I normally wouldn’t use this phrase (explaining why would be kind of a long story), but “God is Good!”

  • Paul Linxwiler

    And what will you complain about when your inevitable defeat on this topic comes to pass in a few years time? You’re wasting your breath; your worldview is fading. Notice I said “your” worldview, not “god’s” because they’re not the same thing. You’re just cutting and pasting scriptural passages to buttress your own prejudices. Give up: you’ve lost this fight.

  • Anne Barker

    Is about time!!!

  • R Vogel

    What does this mean for Frank Shaefer?

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Hopefully full restitution and a church to call home.

  • Ed Sumner

    This man didn’t break “UMC Law”, HE BROKE GOD’S LAW YOU CLOWN! Godless apostates like you AND him are taking all those who agree with you straight to perdition. May the One True God of heaven reward you according to your deeds!

    • BarbaraR

      Whenever anyone uses the word “Godless,” I automatically think of Les Nessman and the Godless tornadoes. Or monster lizards.

      http://youtu.be/wML2V6crNc0

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I loved that show!!

        • BarbaraR

          “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

      • JohnVHedtke

        Brava! What a wonderful association!!

    • Michael Rowe

      You sound like a suicide bombing jihadist, Ed.

    • Brian Meyer

      Study Galatians, the whole thing, it’s short, try it in multiple translations. You are trying to judge one more learned in the bible than you, but then that happened in Jesus’s day as well. He is living the following passage, and has moved beyond law into spirit.

      Galatians 6:1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

    • Sheila Warner

      Wow, “may the OTG reward you according to your deeds”? Are you anxious for that to happen? “May” he do so? And, someone who disagrees with what you believe is a clown? You are certainly free to name call those people who accept gay marriage, but I’m not sure how that is better than merely saying “This is what I believe, and why. This is why I disagree with the UMC”. Instead, you lashed out. smh

      • JohnVHedtke

        Sheila, he’s one o’ them really *C*H*R*I*S*T*I*A*N* Christian types with no sense of humor and the one true right way of understanding things.

        You know: the last of the Peasant Popes.

    • Michael Rowe

      Ed, you poor, sweet pudding. It isn’t going to be “UMC law for long.”

    • Tim Conard

      pretty sure God’s law is to love Him and to love your fellows as you love yourself. that’s what He said it was, anyway.
      and, as we all know, love does no harm…

    • Paul Linxwiler

      Hahahahaha, come and get me, Yahweh!

    • Sven2547

      HE BROKE GOD’S LAW YOU CLOWN

      Then let God deal with it. The Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth shouldn’t need a pack of losers and haters to do his work for him.

  • Arizona living

    A good day? So, someone explain to me how negating spiritual convictions and worse yet, exhibiting a spirit of defiance by opening flouting the rules of his church, and then that church backing down and saying, “Nah, it’s all good.” Anywhere close to “a good day.”

    It’s a shameful day because once again, we have seen that people no longer have the backbone to take an unpopular stand. I’m not talking here of Dr. Ogletree, who had nothing to lose. In this day and age, his stand would garner him speaking engagements and book deals with his pedigree behind him (I am not saying that is why he did it, rather, that is why his “stand” wasn’t much of a risk in the UMC/mainline church environment).

    I am truly saddened by what I have read here. Someday, I hope people recognize that the role of church isn’t to make people feel good or safe about themselves, it’s to be an active participant in helping bring people into right-relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins, one of which, is homosexuality (and yes, there are many others, and they all are just as bad). To condone homosexuality then condones sin, and actively negates the very reason for the existence of Christian church.

    In a very real way then, the UMC today has stopped being a church in the original definition of what a church was meant to be: the body of Christ in right relationship with Him.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      As a member of the UMC, I can honestly say, you know not of what you speak.

    • Michael Rowe

      Arizona Living, you might want to try Christianity as your next religion. While the teaching of Christ will very likely challenge your ignorance and your bigotry, you’ll be a lot happier than you are as a member of whatever religion you currently represent.

    • Sheila Warner

      If you are a member of the UMC, then I suppose you will find another denomination to join. If you are not, then what the UMC did today does not affect you.

    • anakinmcfly

      “Someday, I hope people recognize that the role of church isn’t to make people feel good or safe about themselves”

      And someday, I hope people recognize that the role of church isn’t to make people feel like they are disgusting, worthless, perverted, subhuman scum who don’t deserve to love or be loved and who are practically encouraged to kill themselves, all for the simple crime of being able to fall in love with people of the same gender as themselves.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I’m with you there.
        If the church isn’t a place for people to feel safe, or good, where healing from life’s pains, and comfort can be found, where one gets a sense of community, and because of all that is able to grasp that the love of God is more expansive, fantastic and personal than one ever realized…than what good is it?

      • Arizona living

        Believe it or not, I agree with you. The role of the church is to tell the world that we all have fallen short of God’s glory, that we are all made in God’s image, and that we all need to return to Him and live according to His word.

        Do I believe homosexuality is a sin? Yes, I do. I also believe that I also sin every day and continue to ask forgiveness for it as well. That makes me no different than the homosexual in the eyes of God.

        • Matt

          However, no one is trying to remove your right to marry someone, or deny you service at businesses, or otherwise tell you how to live your life, supported by their belief that you are a sinful being.

          While you may not believe that God sees you any differently, I invite you to consider the fact that your view leads you to see your homosexual brothers and sisters differently. We all fall short, as you say. None of us are immune to bias. Would you actually listen if others told you that what you believe causes harm? So far you have not.

          You don’t have to have wrath in your heart to be hateful to others. Sometimes the deadliest poison comes wrapped in sugar.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          “The role of the church is to tell the world that we all have fallen short of God’s glory, that we are all made in God’s image, and that we all need to return to Him and live according to His word. ”

          So the role of the church is to tell us that even though we are made in God’s’ image, we just don’t measure up, even though we didn’t make ourselves, and that somehow God is somewhere inaccessible, yet it is our responsibility to get to him. In the meantime we are supposed to focus on how fucked up we are, but especially how fucked up others are.

          Sounds…ok joyful, just ain’t the word I was looking for.

          • Arizona living

            There’s the little issue of the human’s choice to turn his or her back on God through sin (of all kinds), as explained by the theological story of Adam and Eve. That is why we no longer measure up. Because each human has already chosen to break the relationship.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Many people here utterly reject the idea of original sin, as an unethical, theory. That’s right unethical. It puts ethics in a flawed, backwards scenario, rendering it the means to condemn and dismiss too easily anyone who doesn’t accept the theory.

            The allegorical story of Adam and Eve is not about turning one’s back on God. That didn’t happen at all, Instead Eve was tricked and then thrown under the bus by Adam. Its more a story about the human condition and how easy it is to blame someone else for our own errors.

            People don’t choose to break a relationship with God. How can people do that? People aren’t born making that decision, and no one decides grow up with that intention in mind. Two mythical, allegorical figures are not responsible for any decisions we make about God, or our beliefs about God, or even where we will live in time or location that is so powerful in determining what God will even be perceived as.

        • anakinmcfly

          But there *is* a difference. When you sin, it’s because you *do something* that is sinful. Whereas you’re saying that gay people are inherently and continually sinning just by existing, in a way that straight people are not. And that’s where the offensiveness lies, plus there’s no biblical basis for that belief at all. Heck, the opposite is more likely, with Jesus talking about how even if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery; gay men are all in the clear there, and there’s no gay equivalent of that in the Bible.

          You’re placing an impossible standard on gay people. By your standards, there is nothing we can *do* to not sin (don’t even bring up ex-gay camps; those have been thoroughly debunked, including by Exodus, the largest of those organisations), unlike you, where your sin consists of discrete and distinct acts that can be controlled and avoided.

          Where’s the justice – or theological sense – in that?

          • Andy

            There’s no sense and no justice. The only way there can be is if you believe that homosexuality is a choice, which we all know is bullshit and goes against (probably) every unbiased study on the subject.

            So, yeah, there’s no sense or justice in that.

          • Arizona living

            I never said that gay people are sinning by existing. Please don’t place words in my mouth. A person that has homesexual desires has not sinned. A person that has heterosexual desires has not sinned. It is the acting on those desires that is the sin.

            As far as biblical basis, it is pretty clear throughout the new testament that homosexuality is included in the other sexual sins, everything from Romans 1 to the semantic domains of numerous Greek words being used to describe such action.

            Thus, it is not my standard I’m placing on anyone. It is a biblical standard, and one that has been held by the church consistently for the last 2000 years. I say this last bit not because tradition equals authority, but because if your understanding is correct, then the impetus is in your court to explain how the church changed what Jesus said, even though it has been consistent as far back as any church documents, records, or traditions show.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So please tell me, when you are gossipping about gay people, is that a sin? What about when you are condemning them for their supposed sinful actions? What about spreading discord about them? Or out and out lying? When you deem yourself more righteous and closer to God because you aren’t gay and in a relationship, Isn’t that also a sin?

            Sorry dude or dudette. Your idea that sex is sin if its between to consenting adults who are of the same gender, is just wrong. The church has NOT held this view consistently throughout its history, in fact there have been some famous contributors to religious and cultural history who were LGBT or thought to be. The list of people is lengthy and includes rulers, pastors, artists, poets, etc. ….https://christiangays.com/articles/famous.shtml

            There is also evidence that same sex unions were indeed performed in the early church. https://christiangays.com/articles/famous.shtmlwww.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/ancient-christian-church-gay-marriages_n_3678315.html

            So hun, the consistency argument fails. The biblical standard one failed a long time ago, because its just not there.

          • anakinmcfly

            So in other words, you’re saying that it is impossible for any gay person to experience *any* romantic love or attraction without it being sinful temptation; that we are inherently broken and inferior beings whose non-platonic love is always – *always*, unlike for straight people – the start of a pathway to sin. ?

            Regarding the biblical basis – there has been extensive scholarship (including from conservative sources) that show that Romans 1 etc were not referring to gay people, but rather to specific forms of homosexual sex such as gang rape, pagan sex rituals, and pedophilia.

            On a tangent, how do you define homosexuality and/or homosexual acts? I have intersex friends.

          • Bones

            You also have to take into account cultural differences.

            Slavery was culturally acceptable in the New Testament. Today it is not, no matter how much fundamentalists try to dress it up.

            It was acceptable to stone people to death for breaking religious taboos. Today it is not (Except in places like Iran or Christian Uganda).

            If Paul knew that people were born gay, he would not be writing that it is unnatural. Or if he knew of chromosomal disorders.

            What would the NT writers say of people who are transgender?

          • Bones

            I’ve been over this before.

            Paul didn’t even like heterosexual marriage and his whole philosophy on the depravity of the flesh owes much to Greek philosophy.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            How has the church been consistent on this, when there have always been people who are LGBT in the church and have served as clergy, theologians, artists, musicians writers, as well as in the arena of politics? How can that be consistent when there is evidence that the church performed same sex marriages during, if I remember correctly, the Byzantine era?

            How can it be biblically consistent when it is covered so vaguely, and even then so infrequently?

            Whether you choose to admit it or not, and I’m betting my left boob, it’s a not, it is your standards that you are attempting to place on others, your theological, or dogmatic views, Christian history, doesn’t agree with you, Christian tradition doesn’t even agree with you, and the Bible doesn’t even agree with you, when you look at scripture as a whole instead of pulling a few dubious passages to try to twist them into fitting your standards.

        • Paul Linxwiler

          “Do I believe homosexuality is a sin? Yes, I do. I also believe that I also sin every day and continue to ask forgiveness for it as well. That makes me no different than the homosexual in the eyes of God.”
          That. Right there. That’s what you need to stop doing and thinking. Your opinion on homosexuality is based on personal biases and a flawed reading of your magic book. Stop it. And your conclusion is (of course) also flawed because your assumption is wrong.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I don’t get the “I sin every day.” mindset. How? I wonder. And then I wonder what it is they keep thinking they are doing that is so sinful, and are so terrified by the idea, that all they can think to do is to keep asking for forgiveness.

    • Tim Conard

      “A good day? So, someone explain to me how negating spiritual convictions and worse yet, exhibiting a spirit of defiance by opening flouting the rules of his church, and then that church backing down and saying, “Nah, it’s all good.” Anywhere close to “a good day.””
      seemed like an okay day when martin luther did it.
      seemed like a better day when Christ, Himself, did it…

    • Paul Linxwiler

      Please accept the destruction of your hateful worldview with more grace.

      • Arizona living

        Hateful? I think you assume far too much about my worldview. Let’s see: (1) all humans are made in the image of God—check, (2) all humans have sinned and fallen short, breaking our relationship with God—check, (3) all humans, by the grace of Jesus Christ, can have that relationship restored—check.

        May I suggest you tone down the rhetoric and engage in a civil debate rather than casting dispersion on those whom you do not know and showing absolutely no tolerance for anyone who views a subject different than you do.

        • Paul Linxwiler

          Casting *aspersions* . . .

          Anyhoo, the problem I have with your position is the category error you make, namely, that same-sex acts are inherently sinful. This is wrong, and if your reading of your sacred texts leads you to believe this despite the loving witness of tens of thousands of gay couples, then you need to repent (a) of your faulty understanding, and (b) of the incredible emotional damage you inflict on gay people because of your poor grasp of those texts. I do not have respect for those who believe I (and other gay people) are distinctly flawed because of our sexuality which is innate and beautiful.
          Tell you what: admit your theology is toxic and flawed, and I’ll tone down my rhetoric. Until then, you’ll have just have to suffer my contempt.

  • ituri

    The sad thing is, nobody knows which side you’re talking about.

    • Michael Rowe

      Right.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So going to fictional hell for this, but I just gotta ask. How does a cross preach? All the ones I’ve ever seen, just sat propped up where they had been placed.

      • Sheila Warner

        LOL.

      • Sheila Warner

        It was a joke, based on syntax. No need to take it personally.

      • Andy

        For some reason this reminded me of a Bill Hicks quote:

        “You think when Jesus comes back he’s gonna want to see a cross?”

    • Rhonda Painter

      So, do you accept remarriage after divorce? Inter-faith marriage? Inter-racial marriage? Are there any other categories I’ve forgotten to ask about that you’d like to comment on?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Interfaith…you mean like my husband is a life long Southern Baptist, (even though he converted to the UMC for me) and I’m so far to the left religiously, I’m almost a quaker?

        Marriage has not been between one man and one woman, In some cultures its one woman and several men, a rarity, but true. More common, has been one man, and more than one woman, If you want, someone can provide all the fun little variations of the one man, one woman formula, found in the Old Testament.

        • Michael Rowe

          It’s nice that you admit your ignorance. Instead of admitting it, why not go correct it? You people have been on the wrong side of history since forever.

          • Michael Rowe

            You just admitted you knew nothing about Quakers, then said they were “not of God & do not know Jesus,” which is a crock. You are, by definition, ignorant.

      • denver41

        You do sacrifice a bull on sunday do you not..and you dont let woman in the house when they are UNCLEAN do you…you would allow a man who raped your daughter to marry her…wouldnt you…cause youre supposed too.

        • denver41

          and YOU PEOPLE should worry bout your own DMN SINS and quit worrying bout mine? if you sinned 1 time you are as filthy as i am. Yet you think you have a right to Judge anyone else? You are NOT Jesus.YOU ARE NOT CLEAN….and you are a fking Hypocrite

      • Michael Rowe

        Your denomination has changed its views racial issues over the years.

    • Sheila Warner

      I dunno, maybe God should make the judgment about which church may or may not be a “false” one.

    • Michael Rowe

      Oh. “Pentecostal.” Well, that explains everything. LOL

    • denver41

      what you are is NOTHING to God. do you believe that if you died right now..God would say…Come in you AHOLE..thanks for condemning MY CHILDREN and running round saying what the true faith is when YOURE NOT GOD. good luck

      • Sheila Warner

        I love suppositions. Let’s stick to what Jesus actually said, though. In Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25, Jesus said that those who gave a drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, welcoming to the stranger, & visits to the sick & imprisoned will inherit the Kingdom. He didn’t list preaching as a criteria for obtaining heaven. In fact, in the “good and faithful servant” passage, Jesus was referring to money.

      • Michael Rowe

        Jesus taught us to be humbling and loving, and not to judge. THAT’S what gets the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” There is no “for preaching the truth” in that verse.

      • denver41

        how bout you worry about your own sin? what right do you have…you are just as dirty as anyone else…what RIGHT under God you have to JUDGE anyone? are you Jesus..You are a sinful man just like the rest of us..but you think because you lift a blble that makes you somehow better and cleaner…HOW DARE any of you speak one word about someone else..while you are covered in the SHT of the world just like the rest.

      • denver41

        i dont care what you preach..that dont give you any more GRACE than I HAVE UNDER GOD!. Keep your own home clean…offer LOVE and Dont YOU DARE EVER tell anyone they are gonna burn…THAT AINT YOUR DMN JOB! GOD decides who GOES WHERE NOT YOU!!! you can hop up and down and run back and forth sing ever minute of the day…but I, JUST LIKE YOU. live under GRACE…YOU HAVE NO RIGHT to take that away. IF GOD wants me in HELL HE will PUT ME THERE NOT some mortal man holding a BOOK! KNOW YOUR PLACE IN THE REALM OF GOD AND IN THE WORLD PREACHER MAN. if you caused one soul to TURN away from GOD….well you know what that says.

        • Andy

          Do you know how much harder it is to read comments with so many capital letters? A lot. Just FYI.

          I’m not taking issue with the content, just the format. And it’s just a suggestion, I’m not going to censor you for it.

          $0.02

          • denver41

            dear andy, im sorry you had trouble with the big letters….i hope you dont drive…i bet bill boards do a number on ya. i kid. im a kidder:) but thank you for the info. ill be more careful with that.

  • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

    What church do you attend, Janmit?

  • Sheila Warner

    Wasn’t Dr Ogletree “turned in” long after the wedding? It seems to me that whoever did that maybe should spend some time with the Bishop, explaining why this was done and what was the purpose behind it? I may be incorrect on the facts of the case, but I believe that’s how all this got started.

  • Sheila Warner

    You’re a Pentecostal, right? Why are you worried about the UMC? Just curious. The UMC’s stand on gay marriage doesn’t interfere with your own church’s abilities to preach its own message, does it?

    • Sheila Warner

      Okay, so you think the UMC is going against God. I got that. But how does THAT interfere with your own church’s teachings? You dodged my question.

      • Sheila Warner

        But that isn’t what I asked. If the UMC does not prevent your church from continuing your own religious liberty, I’d say that the UMC has a First Amendment right to practice the way it wants to, no matter how much you may view them with contempt. So, no, you did not answer me. You merely said you want the UMC to “get back” to preaching the Cross, which is what the UMC believes it is doing. Not every Christian believes that homosexuality is a sin.

        The reason you don’t answer my question is because you don’t want to. The obvious answer is that the UMC’s decision has absolutely no effect on your own church.

        • Sheila Warner

          Still dodging. You remain free under the First Amendment to hold such views. You called the UMC a false church that should lose its members and shut its doors. That is denying them the right to make the decision they did, pure and simple. By saying that the UMC is teaching false teachings as your answer to my question about how those teachings affect your church, you make no sense at all. The mere existence of what you refer to as “false” teachings threatens your religious liberty?

          My question: how does the teaching of the UMC affect the way your own church teaches? Your answer: “because it is teaching false teachings”. Surely you see that your reply doesn’t even touch on your own church’s ability to carry out its teachings, right? Of course you do. You just won’t admit that the UMC’s teachings in no way affect your church’s teachings. Just as the teachings of the Jews, who deny the divinity of Christ, don’t affect the teachings of Christians. I don’t hear Christians running around decrying the teachings of Judaism. Be consistent–let’s see condemnation of all non-Christian religions. Or else just accept that some denominations merely differ from yours. Not all Christians speak in tongues, either.

          • Sheila Warner

            Oh, but they have the absolute right to teach others what you call “false” teachings. Those teachings don’t affect you or your church. Both your church and any United Methodist church has the absolute right to present “false” teachings.

            I believe the teachings of the Pentecostals on tongues is technically false–you can have the Holy Spirit within even if you never speak in tongues. But, the Pentecostals’ teaching that there is a need for a second “grace” of tongue speaking which will result in a Spirit filled soul & life has absolutely no bearing on my own Christian faith. None. Neither does Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or any other religion.

            I’m not scared by what others believe. You seem to be quite alarmed by a denomination other than yours. Since I don’t believe in speaking in tongues, does that mean I am not a Christian? Oh, wait, you’ve already looked into my heart and determined that I can’t be one b/c I don’t believe being gay is a sin.

          • Michael Rowe

            If YOU have right to teach others false teachings Janmit (unless you’re a woman, in which case Paul urges you to shut your pie hole and learn some respect) then anyone can.

          • Michael Rowe

            No, he was quite specific. Timothy is quite specific: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”

            There’s no ambiguity there, nor is there any nonsense about women “yell[ing] to their husband to explain there fore [sic] disrupting Paul,” nor any nonsense about going him to “discuss it.”

            It’s about women being quiet and remembering their inferior place, and learning. Now, you’re either in favour of Paul, or you’re not. If you are, then it’s time for you to shut up and learn.

          • Sharla Hulsey

            You’re talking about two different passages. The one in Timothy seems to be about women using their newfound freedom to throw their weight around, maybe even to bully others. But there’s another one, in 1 Corinthians, which is exactly as janmit describes. Both taken out of context appear to be hard-and-fast proscriptions against women having any leadership positions in churches. Neither, in context, are that at all.

          • Michael Rowe

            Actually, Sharla, that’s exactly aha they are. Both passages are injunctions to women to remember their inferiority and keep their place. Whenever evangelical women start shrieking about Paul and “the homosexuals,” they always try to do a makeover on Paul’s misogyny in order to justify their adherence to his teachings even though his teachings would prohibit them from taking that obstreperous position in the first place.

          • Sharla Hulsey

            I do not agree that Paul taught a second-class position for women in the church. If you look at the original language, you can see different word usages that are lost in translation. In 1 Corinthians 14:34, the word translated “be silent” doesn’t mean women may never preach, may never lead worship, may never speak in church. It has more the sense of “be quiet and pay attention when someone else is teaching.” Given that back in chapter 11 Paul speaks of women needing to have their heads covered WHEN they prophesy, it doesn’t make sense for him to turn around and say categorically that they may NOT do so.

            What the folks who grab onto this passage and the one from 1 Timothy 2 and treat them as the infallible commandments of God for all time fail to mention is that Paul names women among his colleagues. Priscilla (Prisca) was one, as was Phoebe, mentioned in Romans 16. Phoebe was a pastor (the word used for her is often translated “pastor” when it applies to a man, but in older translations it was always “deaconess,” clearly meant to be a subordinate role). She was the one who carried the letter to the church in Rome, who was given the authority to speak for and answer questions on behalf of Paul, and Paul asked the Romans to welcome her just as they would have welcomed him.

            There is dispute about whether Paul even wrote the letters to Timothy. But regardless of that, again, we need to look at 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in the original languages, if possible (if you don’t speak Greek, an interlinear version might be useful). When the author speaks about not allowing women to “have authority over” men, the word there isn’t one that simply means women must never teach or lead men. The word has the sense of domination, of throwing one’s weight around. And really, if you read Paul’s authentic writings, as well as the ones others wrote using his name, and consider the teachings of Jesus himself, it’s pretty clear that isn’t an attitude that is appropriate for ANYONE within the Christian community.

        • Michael Rowe

          STILL waiting for that verse where Christ condemns homosexuality, Janmit. Is it coming or not? Stop wasting everyone’s time with your nonsense and provide the verse.

      • Michael Rowe

        Liar. You don’t care about them at ALL. Honestly, you people, you wouldn’t know how to tell the truth if someone stapled your lips to it.

        • Michael Rowe

          Sunshine, here’s a better one: You show me a verse where Christ say ANYTHING about it. I won’t be waiting for your answer, because you won’t have one.

          • Michael Rowe

            Still waiting for the verse where CHRIST says anything about it. Can’t you read? You really are proving my point about rampant illiteracy in Pentecostal circles. Still waiting. Tick-tock, Clarice.

          • Sheila Warner

            There is no mention of homosexuality in that passage. Jesus is talking about divorce. He never said “any other types of sexual unions are evil in and of themselves”. It’s no secret that there was no same sex marriage in Jesus’ time, and certainly not in Judaism. But Jesus was calling out divorce, nothing else. You can’t read that into the passage.

            Jesus didn’t even call out the Samaritan woman at the well. He offered her living water. He commended her on her honesty about not having a husband. He lets her know he is aware of her other relationships, including having had five husbands.

            Jesus knew the woman was searching for spiritual meaning and unconditional love. He acknowledges that fact and reveals that he is the Messiah. Not a whit of condemnation for more than one divorce, and none for “shacking up” with her current boyfriend. Jesus doesn’t even tell her to “sin no more”! Unconditional love is what Jesus gave to her that day.

          • Michael Rowe

            Really? Were did Christ condemn homosexuality, JustWow? Verse, please?

          • Andy

            Probably in one of those other texts of Jesus’s sayings. You know, like the constitution that Tom Delay says he wrote?

          • Sheila Warner

            Christ was referring to divorce in that passage. The man and woman become one flesh, therefore that one flesh cannot be put asunder.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And Jesus was calling the guys on the carpet on that one too. Women had zero rights..nothing, and there was a trend of some men deciding they didn’t want that wife for any number of reasons, (she couldn’t have kids, she only birthed daughters, she was getting older, she became ill, he discovered someone’s daughter had a nice fat dowry) ditching her and getting another.
            The poor wife, could end up on the street, penniless, and having to depend on family members to survive, and likely a poor prospect for finding another husband.

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          I would LOVE my lips stapled to the truth!

    • Michael Rowe

      You’re the one who needs to be corrected. Go and pray that God opens your heart, even if He likely can’t manage your mind.

      • Michael Rowe

        Darling, I’m quite sure YOU have’t read the Bible. You strike me as the sort of person who finds reading simple things to be a bit of a chore. The Bible is doubtless outside your scope of comprehension, and you very likely prefer other people to tell you what it says. Which makes Pentecostalism—the Walmart of Christian denominations—the perfect denomination for you. Now, go mind your own business and get your soul right with God. It currently reeks of the spiritual equivalent of White Rain.

        • Michael Rowe

          Paul, Paul, Paul. Blah, blah, blah. Never even knew Christ. Next. Now, what did CHRIST say about it?

          • JohnVHedtke

            I always like telling this one:

            Q. What’s the difference between Paul and Oral Roberts?
            A. Paul was never on TV.

            Other than that, there is *NO* difference. They both claimed to have their own empirical experiences of Jesus (fine; I don’t believe either one, but WTH?) that then supposedly gave them the authority to mulct money and power from the hard-of-thinking. Paul just wasn’t on TV to do it, but he sure did squeeze the original church out of existence. Dr. Malachi Martin’s wonderful book, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church,” describes how Paul did this. (It’s a fantastic book that’s full of fascinating history, great cultural insights, and leads you to a better understanding of how the RCC evolved as a political power.)

        • Gene

          Even when we disagree, let us try to learn to do so in a polite manner: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          “It currently reeks of the spiritual equivalent of White Rain.”
          That ^^^ is brilliant…and hilarious.

          • JohnVHedtke

            I gotta watch for this guy elsewhere. He’s deliciously nasty. :D

        • JohnVHedtke

          Michael, I love that description of Pentecostalism. I’m expropriating that for my own use later. Bravo, bravo!

    • denver41

      you expect people to live by the LAW then you are BOUND BY it…Jesus said to love one another..thats IT…so good luck with the thousands of rules you are gonna have to Up hold and if you dont…well God wont be too happy will he. YOU wouldnt know GOD if he bent you over and….

      • Michael Rowe

        Yes, that’s what Paul said. He also said that women should shut up and not presume teach men. If you’re female, then you really need to log off now and remember your place. I believe there may be Biblical precedent for beating you if you don’t.

        • Sheila Warner

          Well, Pentecostals have women pastors, so I’d assume you believe what you do. Not all denominations agree with your church. See:

          http://www.bibleresearcher.com/warfield1.html

          So here again we have another church leader who disagrees with you, and yet, your church can have women as pastors, women as prophets, women as church leaders. Nor do you find conservative evangelical churches, who ascribe to Patriarchal leadership. going around saying that Pentecostal churches should close their doors and be shut down.

        • Sheila Warner

          You are correct, Michael, that Paul indeed said such a thing. Here’s a link to a Bible scholar who agrees with you.

          http://www.bible-researcher.com/warfield1.html

          I only included it as a source for my contention. You don’t have to read it, but it does make the assertion that women have no role in church leadership, and are to shut up in church. Lots of patriarchal type churches have such a rule.

          Of course, janmit has to come up with a convoluted way to explain it all away. The Pentecostals permit women to be pastors. But, you know what you won’t hear? Christians who are patriarchal saying that janmit’s church should close its doors because of false teaching, something that she is more than willing to say about the UMC.

          • anakinmcfly

            Apparently it’s disputed among bible scholars that Paul even said that to begin with, and that it might have been a later addition: http://coolingtwilight.com/putting-words-in-pauls-mouth-women-shut-up/

          • Sheila Warner

            True. Without the original texts, not just copies, it’s hard to prove one way or the other. No matter–the culture of the times viewed women as inferior to men. It’s interesting that Paul is also quoted as saying that, in Christ, there is no male or female, but equality in Christ. So it makes you wonder about the apparent contradictions in his writings.

          • Sheila Warner

            I fixed my mangled comment, in case you read it via email. My cursor jumped around while I was typing.

        • Sheila Warner

          Oh, man. I missed the “world’s best teacher” comment. So, only the Pentecostals have it right? Who is the world’s best teacher? If you say the Holy Spirit, I’d have to know when the Holy Spirit gave you the historical context you adhere to about women speaking in church. Was that a divine revelation?

          Let’s see, some churches only baptize adults, and then, only by immersion. Some baptize infants. Some speak in tongues, others do not. Some are independent, some are part of a hierarchy, some believe in a secret rapture which will be followed by a tribulation, some do not believe this. Some church pastors wear robes and/or collars, others don’t even wear suits in the pulpit. Some churches use only hymns, and some have modern bands playing music.

          Who gets to decide which church is doing it the “right” way? Who gets to decide which set of beliefs is from God? You? Because you have the “best teacher in the world”?

          “You can not beat me at the scriptures.” Wow, that is a rather prideful statement. I suppose you can be a proud person when you are the only “right” one. still smh

          • JohnVHedtke

            Sheila, have you ever noticed that no matter which fundamentalist you’re talking to that 999 times of 1000, their particular interpretation of whatever the heck it is is ALWAYS “divinely inspired” and “the way it’s really supposed to be?” It’s amazing.

            I recently worked with a creationist/weird fundie who’s got all the dogma but doesn’t actually have any of the education or buzzwords to back it up. The end result is he’s pretty ignorant but unteachable. Pity, really, as he’s not bad at his job and has an okay personality, but he’s kind of an idiot about what he believes in.

          • Sheila Warner

            My experience as a former Fundie might shed some light on this. We actually had “soul winning” classes. We were revved up just like any telemarketer, with a script and everything. No matter what answer the “unsaved” person gave, we had a line on the script ready to go.

            I have always been a curious person, with lots and lots of questions. I saw that reading from a script, or reciting from a memorized script, really didn’t change people’s minds very often. I could clearly see their eyes glaze over. So, I had to step back and take a hard look at what I was doing. Did my script make sense? If not, why not? Then I discovered that those pat scripts didn’t even satisfy ME anymore.

            Once you realize that there are other points of view out there, and, if you are curious like I am, there’s no way you aren’t going to start re-examining what you think and why you think it.

            It takes someone who is willing to be taught, as you said, and who is willing to be wrong, in order for other ideas to take root. And, again, as you stated, some people just aren’t teachable.

          • JohnVHedtke

            I remember in my teen years going to a fundie weekend getaway with someone I was going to HS with and it was all about Amway points in heaven, similarly. The idea that people you were trying to sell knew better than you never came into the picture. It still stands out to me how truly hostile the preacher was underneath it all.

            The very best Christian witnessing I ever had done was from the one True Christian I’ve met. His was more of the “I’d like to share something with you that means a lot to me and I’d love to see you have in your life, too, but if you don’t, that’s fine.” He didn’t do it casually and he’d known me for 6 months at work at that point and (here’s the most important part) he was a good example of how Jesus radiated in his life. I never knew what that one about “don’t keep your light under a bushel” meant in practice until I saw him whose light WASN’T under a bushel. He had a real life and got angry and dealt with problems, but he is a profoundly good person and I love and admire him for it.

          • Andy

            In your “soul winning” class, was there a bag of jellybeans or something for the one who saved the most souls?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I never took a “soul winning” class. The idea sounds bizzarre to me. But then I grew up in a church that was more along the line of setting out pamplets and church magazines, outside grocery stores or in doctor’s offices and the radio and tv shows, also known as the exceedingly the more expensive version of chick tracts.

            Personal discussions on faith? That was sure to cause deer in headlight expressions on a member’s faces, as they tried to recall the pastor’s phone number.

          • Andy

            “How do you know that’s the way it’s supposed to be?”
            “Because God told me so!”

            Makes me think of this:

            “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

            — Susan B. Anthony

      • denver41

        James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

    • Sheila Warner

      So was this Bishop only speaking to his particular “diocese”? Sorry I don’t know the UMC hierarchical structure. Either way, pro or con, the UMC doesn’t affect other denominations. Again, pro or con, as a UMC member, I would suggest that you share your concerns with your own leadership. That is your personal right as a member.

      • Guest

        See that is the beauty of freedom of speach, I can share them with whomever I choose 8sweet smile*

        • Sheila Warner

          Of course you can! That is the First Amendment, pure and simple. Within a private church organization, though, if a member has a sincere issue with leadership, it’s certainly a good idea to express those concerns. Leaders need feedback from time to time. As someone who is not a member of the UMC, I would have no standing to share any concerns I may or may not have with UMC leadership. I can hold an opinion about any church, but I am only a member of one.

      • Gene

        Shelia, to answer the question you pose about who the Bishop was speaking for: He was speaking for himself, and himself alone.

        As the person responsible for executive leadership of his annual conference (what you termed a “diocese”), his decision will impact his annual conference for as long as he is bishop. But it has no relevance for any other bishop, conference, or pastor/church in those conferences accept by example. Whether it is going to be seen as a good or bad example will very from one place to the next.

  • Sheila Warner

    For those who love gays, this is good news. I do believe, however, that some Christians honestly believe that marriage is only between one man and one woman b/c of Jesus’ answer to the religious leaders’ attempt to ensnare him when they asked about divorce being permitted or not. Jesus’ referral which said “God made them male and female”, etc., is taken by some Christians as God’s intent for all marriages. As long as those Christians don’t engage in persecuting gays, but maintain their own congregational requirements for marriage in their own churches, I’m okay with that.

    I wouldn’t want to see any churches forced by the government into violating their own way of living their own religious tenets. As gays obtain the legal right to marry, there are multitudes of places where they can wed. If churches choose to maintain a one woman-one man definition of marriage, they can still do so. Members in any given church also can approach their leaders if they want a change.

    I kind of believe in live and let live. I absolutely condemn the denigration of gays simply because they are gay.

    • Michael Rowe

      Sheila, this decision is being made by the church hierarchy, so by definition they’re not being “forced” to do anything. They’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

      • Sheila Warner

        Oh, I get that. I was referring to churches who believe that being homosexual is a sin. Those churches should not be forced to perform same-gender weddings. There are churches that won’t marry divorced persons, either. There is a church for just about anyone, anywhere, in America. Now, there is one more for gays. That’s all I was saying. No big idea from me! I rarely have those, anyway.

        • Gene

          Bishop McLee has made a decision that will impact things for Dr. Ogletree and likely others in his conference. But it has no bearing on the law of the United Methodist Church as a denomination. Nor does it have any standing with regard to how the interpretation and enforcement of church law will be carried out anywhere beyond the New York Annual Conference, and even that only for the present quadrennium.

          • Sheila Warner

            Thanks so much, Gene. So, the UMC denomination has conferences within it? Are the churches bound by UMC rules, or are they more independent? You’re gracious to be answering my questions. A real mitzvah.

          • Jackie

            There are conferences, each headed by a bishop. They’re set by size and church membership. For example, New York has two conferences because you’ve got New York city there but most of the rest of the state is another conference. Then Missouri is simply one conference. All the bishops are equal. There’s no equivalent to a pope. But every four years, there’s a General Conference with clergy and lay reps from all over the world who get to make decisions about what goes in our Book of Discipline. Part of the issue on gays and lesbians and the wording is there are a lot of people in the United Methodist church from Africa. And Africa is largely anti-homosexuality. So they have a strong voice and vote on what goes in our Book of Discipline. If someone doesn’t like a minister performing a same sex wedding, then they can file charges against them with the conference. The bishop can then decide to bring them up on the charges or not. In one of the Northwest conferences, a minister was recently suspended for one day for performing a same sex marriage. In another, he was stripped of his credentials for performing his son’s wedding because he refused to say he would never do it again. So there’s a lot of difference. I applaud Bishop McLee.

          • Sheila Warner

            Thanks, that really helps me as I read all of the comments.

          • Gene

            Yes. There are 59 Annual Conferences in the United States and 63 Annual Conferences located spread across the rest of the world. Our Book of Discipline is the law of the denomination. Supposedly all UMC pastors, churches, and other official organizations and structures of the UMC are bound by the Discipline. Now, Dr. Ogletree did violate paragraph 2702.1.b of the Discipline in that he performed a wedding ceremony for his son to another man, and the Discipline says that United Methodist clergy may not perform such ceremonies (even in cases where gay marriage is recognized by state law). He admits to doing so, but argues that this does not make him guilty of anything for he claims the standard set forth in the Discipline is itself unChristian. As you can see from this thread, there are those who agree with him and those who do not.

            So, a complaint was filed against him for having broken church law. Now, the Discipline offers two different tracks that can be followed if a person is charged with a complaint of not having followed the Discipline. 1) The bishop can direct that a trial court be formed, witness called, testimony hear by a jury of one’s peers (other pastors in the Annual Conference) and a decision with regard to guilt and (if necessary) discipline (which could be anything from an administrative note in one’s file to suspension of one’s ordination). Or, 2) the bishop can order a proccess known as “Just Resolution”, which is an administrative way to deal with the complaint without having a trial. It usuall involves bringing disputing parties together for conversation with a goal of achieving some sort of reconcilation.
            In this instance, the case was scheduled to go to trial, and then the bishop decided that he could utilize the “Just Resolution” process for this as well. As I understand it, he has the authority to make that decision, and once made the decision is unreviewable. (Someone might correct me if I misunderstand the bishop’s authority.) Personally, I don’t think that “Just Resolution” was intended for this particular type of instance, but it is the bishop’s call, not mine, to make.

      • Sheila Warner

        Okay, I just re-read your reply, and now I think you believed I was saying the UMC church is being “forced” to perform same gender weddings. That’s not at all what I mean. I should go back and edit my comment. Thanks for pointing that out to me!

        • Michael Rowe

          I love you, Sheila. You rock.

          • Sheila Warner

            Others would disagree with you. In fact, they’re all over disqus. But, thanks. I so appreciate you taking the time to engage with me.

      • Sheila Warner

        I edited my comment. Does it make more sense to you, now? Just keep on critiquing me if it does not. I need other POV to hone what my comments are. Thanks!

  • Beth

    It’s about time! God is all about love, not judgment. Where love is, there is God, regardless of the genders of the people involved. There are unions of both heterosexual and homosexual couples that are based in love, and there are those in both situations based in selfishness and exploitation. We should focus our emotional and spiritual energies on helping people understand the difference and learn to love.

    • Sheila Warner

      Beth, I loved your comment. People are too hung up on the physical aspect of gay couples. They fail to see that true love is a connection of the souls. When two souls are deeply committed, that is the essence of real love. The physical wanes over time, for many hetero and homo unions. It’s that commitment to the soul of the other person that makes unions last.

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        Yes! This!
        Marriage is about so much more than sex. My question to conservative Christians is this:

        When you look at a gay couple, can you see anything other than immorality? Can you look into the lives of gay families and see virtue?

        It’s hard to dehumanize that which is the most beautiful expression of humanity: selfless love.

        • Guy Norred

          Unfortunately the answer often is no–but I think they rarely try.

    • anakinmcfly

      Yes. And another thing from this – once people realise that there are gay couples whose relationships are based as much on love as straight couples, we could then turn our attention to gay relationships that are bad and abusive, which happens as it does with straight ones. Whereas at the moment, lumping *all* gay relationships together as ‘bad’ doesn’t just do a huge disservice to the ones that aren’t, but also ends up normalising and inadvertently silencing victims in the ones that *are* bad. One of my close friends suffered for years with a creepy, abusive boyfriend because he didn’t think that there was anything better out there. It was painful to watch.

      • Guy Norred

        I wish I didn’t know any of those myself.

  • denver41

    i never thought i would be witness to any of this. I grew in an age of shame and closets. Now in my life time…i can marry the person i love and now Pastors can marry them. thank you Bishop Mclee….for giving people the choice to choose.

    • Tim Conard

      your comment makes me happy.

  • denver41

    well GOOD that would free up a seat for a Christian not some Hypocrite who thinks they are above scrutiny…dont like the door knob hit ya on the way out.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    Woo-to-the-flippin’-Hoo!!! Let the peasants rejoice!!!

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      Just read the rest of the thread. I should have guessed that this post was chum for trolls. I’m all for constructive disagreement. This is the apoplectic reaction of people who refuse to see any virtue in covenant same-sex relationships.

      • Guy Norred

        They refuse to see a lot more than that.

  • Marc Spurlock

    As Peter said, “What may be sin to you is not sin to me, and what is sin to me may not be sin to you.” Relax everyone, quit over interpreting!

    • Kandyapple

      Try reading the 18th chapter of Leviticus. It clearly states that “thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”. The word of God cannot be changed. It is what it is!

      • TimedRevolver

        You know, according to the book you’re referencing, eating seafood, wearing clothing of mixed fabrics, and getting a tattoo are all sins.

        Also, here’s a funny little thing nobody mentions: if a woman weds, but is not a virgin, she is to be stoned to death.

        Why is it anti-gay religious persons bring up that quote from Leviticus, but are suspiciously silent on other quotes form the same book, least of all a book from a religion that is supposed to be centered on kindness and understanding, not hate and bigotry?

        • Andy

          Bingo!

        • mona

          Yep….

        • JohnVHedtke

          Um, probably because they’re short-sighted, ignorant jackasses who have no understanding of what they’re reading??

        • Sheila Warner

          I can help with your questions, b/c I was once a fundie. Fundies believe that when Jesus rose again, he imparted new life which did away with the need to obey the Law in the OT. Jesus fulfilled it for believers, so they needn’t follow the Law. Some of Jesus’ followers are authors of the NT books. Fundies believe that if a regulation of the Law is repeated in the NT, then it is still required of Christians today. That’s why they pick and choose what to follow in Leviticus. Only what’s carried over to the NT is off limits. I hope that clarifies things a bit for you.

        • Sheila Warner

          BTW, there is a great scene in The West Wing, where President Bartlet uses the same arguments when an arrogant talk show host shows up at a White House event. One of the best scenes in the series!

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I love that scene.

        • Kandyapple

          I am not anti-gay nor am I pro-gay. A person’s sexual preference is their business. I just don’t see the need to flaunt it any more than the need to flaunt being straight. The fact still remains that homosexuality is a sin and God created Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve. I am a Christian and a firm believer in God’s word. When judgement day comes, every individual will be judged for the deeds done in this life.

          • JohnVHedtke

            If you’re saying “homosexuality is a sin and you’re going to get judged for it,” yeah, that sounds mighty anti-gay to me.

            Gosh, thanks for not being one of those, like, y’know, JUDGMENTAL Christians we all hear about.

            Wow, “Adam and Steve.” That’s really catchy. You think that one up all by yourself?

          • Sheila Warner

            I have always hated that cliche, even when I was a Fundie myself. Now you know the genius minds that come up with those church signs. Bleechhhh.

          • Sheila Warner

            Puh-leeze! If I hear that cutesy “Adam & Steve” thing one more time, I swear I’m going to vomit. First of all, the Hebrew names for Adam and Eve don’t rhyme with Adam and Steve in the English. And, guess what? God did create Adam and Steve! Who else is the creator of every single human being on this planet? This is why Christianity gets such a bad rap–no substantive discussions, just slogans and cliches.

          • Sheila Warner

            What deeds will we be judged on at the end of time? Let’s see what Jesus said, shall we? Matthew 25:31-46

            “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

            There is not one thing about sexuality in those verses.

      • anakinmcfly

        It only says that in English. In the original Hebrew, it was more likely than not referring to male shrine prostitutes; especially since the word ‘qadesh’ (‘holy one’) was used in reference to the specific mankind being lain with, which is odd unless of course you think that the verse was declaring that all gay people are particularly holy. Which I wouldn’t argue with, but then it wouldn’t make much sense for such a verse to be taken as a condemnation of gay sex.

        • Andy

          Also, at least as written in English, it doesn’t say anything about lesbians.

      • Marc Spurlock

        Madam Kandyapple, I don’t know what religion you are, but I am Christian. I no longer live under the Law. Jesus negated that. If you live under the Law, you cannot vary one tittle or you are condemned. I believe in grace. When God lowered the sheet down to Peter and said, “What I have made clean, do not call unclean.” Maybe it is you that need to read your Bible?

        • catholicchristian

          Marc, yes you do, except for those parts that the Church, through the power given to it by Christ, abrogated. But our salvation is not through the Law, it is through Christ.

      • Paul Linxwiler

        Please answer the question: Do you eat pork? Yes or no?

        • Andy
        • catholicchristian

          “I say to you: You are Peter, and to you I give the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. What you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven, and what you hold bound on earth shall be held bound in Heaven.”

          The Church had the right to change the Jewish Law, and did so in many particulars, including the kosher laws, the day set aside for worship, etc. But not homosexual activity.

          • Andy

            Uh, yeah…I’m gonna need you to back up that assertion with some evidence, so if you could just go ahead and find me some, that would be great, mmkay?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Hmmm. Jews would be rather surprised that someone else changed all their rules.

          • Paul Linxwiler

            Source?

          • Guy Norred

            So let me get this right–it isn’t you OR God saying “homosexual activity” is sin, but Peter (the Church)?

      • JohnVHedtke

        But you’re wearing clothes with two different fabrics, which is just as great a sin as homosexuality. Go, thou accursed one, thou blasphemer, leave our sight!!!

        • Andy

          Shh, they don’t like to hear about their hypocrisies.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Um, no, but I’m still gonna point ‘em out. :)

            I mean, ANYONE stupid enough to be plucking Leviticus about homosexuality selectively and out of context deserves to be smacked for their hypocrisy. And their stupidity. Both.

          • Andy

            I like to think that some of them are just ignorant and that there’s a chance they’ll see the light eventually. But yes.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Everyone I know who has set out on a journey to discern the sinfulness of homosexuality has, without exception, come to an affirming understanding. This is a road with a single destination. Unfortunately, there are those who refuse to set out on the journey, and those who pitch a tent on the roadside. I have faith that they will come to love and affirm too.

          • anakinmcfly

            Reluctant to play devil’s advocate here, but unfortunately I know lots of counter examples. FWIW they were all gay themselves, though, and I can understand only too well that pull to continued self-condemnation, and the constant fear that any move towards affirmation is just trying to find excuses for one’s sin.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Yes, I’ve seen that too. Wait two minutes and see where that winding road ends. Convictions are not always as they appear. #MattMoore

          • anakinmcfly

            Tangentially related to this thread, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me is the fact that gay relationships and sex sound, well, fun and fulfilling and full of happiness and love, which makes me think that they *have* to be sinful; as opposed to the idea of straight relationships and sex, the thought of which is as boring and awkward at best, kind of like a chore, and thus somehow more in line with what I’ve been taught of as holy and pleasing to God. It’s like… if something feels too good, it *has* to be a sin.

            Every now and then I still have doubts that morally-right sex is supposed to be enjoyable, and if it sounds like it would be anything more than moderately pleasant, I must be going down a bad path and should feel guilty about it. It doesn’t help that there are people out there with genuinely disturbing sexual thoughts and behaviours – rape and pedophilia and whatnot – which has made me wary and scared of anything sex-related in general, and reinforced the idea that sex = not supposed to be fun.

          • Matt

            It’s odd that you would think of straight relationships as boring and awkward. Maybe you’re thinking of your parents.

            In the wild, somewhat surreal days of my adolescence having to pretend I was a girl and dating males, I had fun. I was genuinely in love with my last boyfriend–and let’s just say we had physical intimacy as well. We weren’t married, so it was technically sinful (I was taught the same thing about too much fun being a sin), but he still showed me that it could be nice to be close to another human being. It’s too bad that you and I were taught that idea of sexual morality. It did a lot of damage to me too.

          • anakinmcfly

            ahaha. I’ve actually wondered if one or both of my parents are asexual and/or gay; if the latter, not repressed, just clueless. Among other incidents, once when my family was walking down a street, a few female prostitutes made passes at my father; my mother later joked about all the women who had been hitting on him, and he looked genuinely confused and asked, “what women?”

            I could never date as a girl. My gender dysphoria was way too strong for that, where the thought of being some guy’s girlfriend freaked me out so much because it felt so wrong, such that I went through a period of time getting crushes on random male classmates and then panicking and feeling nauseated whenever it seemed like it might be reciprocated. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone being attracted to me as a girl, let alone to the very parts of my body that gave me so much distress. They wouldn’t be actually attracted to *me*, and the potential dissonance felt so much worse if I actually liked them – like I would have to watch them, first-hand, have a relationship and fall in love with some girl who wasn’t me. I think I’d have just ended up jealous of myself, and that would have really screwed with my mind.

          • Sheila Warner

            I’m assuming you could never run any of this past your parents, either, right? How terrible it must be to have those feelings and having no one around that can help you out. I think it’s really difficult for transgendered people, because our culture is so ingrained about gender identity. It’s very common for a couple to know the gender of their unborn baby, and then that couple goes about making the nursery blue or pink, buying gender specific clothes, coming up with the right name, and on and on. Even if a couple chooses to keep the mystery until birth, what’s the very first thing everyone wants to know when the baby is out? “Is it a girl or a boy?”

            Too many people still don’t understand that gender identity is in the mind, not on what genitalia the person has. Every baby is a unique individual, and it takes courageous parents to go against the prevailing gender obsessed culture and let their trans children lead the way.

          • anakinmcfly

            I actually came out to my parents three years ago (while I was safely away on an exchange programme in the US), and it went unexpectedly well after some initial bumps. So I’m well into transition, have been living as a guy since 2011, and the usual transphobia aside, it’s been great and I’ve never felt better. My mental health has drastically improved, I have a job (…which I should be doing now), I’m single and lonely but looking, and things are generally on the upswing.

            So now it’s just a matter of me getting over my past and working through stuff, because all that does still come back to haunt me now and then. But thanks for your concern! :)

          • Andy

            Sounds like if some people thought it was their job to make you fear sex, to teach you that it was only for procreation and not for recreation, then they succeeded.

            And if that’s the case, that’s just awful and I’m sorry and they are terrible people.

          • anakinmcfly

            I don’t think that anyone did that, specifically – it was more of a conclusion I came to on my own. But my mother grew up in a Muslim country, and while she’s not a Muslim, it definitely affected her views of sex. She was particularly paranoid about me getting raped, because she heard of it happening so often to people she knew while growing up, just because someone showed an ankle or something.

            Such that almost all the discussions we had on sex revolved around not getting raped and all the drastic measures I should take to keep safe (among other things, I was never allowed to go for sleepovers with my friends, or be alone in a room with a man who wasn’t immediate family – cousins, uncles and grandfather included – “just in case”), which didn’t exactly give me a positive impression of the subject.

            Add my gender dysphoria to the mix (which long preceded those talks, so I doubt they ‘made’ me trans), and the extreme injustice and frustration I felt at the restrictions based on me having a female body that I didn’t even want and had been annoyed with for as long as I could remember, and I pretty much grew up thinking that sex was a horrible thing that people used to hurt each other with, and an obligation to be tolerated for the sake of procreation.

          • Andy

            I understand where you’re coming from, thank you for explaining.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Ummmm…. Consider yourself hugged. It sounds like a tough row to hoe. :(

          • anakinmcfly

            Thanks for the hug. :) I’m a lot better now, though. I still have a lot of issues around sex and am still a virgin, but on the bright side it means I’m not rushing into anything I might not be ready for. I’ll get there eventually.

          • Guy Norred

            Well plenty of people have said it is sinful because if they think about it, it makes them sick which I don’t buy either. Remember how Jesus said that God is better at giving good gifts to his children than a loving parent.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Sex is supposed to be fun. If it isn’t, you’re not doing it right or at least not with the right person.

            If you’re worried about “sin” and sex, drop the belief in sin w/r/t sex and you’ll do much better. As long as everyone’s generally enjoying things, you’re not hurting people who don’t want you to hurt them, and not treating someone as less than yourself, you’re pretty much in the clear.

            You know, I’m reminded of a great group called Liberated Christians who have written a lot of very positive, supportive stuff about sex, sexuality, and sin. They also have possibly The Worst Website on the Internet. Check them out at http://www.libchrist.com . (Hey, it’s worth a look just for their awful, 1997-era website. :) )

          • anakinmcfly

            D:
            …I’m a web designer. My brain shut off seconds after arriving at that website, and refuses to let me go back to actually read the content.

            I don’t think it’s really an issue of ‘sin’ for me, but rather that I have a lot of personal trauma and discomfort around sexuality, particularly liberal sexuality. I mean, I’ve had panic attacks from people talking about sex, and two of the worst panic attacks I’ve had were from encountering some really graphic erotic literature involving children doing it with adults. The whole area is a huge mental health minefield for me, basically. :/ But I’m better now than I used to be, and I have a good therapist.

          • JohnVHedtke

            I am so with you about that website. :) Part of you wants to run screaming “My eyes! My eyes!”

            I have to say that children doing it with adults is not for the faint of heart, nor weak of stomach, so I wouldn’t say that this is an unreasonable reaction on your part. (FWIW, I wouldn’t call this “liberal” sexuality but more like “pedophilia” and “child rape.”)

          • anakinmcfly

            hah, yeah. I wasn’t including pedophilia under that. :D But there are parts of liberal sexuality (casual sex, the kink/BDSM scene, porn, people who call themselves ‘politically queer’ and do dissertations on sexuality, etc) tend to make me uncomfortable in a similar way. It’s partly the fear of losing control, or of feeling lured or obliged into going beyond what I’m personally comfortable with sexually, for the sake of fitting in and making people like me. I’ve done stuff I’m not proud of and that I otherwise wouldn’t if it weren’t for peer pressure, and I’m scared of it extending to sex things as well.

            Plus I’m still terrified of rape, and the constant potential for it in sexually-permissible spaces. I’m scared that I might lose control and rape someone and not be able to stop myself, or that someone else might rape me.

            If it’s relevant, I do have OCD. >_>

          • Andy

            I’ve never heard of anyone getting panic attacks from hearing sex talk. That’s quite bizarre. Glad to hear you’re seeing someone about it.

            Also, that website made me cringe too. I’m a web developer myself (I don’t call myself a designer) but I would think lots of people, not just the web-savvy, would have that reaction. They might have the best content in the world, but nobody’s going to read it there…

          • anakinmcfly

            I almost definitely have at least two anxiety disorders, and at their worst I was almost perpetually on the brink of a panic attack, with anything remotely upsetting potentially setting me off. I started avoiding movies because of that (which sucked, because I love movies), as well as media in general (the news was particularly bad – like srsly, it’s like a non-stop stream of horrible things happening to people: school shootings, gang rapes, kidnapping, natural disasters, accidents, etc) and while I’d used to love horror movies in the past, I could no longer even sit through even a scary trailer because it made me physically ill.

            So sex talk was another big trigger, though I think it was only specific kinds of it: those which objectified women, or suggested that the speaker thought sexual harassment was awesome and/or had done it in the past, rape jokes, anything involving kids or things associated with kids (e.g. people writing ‘sexy’ or ‘queer’ versions of childhood fairy tales – they’re *kids*, their sexual orientation isn’t even a factor yet), psychosexual horror, people talking graphically and openly about sex acts, and so on. Admittedly most of this was on the internet among online friends/communities; people generally aren’t that open IRL.

            I’m a lot better now. Not yet back to normal, but I’m getting there, slowly. Starting to watch movies again. And returning to books. I’ve missed them.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Good sex – making ourselves vulnerable, being tender with one another, being fully concerned with the satisfaction of each other – is a profound expression of God’s creation. We are created as relational beings. We are meant to be in relationship. Sex is a beautiful way to experience our essential selves.

          • Sheila Warner

            I was wondering about churches that affirm gays, and I also came across John Shore’s writings. I had a gay family member (who died of cancer) and a boatload of gay friends, and I couldn’t get why gays were so hated and so feared. So I headed on over to the Gay Christian Network, which gave me some answers about the “clobber” passages. Upon watching the GCN videos, I was able to find even more teaching on, most especially, the hermeneutics of the typical NT passages used by some Christians to berate gays.

            Anyway, my journey led me to affirmation. I approached the issue with an open mind and an open heart, willing to learn and willing to admit it if I was wrong. I encourage all goodhearted people to check out the Gay Christian Network. It’s a good place to begin a journey of love and acceptance.

  • Michael Rowe

    Matthew 7:1-3.

    • Randy Zabel

      [Passive-aggressive and really lazy Bible quotes deleted.]

      • Sheila Warner

        Who are the true followers? Check out Mt 25, the part about the sheep & the goats. That’s where Jesus spells out what differentiates those who know him from those who don’t. Hint: no miracles listed.

        • Sharla Hulsey

          Nor any list of correct beliefs to which we must assent or list of people whom we must reject in order to get in.

      • Michael Rowe

        I’ve read the entire Bible, Randy. Who on earth do you think Christ was talking about when He was talking about false prophets, whited sepulchres, and vipers: you. Now, go wash your soul and learn some of the humility and kindness and non-judgment Christ demanded of his followers.

        • Randy Zabel

          [Complete dickweedian comment deleted.]

          • Andy

            I support the continued use of the term “dickweedian”.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Hear, hear!!

      • Guy Norred

        I am afraid I find that you miss the important part–you will know them by their fruits–and I see little but shame and death in the teaching you hold to.

        • Sheila Warner

          Galatians 5:22-23 (The Fruit of the Spirit)

          …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

          Yes, Guy, the fruit of the Spirit is clearly spelled out in the Bible.

          • Guy Norred

            I agree entirely. Randy just skipped from right over Matthew 7:16-20 in which Jesus tells of the tests to which teachings should be put in order to tell if they are good. Unfortunately many seem to be blind to the rotten nature of the fruits of the teaching that homosexuality is inherently sinful–and after reading some of their thoughts, I find that I need to leave this conversation and renew my low reserves of the fruits of the Spirit.

            Peace to you, Sheila.

            Guy

        • Sheila Warner

          Lots of luck convincing some Christians that those fruits are what we strive for.

          • JohnVHedtke

            But who cares? I’m reminded of this one:
            Q: How many a-holes does it take to screw in a light bulb?
            A. None. A-holes never see the light anyway.

        • The_Physeter

          I think this news is good for the fruits.

  • Elaine T.

    I really begin to wonder when are we going to start promoting polygamy? Almost every argument that is given to promote same sex marriage is given to approve polygamy. I don’t see any difference with their love and commitment and those gays who are wanting to marry.

    • BarbaraR

      It’s fine with me.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        If all parties willingly accept the roles, and there is equality there, its fine with me as well. Its not that it hasn’t been a form of marriage for thousands of years anyway. Not for me though.

        • Guy Norred

          While I have huge issues with how it has been practiced through most of history (and sometimes today), I have to remind myself the same is easily said of much of the history of non-plural marriage. I can’t imagine it being something I could be happy with, but I do find it kind of ironic that what I see as the most egregious shredding of the First Amendment in US history to be the way the LDS were essentially blackmailed by the federal government into giving it up.

          • Sheila Warner

            When the Federal gov’t inserts itself into the bedrooms of people, it’s dangerous. Do we want the Feds to define what is or is not moral when it comes to marriages? Of course, DOMA defined marriage at the Federal level, didn’t it? How’s that working out?

          • JohnVHedtke

            Sheila, I am also reminded of the silly laws–mostly in the South–opposing oral sex between married people. People have been prosecuted and sent to prison in Georgia and elsewhere for violating this law. Shoot, Ken Cuccinelli in VA just CAMPAIGNED on such an issue: he wanted to make pretty much everything but man-on-top, get-it-over-with-quick sex illegal. He lost, but not be nearly the margin that an intelligent populace might like. This kind of thing is so unbelievably preposterous that it’s really difficult to make mock of it adequately.

          • Sheila Warner

            How does one go about determining who is doing what to whom? Spycams in our bedrooms, perhaps? That’s the really scary part. And, what kind of person watches those married folks in order to catch them at it, anyway?

          • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

            Nobody monitored anyone back when the old sodomy laws were in place. The two Supreme Court cases regarding homosexual sodomy – Bowers v. Hardwick in the eighties and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 – both involved police walking in on someone in their house. In both cases, the police were there for other reasons. I think they were trying to serve papers on someone in Bowers.

            That’s not a defense of the laws, by any means. In fact, if a law is by its very nature unenforced and unenforceable, that is a good reason for NOT having it at all.

      • Sheila Warner

        It’s fine with me, too, as long as the women are consenting to a polygamous marriage. And, as long as the brides are of the age of consent.

        • Andy

          And the men, for that matter.

    • anakinmcfly

      I find your use of “promote” to be odd in the context of polygamy, because it sounds like you’re *encouraging* people to be polygamous, which does not sit well with me and reminds me of creepy guys on the internet being very enthusiastic about the idea of society encouraging them to wed multiple hot women.

      • Sheila Warner

        It was a rhetorical question. The one who posted the comment is being sarcastic.

      • Elaine T.

        I have been reading and reading about the reasoning for approving same sex marriage. I began to see that almost every reason that is given for same sex marriage can be used to condone polygamy. Then I began to wonder if any others could see the same parallels. No, ana,, I am not trying to encourage pologmy.

        • anakinmcfly

          I don’t share those conclusions. The former is about every person’s right to a life partner. The latter is about how *one* partner isn’t enough for some people and they want even more. A gay person denied marriage is being condemned to be alone. Whereas a polygamist denied polygamy is still free to marry someone they love. Big difference.

          • Andy

            Yes, just not everyone they love.

          • Elaine T.

            I have known many loving women who have lived in singleness and had beautiful lives. The ones that I’ve known have been older and were young after WW2 when they either lost a loved one in the war or there was a shortage of available men after the war. They did not allow their singleness to diminish their living a productive and meaningful life. Of course they were in an era where sex wasn’t made out to be the most important aspect of a person’s life.

          • anakinmcfly

            Of course it’s possible to live a happy and fulfilling single life. But there’s a huge difference between being single either out of choice or a lack of ability to find a partner, and being forced to be single, even if you *do* find someone you love and who loves you back and would like to spend the rest of their life with you.

            I also have no idea what sex has to do with this. We’re talking marriage, not sex. Sex is one of the least important aspects of my life, but I’d still like very much to fall in love and have a partner one day.

          • Elaine T.

            Our sex saturated society has a strong influence on how people view marriage.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I do not understand that statement.

          • Guy Norred

            If truth be know, I find that much more of the case in conservative Christian circles than in society at large. Of course this is probably because of the emphasis on abstinence before marriage. Often, other than actually living at the same address (and a further mingling of finances), this is about the only real change that has happened since the couple in question has been spending a great amount of time together beforehand. Somewhere in this process, sex is elevated beyond the level of sacredness that I think they are trying to preserve, and becomes almost fetishistic.

          • anakinmcfly

            I have no idea how this is relevant.

            1) If sex saturation has a strong influence on how people view marriage and that marriage should therefore be forbidden (?), why do you apply this only to gay marriage? Why not straight marriage too? The vast majority of sexualisation in society is heterosexual in nature, such that if you’re arguing from that angle, gay marriage should be allowed and straight marriage condemned.

            2) Why does how someone/society view a thing affect the goodness or lack thereof of that thing? Our sex saturated society also has a strong influence on how people view, say, exercise, or food, or cars, or science, but that doesn’t mean those things are bad. They are completely independent features.

            3) Sex = bathwater. Marriage = baby. It’s illogical to throw out the latter with the former.

            4) I would happily die a virgin if it meant I could find someone I love who loves me enough to want to spend the rest of his life with me. Even if we never have sex. Meanwhile there are married gay people, like married straight people, who are living celibate lives together. So where does the ‘sex saturated society’ come in, in that case?

          • Elaine T.

            Ana, You touched my heart with your #4 That is a beautiful sentiment,

          • anakinmcfly

            Thanks. God bless you.

          • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

            Nor is it anybody’s place to tell another human being to be celibate just to make that person feel more comfortable. It must suck to be volun-told that your lot in life, through no fault of your own and due to no choice you ever made, is to go without a loving relationship of any kind for your entire life just because someone else thinks it’s ickie to think of you loving someone.

        • JohnVHedtke

          You could be right, Elaine. I’m not sure how much of a good argument there is in terms of “morality” for preventing a poly marriage. Although as I mentioned above, there really are substantial legal issues that would need resolving that you don’t need to deal with for the dyadic marriages we’re talking about with marriage equality. Those legal issues are enormous and would do horrible things to family law courts and legislatures. :) This is a concrete argument for why one wouldn’t want to open that particular can o’ worms.

        • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

          You can’t actually “encourage” polygamy, so don’t get yourself into too much of a dither over the threat of accidentally making someone fall into the abyss. People don’t need encouragement for a style of life and love that existed long before the Bible’s myths were ever put to parchment. I’ve talked to oodles of poly people and can tell you that the vast majority of them think they’re just wired that way. An ex-BF of mine realized he was poly after we broke up some time ago. He’d never cheated on me and was an incredibly honest and trustworthy person, which were qualities that didn’t change when he realized polygamy would make him much happier as a person, and he’s been poly ever since. He got married to another poly woman over a decade ago, and they seem very happy; we talk occasionally as we’re on very good terms still, and their family seems as stable as any monogamous one would be. Meanwhile, I’m monogamous and so is my husband, and I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to be poly. I can’t even flirt with other men–I’m a one-man woman! I think polygamy would make me miserable. But a poly person thinks that about my monogamy.

          Done ethically, honestly, and with integrity, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with anything consenting adults can possibly figure out to do with each other, and even if there were, if what they’re doing doesn’t involve you personally, then your input into the matter is not required, requested, or welcomed. Does any of this sound kind of familiar to you? Because I’m thinking it should. Please stop talking about polygamy like it’s Bestiality Lite.

    • Leota2

      I seem to remember interracial marriage was as maligned as gay marriage is by some now. Same arguments. They were silly. In the end sanity won out. Thank goodness sanity is winning again.

      • catholicchristian

        You have a very faulty memory. Arguments against interracial marriage were specious and supported by no mainline Christian denomination, and were localized to the USA.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          OOO boy. Ok Cupcake, here we go.

          The legality of interracial marriage took a Supreme Court case to make it happen. Until then it was considered illegal. Virginia vs. Loving rang the death knell of laws forbidding interracial unions, which had been a part of colonial and US laws since the 1600′s. South Carolina did not remove its language on bans on interracial marriage until 1998!!!

          http://civilliberty.about.com/od/raceequalopportunity/tp/Interracial-Marriage-Laws-History-Timeline.htm

          EVERY southern state had laws on its books forbidding the practice. Black men in the south were murdered for just looking at a white woman, falsely accused of rape or murder of white women. Interracial relationships in some parts of the US could be a lethal gamble. This within the past 100 years.

          I suggest you pick up a history book. Whomever taught you that falsehood needs to pick up on alongside you.

          • Guy Norred

            And it was Christian precedent sited by the Virginia court finding against the Lovings that finally brought it to the Supreme Court.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Hear, hear, Allegro.

          • Gene

            Cupcake? Is that an attempt to be condescending, allegro?
            “how about the universal and quite ancient concept of loving others as we desire being loved ourselves?”
            But perhaps you think you are being loving with such a comment. I don’t. In other words, if we are going to live in harmony we need something outside of ourselves to set the standard of proper behavior.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            What’s wrong with cupcakes? I like cupcakes.

          • Gene

            Oh, so if you like it it’s OK. But if someone else has a different opinion about something, refer back to the fact that you like it — It’s OK.

            I ask again: “how about the universal and quite ancient concept of loving others as we desire being loved ourselves?” Or do I simply need to recognize that you don’t really mean those words apply to you. Rather, you have decided you are the arbitrator of what is and what is not to be liked, what is and is not wrong. That’s funny, because you don’t accept the concept of an arbitrator of those things outside of ourselves, but you appear to be quite happy to take the role upon your own self.

            And honestly, I hope you hear me on this. I’m not trying to be snide in making the above remarks. I’m just trying to point out that you are using a double standard. If others arrive at a different conclusion than what you would suggest, they are simply wrong and they need to change. But that it might be the other way around appears to be an idea that simply hasn’t crossed your mind. I only know one being to whom I ascribe that sort of perfection.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            sigh….

        • JohnVHedtke

          Boy howdy, CC, you really don’t know much about history, I fear. While it’s true that arguments against interracial marriage were and are specious (in precisely the same way that arguments against gay marriage are), nevertheless, almost EVERY mainstream religion spoke out against it as a matter of policy. As a single example, the Mormons have only VERY recently removed a lot of their language about blacks being a secondary/inferior race. (Big of them, eh?) I don’t know if Native Americans are still Lost Tribes or whatever. Many, many other religious groups blithered on about Gawd’s Will and Noah’s son Ham and all the rest of the drivel brought up by the hard-of-thinking.

          One of the best examples of the similarity is a video of someone who gave a speech strongly opposing marriage equality. He brought God in, he talked about the natural order of things, and all the rest of the garbage one hears… until about 3 minutes in, he slips and says something about interracial marriage. He then broke character and said something to the effect of “This speech was given 50 years ago by someone opposed to interracial marriage. The arguments are the same and they’re no more relevant now than they were then.” It was a powerful way of making his point.

          • Gene

            The argument against interracial marriage falls apart for the Christian based on Paul’s understanding that whether one is Jew or Greek is inconsiquintial because we are all one in Christ. Also, all persons stand before the judgment seat of God on equal footing without regard to class, race, or gender. And if you want to add without regard to sexual orientation, that is fine too. BUT, and it is an enormous “BUT”, no where in scripture is there room to infer that all behaviors are to be seen as equal. Some behaviors are definitely seen as righteous and some are not.
            We may disagree as to whether or not the practice of homosexuality is one of those. But the argument for gay marriage is NOT on par with the arguments to eliminate racial bigotry.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Yes, the Bible does allow one to keep slaves. And the Bible–in some people’s interpretation, anyway–allows one to piss all over homosexuals. Which is worse?

            Ummm, I’m going to have to go with letting some POS book dictate really awful behavior towards other people. Neither one is morally justifiable and anyone who thinks otherwise has failed as a human being and has certainly missed the idea of “Loving one another” and “as you do to the least of these” completely.

          • Gene

            And if not a book, what is your standard by which you, or anyone, determines what is and what is not “really awful behavior”? Is it something that we can all equally appeal to? Or is it just what one determines based on their own personal internal ethic of what feels right/wrong?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            how about the universal and quite ancient concept of loving others as we desire being loved ourselves? A teaching that predates Christianity by several hundred years and has had similar elements in so many cultures.

          • Gene

            That’s fine. But it just pushes the same question back one level. Who/What determines whether a particular behavior is loving?

            My children do not think that my disciplining of them is particularly loving, yet it exactly because of my love for them that I discipline them at all. The Jehovah’s Witness parent doesn’t withhold a lifesaving blood transfusion from their child because they hate their child and want him/her to die. They do it because they sincerely believe that it is more loving to let their child face death than to face hell. But, state governments, which have no view with regard to hell, routinely discount that possiblity and believe the loving response is to take authority over the child away from the parents and compell the receiving of a blood transfusion.

            Without an agreed upon standard, we will have different interpretations of what is and is not loving others. And so we are still left with the question, by what standard do we determine what is and what is not “really awful behavior”?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I find it interesting that Jehovah Witnesses tend to believe that giving a child a blood transfusion will send doom that child to hell yet letting them die needlessly is preferrable. The child has no say in the matter, no voice, facing two horrible fates, near certain death, or eternal torment because of someone else’s decision. Either way they face terrifying doom.

            That is why the state steps in. The child’s choice on whether they wish to live is being usurped by the parents, well meaning as they may be. Allowing someone to die, when help is readily available, and still refusing it because of the fear of godly punishment is unspeakably cruel. I should know. I lost my mother that way. The choice was mostly hers, but mostly the church we were in, who preached terror about medicine and the wrath God would exact for those who sought such care.

            That isn’t love, its fear. Love would do anything possible to save a loved one, offer to donate thier own blood if possible, take them to doctor’s visits, sit and hold their hands during treatments, wish they could trade places with the one who is ill, and support and care for them until they hopefully recovered.

            The standard for love is: You are as important and worthy of love, respect, patience, forgiveness, joy, peace, companionship, autonomy, success…as I am. I want to enjoy seeing those thing happen for you, and if possible, help you have all that in your life.

            The standard for right behavior is: I do not want to do anything that would willingly cause harm or pain to others, and to treat my surroundings with enough care that it is in good or better shape for those that come after.

          • Gene

            allegro63, you speak knowingly, even convincingly, out of your own experience. It is, however, YOUR experience. No one else can share it with you, nor use it as their standard. Because we are all individuals while we may have similar experiences they are not identical experiences, and hence what you propose is that each person should find their own answer to what is right and what is wrong. Again, that is fine as far as it goes. But what happens when we need to make not a personal decision, but a corporate one. Then we need another way than that which you have proposed.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Sadly, my experience was not isolated. I know of other people in my former church who suffered needlessly, or who perished far too soon, because of shitty religiously themed fear.

            As for standards for corporate or group settings? The standards I laid out remain. In corporate settings such questions should be asked, in my opinion:

            Is the decision respectful, kind, understanding, compassionate, helpful, encouraging, etc to all parties that would be directly involved in this decision? Is there negative fall-out that may cause direct or indirect harm to people not directly involved? What is our motivation? Who stand the most to gain? who stand the most to lose? What do we think about that?

            All it takes is a simple principle of looking at everyone as “neighbor, sibling, important, loved”. Yeah its a big fat toughie. But its not like we don’t know the solution, Its the putting it consistently into practice that we’ve not mastered.

          • Gene

            That ^^ is very similar to something I might have said myself in another context:

            “I’ve focused on what it means to be a disciple and make disciples, I’ve been focusing on the commands of Jesus. The heart of these commands seems to be that we are to love God, lo…ve one another and love our neighbor. These commands are so important that you would have to question whether someone with a different priority can authentically claim to be a Christian.

            “I don’t recall a single command where Jesus told the disciples, all Jews, to keep their theology pure … In fact he challenged and rewrote the assumptions about theology of people in his culture as it pleased him: the Sabbath, Corban, and changing Passover into communion are all examples. Human assumptions about theology are frequently flawed and in need of correction by the Spirit.

            “If the early church showed a desire to keep theology pure, you would find this in the book of Galatians – and where Paul opposes those who insist that theology that originated in a Jewish context must be kept inviolate and unchanging as it spreads into the Gentile world.

            “The order of the Great Commission is very clear: first, we go and make disciples – that’s inclusive as we love one another. Second we are to teach those who become disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded. (It’s clear that we do that from within the family, not as a boundary test which others must satisfy for entrance into what is called in the article “our home” … when in reality it is God’s home, not ours.)

            “If that is sufficient for Jesus, its sufficient for me. Sadly we are doing a poor job at both of these commanded tasks. Sometimes we go, but are not loving. Sometimes we teach, but not what we were commanded to teach.

            “And I believe that to love people, inclusively, will not require a compromise on anything Jesus commanded of us. If not, please show me in the red letters.”

            But I also realize that love and license are not the same. Love sometimes does mean to point out that certain behaviors are not God’s will for us and to refuse to condone them. On the nature of what those behaviors might be we probably disagree, but for the moment move away from discussing that aspect of the issue to the question of how we who disagree are still called to live in community. Can you live with the tension that disagreement produces? Or do you insist that everyone comes around to your way of thinking, your way of expressing what love is?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I understand well the tension that disagreement produces. I’m a liberal surrounded by the complete opposite. My tongue is permanently scarred from having to bite it so often, when I’ve been part of conversations that make me want to scream in frustration…and that’s just with family. I don’t insist others see things my way either. They are my way. My beliefs are how I navigate through life. I am unapologetic about them, but they are how I stay sane in a world of religious and cultural insanity.

          • Guy Norred

            I find your “quote” (I assume you are quoting yourself) a beautiful expression of much of what I believe it should mean to be a Christian. As to your last paragraph, the statements, I agree with entirely, the questions, well… Having lived with that tension all my life in some way or another, and finally through the Spirit to find peace within myself, I still find the tension from without tiring–less tiring than I found life before the inner peace, but tiring all the same.

          • Guest

            Fair enough.

          • Gene

            Fair enough. May the inner peace you find give you the strength that you need for that which lays outside yourself.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Oh that deserves a Namaste.

          • Andy

            This needs more up votes.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            Gene: Surely you are not saying that you–naturally, organically, all by yourself, as a functional adult human being–are incapable of telling right from wrong.

          • Gene

            That is exactly what I am saying. And I am saying that the same incapacity is true of you and every other human.
            We are capable of guessing what is right from wrong. We do so based on all sorts of inputs: feelings, experience, reason, human traditions. But I want to suggest that all of these are going to see right and wrong through a very fallible human lens. Unless there is some standard outside of ourselves, then it boils down to you think/feel this, and I think/feel that. What do we do then? A million years of human history shows that we are not very capable of solving those differences on our own.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Good question, Gene.

            While it may be true that by someone’s interpretation that gay people are “living in sin,” they also need to recognize that theirs is not the only POV in the world. This is not something that’s harming them or anyone else, and they should mind their own friggin’ business. While it is possibly that God doesn’t like it (which I truly doubt), it’s hardly the job of someone local to be the normal judgmental little a-hole that we’re all used to and shout “Shame, shame!” to homosexuals. People should get on with their own lives and STFU.

            If, on the other hand, someone feels like this is going to bring about the death of Western civilization and they themselves are much pee-yoorer than the rest of the crowd, they should die now and be happy that they are with God, who will clearly recognize their genetically superior stock and will welcome them to Heaven with open arms. The rest of the world will be poorer for their absence, I’m sure, but we’ll all just have to carry on without them.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            (note to self, read JohnVHedtke’s comments when no one else is in the office at work. Co-workers may not understand my chortling)

          • JohnVHedtke

            <<—he bows. And then beetles off, because I'm moving today. Oh, joy, oh, rapture unbounded. Bleaaaaaaahhhhh….

          • Gene

            Indeed there are multiple points of view in this world. Sometimes people who claim to have enough of a similar view in common will even join themselves together to form an organization of some sort: a social service organization like the Lions club, a political party, or even an institutionalized form of the Church. When these people so form themselves, the associations are of course voluntary. Such is the case of the Reverend Dr. Tom Ogletree’s association with the United Methodist Church. And in making and continuing that association, Dr. Ogletree entered into a covenant. A covenant that he violated. Now, he may have thought that the terms of the covenant were wrong. But he asked to be part of that covenant. And, yes, the nature of that covenant can and has changed over time since he first entered it. But that part which he objected to and violated was over 40 years old. Now, I don’t argue that the rightness or wrongness of the covenant is determined by how long it has been so. But, if Dr. Ogletree seriously thought that he could not have lived with it, he had ample opportunity to withdraw from the covenant — he is after all retired — and no longer associate himself with it. He didn’t. Rather, he remained associated with the group that he made covenant with in order that he might be recognized by an outside group (the state) to perform a task that the group which through this covenant provides him with the credentials he used specifically says are not authorized.

            In other words, Dr. Ogletree voluntarily entered into covenant with the United Methodist Church. Then he determined that he did not agree with the terms of the covenant. But, rather than withdrawing from that covenantal agreement, which he could have done, he voluntarily broke the covenantal agreement.

            Now, the rest of the world may want to argue that he was right and the group he made covenant with (the United Methodist Church) was wrong. You may even ultimately be proven to be correct with regard to that position. But the opportunity for Dr. Ogletree’s son to be married was not in anyway restricted by the United Methodist Church. The state of New York is the one who is charged with recognizes and authorizing the legality of it. Even the United Methodist Church will recognize that two people have so covenanted with one another; we just won’t solemnize it.

            As for those who object to the United Methodist Church’s position when they have other opportunities and resources that they can just as easily avail themselves of to accomplish the same goal, but object to the UMC asking people to honor their covenants that have been made, one with another, as you yourself said: “This is not something that’s harming them or anyone else, and they should mind their own friggin’ business.”

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The majority here are delight he decided to part with a very bad church rule, and are hoping and praying for the day where it is chucked to the dust heap where it belongs.
            It takes the revolutionary, the one willing to break the rules to help usher in change. We need more like him.

          • Gene

            Ah, so now the standard of how one is to determine right from wrong is the ask the majority. How did that work for us in the first half of the 19th century? And, as for majority opinions, recall that the rule you object to is itself determined by a majority vote.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Gene –

            You seem to be under the mistaken impression that this is a rogue minister recklessly flouting church teaching. That’s not the situation at all.

            In case you missed it, there has been a raging debate within the United Methodist Church for more than two decades about the justice of this policy.

            Here, right before our eyes, is the Holy Spirit convicting the Church. This is a promise kept. The Holy Spirit resides within us and guides us.

            Nearly half of the 12-million-strong body of Methodists have experienced a crisis of conscience over this policy that excludes and stigmatizes people who are gay. Those who have been so convicted have engaged in a form of civil disobedience against church polity. There is a whole network of “reconciling congregations” that are committed to full inclusion for people who are gay – in violation of the Book of Discipline which would force them to exclude and judge.

            This is, in fact, discernment of God’s will within the body of believers.

            You may disagree with their conclusion and hold differing convictions; but it is patently unfair to suggest that these believers are somehow being willfully disobedient to God.

            Perhaps you could extend a little grace and charity. I hear that’s becoming popular again with Christians.

          • Gene

            Ford1968, you have jumped to hugely erroneous conclusions. I’m a United Methodist pastor, I attended the 1972 General Conference where the language under debate was inserted into the Discipline and I argued AGAINST it. And I don’t suggest that Dr. Ogletree is being willfully disobedient to God. What I suggest is that he is being willfully disobedient to the community that he elected to be in covenant with.

            I do agree with you that our denomination is in the midst of a painful time of discernment. Painful, not just because people are in different places on this issue, but more painful than it needs to be because overall minority views (and among the 12 million members Dr. Ogletree’s views are NOT the majority or even half as you suggest) finding themselves in some circumstances be the majority view in locales, convince themselves that they are therefore in the right, and chose to go their own way and live in disobedience rather than continue to let the discerning process work.

            You may disagree with their conclusions and hold differing convictions; but it is patently unfair to suggest that those believers who hold different views are being guided by someone other than the Holy Spirit.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Gene –
            Please call me David.

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but the revision to the BOD was narrowly rejected at the last general conference. That would support the assertion that nearly half of the church body supports the full inclusion of people who are gay. Then consider the fact that the non-US delegates were mostly opposed, and it would appear that most American Methodists indeed support inclusion.

            Yes, I agree that Dr. Ogletree is being willingly disobedient to the church; like I said, this is civil disobedience. I commend him for it.

            There is a conversation to be had about the morality of a theology that diminishes the humanity of an entire group of people. Not only does traditionalist doctrine exclude and stigmatize people who are gay, it has directly led to the deaths of too many people. That’s not hyperbole. The application of the traditionalist doctrine in contemporary society is measured in a body count. If your position includes any pastoral duties, I know you recognize this reality.

            So there’s good, just, honest, basis for challenging the church. Those who do so are operating with integrity. Is this very specific act of disobedience truly constitute breaking the covenant with the UMC? Dr. Ogletree makes a cogent argument that he has actually honored rather than broken it.

            And isn’t this exactly how discernment is supposed to work? The Church is sanctified through such challenges. Our God is a living God. To say the Holy Spirit is working in the Church is not to cast aspersions about any person or group with particular convictions. I did not do that and I resent your inference. That’s not how I operate in this public conversation.

            I’m surprised, considering your job and your understanding of this issue, that you wouldn’t extend more grace and charity to Dr. Ogletree, Bishop McLee, or the leaders of any reconciling congregation. Your comments lack a certain empathy for both these church leaders and the lives impacted by traditionalist positions.

            I pray God shows us a way forward that ends the harm to people who are gay and that leads the Church to unity.

            I wish you peace.

          • Gene

            David, the revision of the BOD was rejected at the last General Conference. The vote was the closest it has ever been since the issue was first presented 40 years ago. As for it being “narrowly rejected”, the use of the term “narrowly” is a relative term. The percentile vote was 61-39. In a presidential election the pundits call that a landslide. I don’t think that either adjective is correct. What I would agree with is your hypothesis that among American United Methodists that the majority would probably favor changing the BOD. But the previous statement that I challenged was that suggestion that “nearly half of the 12-million-strong body of Methodists experienced a crisis of conscience over this policy. Given that fully 1/4 (and fast approaching 1/3) of all United Methodist live outside the United States, that there is a split among UMs that live in the USA and that, as you said, non-US delegates were mostly opposed (indeed over whelmingly opposed), your numbers do not bear out.

            As for the rest of your argument, I hear you. I can remember making similar arguments at one time myself. I do think you are still partial to hyperbole when you say that the position of the United Methodist Church “has directly led to the deaths of too many people.” I think it is more accurate to say “indirectly”. And I would also think that those death are more related to the culture than to what is written in the BOD. But we must confess our own part in this culture. There is too much hate language and guilt shaming being done in the church. (And, in my opinion, it is coming from both sides on this issue — even in this very thread.) As a people of God we have to learn how to express ourselves WITHOUT it also being a belittling of others.

            I am glad to continue to have the discussion. I can even see the role for civil disobedience in it. If I viewed the situation as Dr. Ogletree does, I might very well have done the exact thing that he did. I also think that civil disobedience means recognizing that one may have to endure discipline before the law one objects to is changed. Now, Dr. Ogletree has agreed to everything asked of him. So, I don’t hold that against him. It is the bishop’s decision that I disagree with. I don’t think that Bishop McLee’s decision benefits the church, for I fear that it is the crack in the dam which will bring about its eventual disintegration. It points a way forward that will lead many others to act precipitously on this issue and forgo holy conferencing. And that will lead to a backlash from others. And the end result will be that the United Methodist Church will be irreparably split asunder.

            Of course, that is a split that some might see as a good thing. The Holy Spirit does work in strange and mysterious ways, raising up Nebuchadnezzar and calling him God’s messiah being just one example. This doesn’t even compare to that.

            Now, I’m sorry if you feel insulted that I called your comments into question. I did so because, though I accept that you may not have intended them this way, they did seem to cast dispersion on those who were looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance just as much as members of reconciling congregations are and yet felt themselves guided to different conclusions. Again, I accept such may not have been your purpose, but it is what came across.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Gene –

            Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’m not sure the exact numbers matter so much and I probably put too much weight on them. It seemed like your challenges to Allegro were suggesting that Bishop McLee was taking it upon himself to discern God’s will on behalf of the church; clearly, that’s not the case (and, now, with context, I would understand those comments differently).

            To be clear, it is the traditional sexual ethic itself – reflected in the language of the BOD – that I believe is emotionally and spiritually abusive. Beyond any hateful rhetoric, the theology itself pathologizes people who are gay, says their suffering is required for the flourishing of humanity, and says that gay relationships and the people in them are immoral and inferior. Think about the psychological impact of that theology on the 14-year-old gay kid who I guarantee is sitting in the front pew of your congregation.

            I question the morality of holding to a doctrine that has caused such undeniable destruction to flesh-and-blood people. http://fordswords.net/2014/02/18/is-traditional-morality-moral/

            Regarding any potential schism, I’m saddened that this one (secondary) doctrinal sticking point has become larger than the obvious agreements we have in the Church. For whatever reason, convictions about the sinfulness of homosexuality have become a proxy for societal morality in toto. It’s disappointing, though not surprising, that the conservative members of the church have generally made this into a litmus test for scriptural fidelity and moral uprightness. This paradigm runs contrary to Romans 14 & 15.

            Shalom –
            David

            [Psst - the phrase is "cast aspersions" not "cast dispersion".]

          • Gene

            David, I would love to see a 14-year-old gay kid in the front pew of my church. Or anyone else in the front pew for that mattter. It must be an unusual church you attend to see people seated in the front pew. Mine can my fully packed and still no one sits in the front pew.

            As for your comment, “the theology itself pathologizes people who are gay, says their suffering is required for the flourishing of humanity, and says that gay relationships and the people in them are immoral and inferior.” I won’t tell you what it is that you hear. You hear what you hear. But I can tell you that what you have written is NOT what is being said.

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Hi Gene –

            It took me years to reconcile my faith and sexuality. That involved a lot of study and prayer. I’m very well versed in traditionalist theology.

            The kinder, gentler way to express the traditional sexual ethic is to say that homoerotic behavior is forbidden because it is contrary to God’s design for human sexuality. That polite summation is grounded thusly:

            - God created humanity with sexual complimentarity – i.e. Adam and Eve.
            - Scripture clearly proscribes homoerotic behavior; engaging in an homoerotic act is sinful because it is disobedient to God.
            - Specifically, Romans 1 shows us that homosexuality is unnatural and a shameful lust (i.e. a pathology. The Roman Catholic Church says “intrinsically disordered”, protestants usually say “perversion caused by the fall”).
            - God created humans as relational, sexual beings (e.g., it is not good for man to be alone, it is better to marry than burn with passion).
            - Gay people, morally forbidden to enter into sexual relationships, are required to live contrary to God’s creative intention for humanity.
            - Any suffering caused by this prohibition on human relationship (for those not gifted with celibacy) is necessary for the greater flourishing of humanity that comes from God’s plan for human sexuality.
            - Because intimate gay relationships involve sex, they are immoral.
            - Because gay relationships don’t have sexual complimentarity and lack procreative possibility they are inferior to straight relationships.

            Sincerely…what have I missed? What did I misstate? How is what I wrote “NOT what is being said”?

            I’m not intending to be argumentative. I’m trying to understand how you could possibly view traditionalist theology in a less harmful way.

          • Gene

            David, I don’t pretend to know why the majority of heterosexual behavior is forbidden, so I’m not going to try to conjecture why homosexual behavior is either. But I do believe that it is. So, the question is not why God did so, but whether or not God could be wrong?

            My answer to that question is that I do think that we could understand God wrongly; but, NO, I don’t think that God could be wrong. So, unless I am understanding God wrongly (something that I suspect many would say is the case), the only thing left for me to determine is whether or not I’m going to live in obedience or not.

            I’m not concerned about trying to establish any one type of relationship as inferior or superior to another. I’m not suggesting that there is cosmic significance to any suffering that may be involved or that such suffering is necessary. Heck, I don’t even say that scripture is clear on the matter (for it really was clear, I don’t think that so many people who sincerely seek to understand and apply the scriptures to their lives would be in so many different places on this subject). I simply say that my best efforts at understanding the scripture on this matter is that it is outside of God’s will for us. But, then, who among us can say that we live any differently?

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Gene,

            Respectfully, I’m not letting you off the hook here. You protested my recap of the traditionalist doctrine as being experienced in a way that was inconsistent with the *actual* doctrine. I then showed, with specificity, why my recap was objectively accurate.

            Your response was “…but that’s not what I mean…I’m just being obedient to God.” It seems like you’ve never even delved into the theology underpinning your belief. Do you even understand what you’re telling your congregants? Do you understand the emotional devastation inherent in the traditionalist doctrine?

            The question on the table isn’t, and has never been if “God could be wrong.” The question on the table – the whole point of discernment – is “what is God’s will?”

            I sincerely appreciate that you’re seeking to live a God-honoring life. So am I. But you are trying to justify your complicity in the suicides and suffering of Christians who are gay with a shoulder shrug. You’re a PASTOR, after all, and you’re leading people who are gay into despair. I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything remotely resembling Christ in that. To me, it’s outrageous. And, candidly, it makes me angry and leaves me heartbroken.

            I’m not sure what’s left to be said. But I pray God increases our understanding and our compassion for one another. I pray that the harm to gay people at the hands of the Church ends. I pray for your congregants; may they be kept safe from harm.

          • Gene

            The problem with your recap of the “traditionalist” doctrine is that you project more on to it than those who hold to it actually themselves hold to. If you feel inferior it is NOT because I have called you inferior. That is pure projection on your part. As such, it is for you to resolve. I didn’t cast you in such light. So, I submit that you recap is NOT accurate, your protestations to the contrary not withstanding.

            Again, you assume there is emotional devastation. Why? Because I tell my congregation that we have all sinned, but the good news is that even while we were sinners God’s love was so great that he came and gave his life to reconcile us to himself? I hardly think that most people would feel devastated by the news. If people are being harmed, it is that you are actually slandering people — “your complicity in the suicides.” Your solution seems to be that everyone else must endorse all that you are about. Well, given our best understanding of the text, we can’t exactly do that can we? So, beyond simply getting angry and blaming others for our own emotional duress, what are our options?

          • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

            Gene –

            You say: “If you feel inferior it is NOT because I have called you inferior. That is pure projection on your part.”

            You cannot claim to believe the theology but not the exegesis. That’s impossible. That’s like saying “I believe in total depravity but I never claimed you fall short of God’s ideal. That is pure projection on your part.”

            If you claim homosexuality is sinful, then you necessarily claim that the relationships we form are also sinful – you believe my marriage is immoral and therefore inferior to heterosexual marriages. If you believe traditionalist theology (and I don’t use that word pejoratively), you believe that people who are gay are profoundly flawed in a way that makes us unintended for romantic intimacy.

            I don’t think “anti-gay” is a particularly helpful description of Christians who believe homosexuality is sinful, but I’m always perplexed when people object to it. They are, in fact, anti-gay.

            You say: “So, beyond simply getting angry and blaming others for our own emotional duress, what are our options?”

            The emotional duress caused by traditionalist doctrine is not internal. The gay kid raised in a church that affirms his humanity does not experience the religion-induced distress. The emotional harm is caused by your belief. You are blaming the victim.

            What’s the pastoral response to a woman with an emotionally abusive husband? Surely you wouldn’t tell her that she’s being over-sensitive, would you? Yet that is exactly what you’re telling me.

            Your unwillingness to concede the emotional impact of your belief betrays a certain callousness and lack of compassion and understanding. It would appear that you are tying heavy, cumbersome loads to the gay people in your pastoral care.

            The loss of life due to religion-induced despair is not a matter of opinion, it’s a quantifiable fact. It’s not slander to say that those who perpetuate harmful beliefs are culpable in the harm that results from them. It’s not slander to say that the Christian Scientist who withholds essential medical care from his child is culpable in that child’s death. A harmful belief, no matter how sincerely held, is still harmful.

            Whether you want to admit it or not, you are causing harm by perpetuating your belief.

            If the Church is serious about loving people who are gay, then we must change our theology – we must believe differently. So, yes, I believe that the Church needs to affirm the full humanity of people who are gay. And I believe the Holy Spirit is convicting people of this need.

            My prayer for the Church is that we humble ourselves, admit the harm we have caused, ask forgiveness, and pray that God shows us a way to believe that doesn’t cause harm.

            Gene, I invite you to join me in that prayer.

            With that, I’ll let God be God and leave the final word to you.

            Shalom

          • Gene

            OK. For my last word, here is what I am hearing you saying. You think that the only proper exegesis has to include not only loving gay people as they are, but also agreeing that homosexual acts are not sinful. Having predetermined this end point, you then want me to adopt a theology that will lead me to this end point, and disregard any other outcome as even possible of being supported by scripture.

            Now, if that is not what you meant to say, I guess you can still have the last word after all in an attempt to clarify. But in a nutshell, that is what the last couple of posts sound like you have been saying to me.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            No. The standard to determine right from wrong, is what does it harm, who does it benefit, and at what expense. The majority rule is not the standard. The rightness belongs clearly in ensuring fairness, compassion and equality. History easily shows us how wrong a majority can be

            Which is why we have the Wilber Wilberforces, the manners of the underground railroad, those who risked it all to rescue people from the fate of a gas chamber, the Walt Whitmans, the Rosa Parks, the Susan B Anthonys, the Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s The Dalai Lama’s of the world. People who peacfully, yet purposefully saw wrongs, and set their faces towards speaking and moving towards what was right.

        • Paul Linxwiler

          Umm, no. Post fail.

    • Sven2547

      In stark contrast to same-sex marriage, Polygamy actually has a history of hurting people.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        So does traditional marriage. And there have been plenty of healthy examples in all three configurations.

        • Sven2547

          I’m referring to the system of polygamy itself, not examples of specific abusive families. Google the “lost boys” of Mormon fundamentalism, for example. They weren’t victims of individual abuse (well, many were, but that’s not the point), they were all victims of a system that failed to acknowledge that there are roughly as many boys as there are girls born each year.

        • anakinmcfly

          But I can’t see polygamy benefiting women in any way (fewer resources, less attention, having to live with other women they might not get along with), while benefiting the exact kind of creepy men who think it would be the best thing ever if they were allowed to legally marry a whole bunch of women for teh sex and/or watch them make out with each other. It’s the kind of objectifying misogynist fantasy that Men’s Rights Activists drool over, and for that reason I have trouble thinking of polygamy in any positive light. The best case scenarios would basically be normality, while there are so many possible ways it could go very, very wrong.

          I’m particularly interested too in how people never bring up polyandry in these discussions; or does the idea of a man having to share “his” woman with a whole other bunch of men, and/or have sex with said men, somehow less appealing to all those pro-polygamy, mostly straight male people?

          • Andy

            “Men’s Rights”

            Heh.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Polygamy is not just one man w/ many wives. Yes, technically, it *is* but it’s generally accepted as being plural long-term partners with a strong emotional bond as well. Most of the poly people I know have more than one partner for each of the primary partners, but the primary relationship is the core couple.

          • anakinmcfly

            That’s polyamory, though, not polygamy.

          • JohnVHedtke

            Very true, but I don’t see any non-dyadic relationship being approved without gender reciprocity. And that would mean that we have a general plural marriage category. The idea that ONLY marriage between a man and multiple women would be approved and not the other way around is just not likely given the inevitable backlash (which I would agree with).

          • Sheila Warner

            I watched a segment about polygamy years ago on a talk show. The family that was featured consisted of a man and five adult wives, I think it was. The women were all adults, not young girls or teens. The women were grilled by the studio audience. And, those women pushed back. They did not believe they were being exploited, they all got along, and the children were well cared for. Not every polygamous marriage is damaging.

            Those who are against gay marriage often bring up the “slippery slope” of polygamy. Remember that polygamy in the USA was very common in Mormonism. The reason for many wives is so that many babies can be born. The Mormons are “filling the earth”, which they see as a command from God in Genesis, and then those children can become gods in the afterlife. Polygamy was part of their religious belief.

            Someone else on this forum gave a brief history as to the actions of the government in ending the practice. Anyway, if all of the women are well treated, have given full consent, and take care of their children, I see no issue with it. But that’s just me.

      • Elaine T.

        Actually I believe, historically, the people who have practiced polygamy have suffered intensely. Murders of hundreds of women, men, and children, being driven out of towns by mobs and having all their goods confiscated are just a few things that they suffered. Still the men are arrested and large families are left without an income. The contempt that they endure daily is intense. I just don’t see your stark contrast. Yes, gays have suffered rejection and have been treated badly and there have been some murders but I think the polygamists have suffered to a greater degree than gays.

        • anakinmcfly

          “and there have been some murders”

          …”some”? Have a look at what’s happening in places that aren’t the US, or the developed Western world, for that matter. And at least the hundreds of people you mention getting driven out of towns had each other, and in some cases were either equal in number to or outnumbered the mobs. Whereas most LGBT people suffer alone, and tend to be grossly outnumbered by their attackers in hate crimes. Not to mention that polygamy is actually a *choice*, and specifically a choice that makes misogynists happy.

          • Elaine T.

            You are correct world wide when I commented I was thinking only of the US.

        • Sven2547

          This isn’t a pissing match of what group of people has been oppressed more. I’m saying same-sex marriage, as an institution or a system, has never harmed one human being. For the “stark contrast” I’m referring to, google the “lost boys” of Mormon fundamentalism.

    • JohnVHedtke

      Solomon did it. How biblical do you wanna get, because you’re clearly not there yet. And anything else is going to be representing your own opinions and prejudices.

      Saying “Polygamy, polygamy” is just as much of a red herring as people saying “Socialist!” in politics. The right response to both is “And? So?”

      • Elaine T.

        Yes, Solomon was the king of all polygamists. (Pardon the pun!)

    • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

      I’m all for developing a legal framework for plural marriage for polyamorous families, however I admit it will be more complicated than extending marriage to same-sex couples. I see absolutely no issue with consenting adults choosing to structure their families any way they choose. Yes, polygamy has been used to hurt people but so has monogamous marriage in highly patriarchal cultures.

      • Elaine T.

        Thank you for commenting, because I have come to believe that polygamy will be the next cultural issue that will be considered. You are already there.

    • Bob

      I’ll go one up on that. Let’s just eliminate the word “marriage” entirely from civil law. Those that want to live together in a committed relationship can then find a church that will perform the ceremony or just file the same legal papers as you would a corporation. Lets face it: the legal reasons for marriage have changed.

      • Elaine T.

        If what you suggest would come about you indicate that they could find a church that would marry them. Does that mean the you believe that the United Methodist Church has a right to say no to same sex marriage?

        • Guy Norred

          I don’t know about Bob, but I absolutely say they, as a denomination or as individual clergy, have the right to say no to ANY marriage, just as any other denomination or clergy has had the right (at least under the US Constitution). That said, I believe any theology that denies them out of hand, is fundamentally flawed.

        • Bob

          Of course they do! What in my message would imply that they did not? Please, don’t make this a “war on Christianity” issue!

    • JohnVHedtke

      You know, I don’t have an opinion on legal poly marriage, but there are some substantially difficult legal issues relating to such things as marital estate, parental rights of children, shared paternity/maternity, taxation, and just a whole ton of things that would be enormously difficult to unravel. I could see this clogging the courts for a LONG time to come while it’s unravelled and I’m not sure that’s such a good idea. (Marriage equality is not nearly so big, as you largely have to just change the term “husband” or “wife” to “spouse” and, for the most part, it works the same. Not exclusively, but largely the same. It’s certainly not the legal can of worms that a poly marriage of any kind would be.)

      As I mentioned earlier, polygamy gets waved around as the next bugaboo on the slippery slope, but I haven’t heard a lot of requests for poly marriage outside of some breakaway Mormons. I would be glad to be proven wrong on this, mind you, but I don’t think there’s anywhere near the need for poly marriage that there is for marriage equality.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      Why does it matter to you if consenting adults pair up in twos, threes, fours, or more? Why is your input required here? It’s none of your business what other adults do with their spare time. Society won’t fall apart if people are allowed to choose whoever they want to be with. The main danger in polygamy is that when practiced in a religious context, it often brutally suppresses women. I’ve personally known triads and quads who stayed together longer than any monogamous relationship I’ve ever had–who had children together and lives of normalcy that you’d instantly recognize as healthy and affirming if you saw them all together. Still others have open relationships that are marked by communication, trust, and love.

      Trust me, you know some polygamous people. You just don’t realize you know any.

      Using this as a “slippery slope” argument isn’t quite as offensive as the one anti-gay bigots usually use when they whine about “What’s next? Pedophilia? Bestiality?”, but it backfires just as badly in a different way–by showing just how much bigots’ attitudes are based on the idea that they deserve to control other people’s lives and tell free, consenting adults who they can and can’t love and marry. You’re right: there is no difference at all between a healthy polygamist’s love and commitment to his or her partners and that of a same-gender couple, or that of a mixed-gender couple. Love and commitment look the same no matter what number and gender of adults you’re talking about. That’s the whole freakin’ point.

  • JonsBlog

    Finally … my own denomination may yet overcome the painful irony in its slogan “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.”

    • catholicchristian

      “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” — Alexander Hamilton

      When you confuse love with marriage – and the two are not identical, in case you hadn’t noticed – you have to make a choice. Do you fall for the emotional argument that any two people can contract marriage and thus change the definition of marriage? Or do you fall back on Scripture, noting that Jesus “came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it,” thus confirming those parts of the Jewish Law that He, or, later, the Church, did not abolish?

      Gay “marriage” flies in the face of Christian tradition. No one is saying that two gay people can’t be in love, but those who hold to true Christian tradition know that Christian marriage is between one man and one woman. Those who promote other relationships and call them “marriage” put themselves outside the universal Church (and I’m not just talking about us Catholics, either).

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Hmm.. And there have been so many marriages throughout history that started because of status, or to prevent war, or to settle disputes, because someone offered to pay a bride price, a boon to a poor family, or for property rights, or position, or because someone needed fresh wombs,as the former wives kept dying off in childbirth. All of those very loveless scenarios.

        Are those types of marriages more preferred in the eyes of God, than two people, who happen to be gay, crazy in love and committed to an eternity together?

        • Andy

          I hope you’re not holding your breath for an answer to that last sentence.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Yeah, please don’t because they don’t have one.

          • Wonder

            oh, they have one, it’s just reeeaallly depressing

      • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

        Regarding the Alexander Hamilton quote… I stand for inclusion, compassion, and unconditional love. I invite you to stand with me rather than being mired in that place you stand right now.

        • Guy Norred

          And one does wonder who Hamilton would have married if he were alive today. Nothing is truly definitely known, but it is highly likely he wasn’t purely heterosexual.

      • anakinmcfly

        “But those who hold to true Christian tradition know that Christian marriage is between one man and one woman”

        Source please, because it looks like most of the marriages in the Bible were *not* between one man and one women. Usually one man and a bunch of women and/or a few concubines, or one man and one woman and his female slave, or one woman and one man and his brother after he died, and so on. US tradition =/= Christian tradition.

        And yes, Jesus is the fulfilment of the Law. Which means he’s covered it, and to paraphrase Paul, if one insists on the Law, Christ would be of no use to them.

      • JohnVHedtke

        Au contraire. Gay marriage is a well-established Christian tradition. Most recently, prior to the contemporary push for marriage equality. two RCC priests could marry up until about 140 years ago. There was no acknowledgement of sexuality or anything, but it was stated that if they had gotten to love each other through close work together, etc., etc., they could marry in the Roman Catholic Church. There are dozens of marriage ceremonies for priests recorded in breviaries.

        I know you’re not going to believe this without documentation, so I will point you at “Same-Sex Marriage in Pre-Modern Europe” by John Boswell, an enormously well-annotated book (he’s an academic). You can find a great deal of information in that.

        So you’re wrong: the RCC did recognize this and actively participated in it for a long, long time. And if you read the rest of Boswell’s book, you’ll discover a great deal about Christianity and gay marriage that you never knew before, and you may want to change your statement above. :)

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Something to add to my reading list.

          • JohnVHedtke

            I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a bit slow going for the first 50 pages or so and you’ll probably skip over the Greek and Latin texts, but it’s very good after that.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Goody! I love history, and I have found that religious history is especially juicy and rich. I remember a book about the history of the knights Templar that was fantastic. The author was named Robinson, and I’ve wanted to read it again, but can’t seem to find it.

          • Jill
          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            YES!! I read that book about fifteen years ago, and couldn’t remember the name. I need to read it again.

          • Jill

            I do random esoteric research for fun and profit. Mostly fun, since no one pays me.

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          Also Boswell’s CHRISTIANITY, SOCIAL TOLERANCE, AND HOMOSEXUALITY. He was fluent in several of the ancient languages from which the Bible was translated so, you know, he was kinda knowledgeable about such things. A notable source of his research was, of all places, the Vatican Archives!

          Another wise choice of material on this issue is Peter Gomes’ THE GOOD BOOK. Now deceased, he was Minister in the Memorial Church and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard along with several other notable titles. Among the many stand-out quotes from his book is this;”…no credible case against homosexuality or homosexuals can be made from the Bible unless one chooses to read scripture in a way that simply sustains the existing prejudice against homosexuality and homosexuals. The combination of ignorance and prejudice under the guise of morality makes the religious community, and its abuse of scriptures in this regard, itself morally culpable.”

          Given the fact that this issue argues Biblical interpretation, the operative words there are “credible” and “chooses”, begging the question of WHY one would make such an interpretive CHOICE when renowned theologians have differing interpretations. Just because something is “tradition” does not make it an exclusive truth. To suggest it does, is to ignore biblical and Christian history….or, more likely, be ignorant of it.

      • ArmedForces

        “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.”
        — Alexander Hamilton

        I thought this quote quite appropriate with respect to standing for Marriage Equality and non-discrimination!

  • tom dennison

    so because he’s a big shot he can’t be censured. regardless of where i come down on the LGBT issue, i find it absolutely pathetic that Ogletree can’t be disciplined or censured accorded to accepted policy, because somehow he is above it all. and we complain about the politicians!

    • anakinmcfly

      I don’t think it was so much a matter of “can’t” as a matter of – if the big shot who should know best about this kind of thing thinks there’s something wrong with the policy, there probably is.

      • tom dennison

        nobody should have that kind of power. the leaders of a huge denomination craft policies they think are best. the big guy disagrees and we chuck ‘em. in addition to that do you think his judgment could be a little skewed since it was his son. that doesn’t exactly lead to objectivity. come on, you have to admit if that happened in government or school policy decisions people will be screaming foul and favoritism like crazy. but if it’s the church anything goes i guess.

        • Tim Conard

          it has nothing to with his being a big shot.
          it has everything to do with his being an expert authority in the area for which he is being censured. it is not favoritism to say that einstein knows more about math than i do, it is not favoritism to realize that the reverend knows more about the theology of ethics than i do.

          • JohnVHedtke

            All true, Tim. It is also relevant to consider that if they fail to evolve they will suffer for it as an organization simply because people will leave them in their dust.

          • tom dennison

            john, completely missed my point. you completely hijacked the conversation to another destination. i said clearly i am not even talking about the actual issue of LGBT. i am talking about the process as to how the policy was changed. i found it absurd (laughable actually) that one is so revered that he can ignore the policies of his own denomination and the rule is changed; just like that. no meeting of the minds, no vote. maybe i don’t know how the UMC works. maybe it’s just top down with one guy calling the shots (even major decisions). could be. i don’t really know. have a good day john.

          • JohnVHedtke

            No, I actually did get that and recognize that McLee isn’t the Pope of the UMC. But he is a Bishop, which gives him a considerable amount of fiat authority for the disposition of matters relating to interpretations of spirituality, how they measure up to UMC tenets and dogma, and what he’s going to choose to do about them. In that regard, he *does* have the authority to speak for the people within his domain.

            In his statement, McLee’s not speaking for the whole of the UMC, but he is calling on the UMC as a whole to cease prosecutions & censuring of people for this kind of behavior throughout the UMC.And he’s saying that he, himself, isn’t going to do anything to prosecute or censure people for this where he might otherwise have the UMC authority to do so.

            So I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing that he’s violating process. Bishops are recognized to speak for the people under them. (I’m a retired priest; I’m broadly familiar with the process in other religions.) I find nothing incorrect about what he’s doing. Am I missing something in what you’ve said, please? Please elaborate if you would. Thanks!

          • tom dennison

            john, thanks for your kind response. some others weren’t. well i’m sure you know more than i about how things are supposed to work in the UMC. seemed like favoritism to me. why wasn’t a stand taken when a lesser light violated the rules. btw, i thought you had missed my point because you started bringing in the LGBT issue itself, (the UMC shouldn’t get left in the dust). i was commenting on the process itself. where you and i stand on the issue would be irrelevant. sorry if i misinterpreted you. but do you see what i mean that if the DA just decided to ignore a law while we discuss it, that would seem weird. maybe not if everyone knows they are about to change it. anyway; thanks for the input.

          • Gene

            As I understand the process Bishop McLee is most certainly operating according to the BOD in determining to use the “Just Resolution” process to deal with the complaint against Dr. Ogletree. My own opinion as to what would be the better/best way to handle it being irrelevant as it is the bishops prerogative to decide on which process he prefers. And it may even be that he is *technically* within his authority as a bishop to determine that all future cases will be handled this way under his administration as well. But I think it is wrong to announce that he has pre-determined this for all cases before there even is a case under discussion.

          • Michael Brian Woywood

            The UMC hierarchy is structured from the bottom up. Local pastors are meant to have autonomy, while still being accountable to district superintendents and bishops. So, if a Bishop says, “My conscience tells me I can’t keep persecuting clergy for ministering to the LGBT community. Let’s talk about this”… that’s about as high an “authority” as you’re going to get in the semi-centralized UMC.

            The truth is, we’ve been puttering around this issue with the Book of Discipline for years. It was always going to come down to a small number of men and women whose convictions were stronger than their fear of reprisal. That a Bishop has now made such a strong statement only means that we’ve finally stopped puttering.

          • tom dennison

            michael, thank you for your civil and illuminating response. so from your perspective a UMC bishop has the authority to do what he did; not enforce the policy? seems odd to me but at least i understand it now. thanks again.

          • tom dennison

            tim, the comparison with einstein is way off the mark. math is objective and factual; no comparison to the totally subjective theologizing that the UMC does. why does one man know more than all the bishops that formulated the policies. where is the process? honestly do you really think that was a good process? one guy (no matter how revered he is) ignores the rule. so the guy in charge just changes the rule. why in the world do you even have any process in the first place? just give an honest answer to that question. was that a good process? if yes, why?

          • Tim Conard

            if there is no objective measure of ethical behavior, then why does it matter what he says or does. his breaking the rules is as ethically valid as obeying the rules in that circumstance.
            if, in fact, you don’t believe in an objective way to measure a persons behavior, then you advocate anarchy, each person behaving according to their individual whim. in that case, why would you expect anyone to follow any particular process or pay attention to any governing body?

          • tom dennison

            hi guest, i’m not sure where you were going with that. do you think i don’t have an objective ethical standard or were you being sarcastic implying that the bishops don’t have an ethical standard. actually i agree with you. if there is no objective ethical standard then it’s a free for all and anything goes. i am a big believer in an objective ethical standard. illucidate. (spelling?) i’m intrigued.

          • Anthony Murano

            Tom, science has proven that homosexuality is a result of ones chemicals and body structure. You’re born gay and that has been scientifically proven. Now, anti-LGBT activists can continue to ignore science, or they can engage in ecclesiastical discussion like this good bishop decided. The laws are wrong and outdated. Good for this bishop to finally realize this…

          • fortjes

            Anthony – you are incorrect. Science has not demonstrated the cause of homosexuality in any repeatable study. If you know of any, please cite them. Anecdotal psychological studies have demonstrated that some homosexuals have turned away from that lifestyle after counseling, particularly lesbians with abusive fathers. Since fathers play such an important role in a young girl’s life, an abusive father will impact the ability of that girl to develop romantic relations with other men. Witness Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell.
            And by the way, opening the way for homosexual marriage would open the way for polygamy. Equal Protection. Or how about a man marrying another man plus say, two other women. Or how about a 70 year old man marrying ten 16 year old girls as has happened with some cults. All come under the “Equal Protection” concept. Are you ok with that because that is where this will go next?

          • Anthony Murano

            Fortjies, that argument is a crock of shit. 16-year old girls are not legal adults and can therefore not give consent to marriage. I’m sick and tired of people trying to lump all this ridiculous shit together when it comes to gay marriage. If two guys want to get married and are consenting adults, you or nobody else has any business to tell them otherwise. It’s THEIR lives, not yours. This is why marriage is a joke. All it is is a piece of paper that says you’re married. Gay marriage SHOULD exist because people miss out on equal benefits that other people have, which is the issue. Stop trying to make it about irrelevant things.

          • fortjes

            16 year olds can marry in most states. And I noticed you did not provide one iota of any cited scientific studies to back up your claim. And I assume you do support polygamy then based on your remarks.

          • Anthony Murano

            You need parental consent to marry under the age of 18. If you’re a parent and letting your 16-year-old daughter marry a 70-year-old, you have a problem.

            You should probably looking into it yourself because you seem to lack education, so it might do you some good to look into it.

            And, I’m not a fan of polygamy, I think that’s a disaster waiting to happen. But that’s someone else’s disaster waiting to happen. It’s not my place to say it’s wrong. I will marry one man and one man only. #getwiththetimes

          • fortjes

            But Anthony, you are the one making the scientific claim. You apparently cannot back it up so retract your statement or provide the scientific citations. And if you think the reason for gay marriage is to get equal benefits as you so state, you really don’t get it. And the court’s decision so far have opened the door to polygamy but apparently you don’t think about the long-term societal impacts of this whole gay marriage issue.

          • Anthony Murano

            Society can deal with it. Contrary to popular belief, two men or two women getting married is not going to have a big impact on society. They’re going to have normal lives just like any heterosexual couple. If gay marriage is illegal, so should be divorce. It’s a joke when people like you imply that gay marriage violates the sanctity of marriage when 50% of them end in divorce (and those are legitimate statistics you can find anywhere dealing with the issue). Guess what, my friend? It’s not the gays that are divorcing because they can’t get married. So, what’s really violating the sanctity of marriage? Good day, sir.

          • fortjes

            Anthony – I never said anything abut gay marriage and the sanctity of marriage. So why are you bringing up the subject. And I am still waiting for your scientific evidence but your argument now appears to have shifted to a justice type of issue.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            True states require parental consent for most teens under 18, and at least one for under 21. What is also interesting is that some states allow for marriages as young as 13

          • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

            I’m not sure the Equal Protection thing works for those other things you mentioned.

            It’s fairly easy to recognize that when the government issues you a license to marry Suzy but not me, that the difference in treatment is because of sex/gender. That might be a permissible kind of different treatment – most of them ARE – but still… when it’s sex/gender, the government needs to be able to enunciate something as a reason for the different treatment.

            But if it’s the NUMBER of people you want to marry that’s the problem? I don’t think there’s ever been a decision that makes “number” a suspect class, and never a decision that says the government has to treat multiple people in the same way they treat one person. And as for youth, there are decisions all down the line that allow the law handle kids entirely differently than adults.

            The analogies just aren’t very good.

            Also not good, frankly – and what sounds as though it might be the cause of concern for you – is that the States have not been good in these cases in explaining the State’s interest and purpose when it comes to marriage. If a State can’t really explain why it is issuing marriage licenses at all, it’s going to have a hard time explaining why it issues licenses to some but not others.

            If they don’t get better at explaining and defending THAT, then yeah, they could find themselves losing all sorts of cases involving their marriage laws.

          • fortjes

            The equal protection argument being put forth by the courts takes the state out of defining marriage and under that legal argument, there can be no restrictions on marriage as equal protection applies to more than just one person.

          • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

            Could you cite the case that takes the states out of the business of defining marriage?

            How about one case – a single case – since the passage of the 14th Amendment in which the Court has stated that multiple people must be treated the same as an individual? (A concept which could, actually, mean that if TWO people applied for a job together, they’d have to be considered collectively for a single position the same as ONE person would be – a bizarre notion that doesn’t even make any sense, but could follow if “number” was protected under the 14th).

            It’s fine to enunciate your fears and try to pass them off as reality, but unless you can back them up with specifics, it’s really just enunciating fears.

            So be specific and cite the language from specific cases that you are referring to and I’ll consider it.

            Barring that, I don’t see how what you’re saying corresponds with precedent.

          • fortjes

            All the recent court cases that have ruled that a state’s constitution defining a marriage as between a man and a woman as being unconstitutional due to the 14th amendment have taken the ability of the states to define marriage out of their hands. If you listen to the legal concerns coming out of Utah officials, believe me, the next big case will be one involving polygamy and will involve a member of the breakaway Mormon sect that lives in St. George or one of the surrounding communities. And it will be filed under the 14th amendment. Your view may be correct but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

          • http://www.lesbiansinmysoup.com/ Katy

            Of course – folks like you and me pretty much have to sit back and see what happens with these things.

            States really can define marriages themselves -minimum age, level of consanguinity, whether or not to recognize common law marriage.

            The thing is, in everything BUT same sex marriage, one state’s determination is going to be recognized by all other states. If Arkansas deems 10 year olds marry if they cohabitate for a week (it doesn’t), and two 11 year olds cohabitate in Arkansas and then move to Missouri, Missouri is going to recognize them as married even though Missouri’s own laws are completely different.

            So the definition thing has never been as clearcut as it seems, really.

            Like I said, I see the big hurdle as being the apparent inability of states to explain their interest in issuing licenses at all. What are they teaching their attorneys general?

            Anyway, sorry to go on for so long. Stay tuned, huh?

          • fortjes

            Your discussion is quite thought-provoking. It almost makes me think that the state should get totally out of the business of defining marriage, i.e., abolish the whole concept and let marriage remain only as a religious ceremony.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Seems to me the state MUST be involved because of the civil LEGAL concerns. I can see all this confusion leading eventually to “marriage” being a religious matter and the state doing “civil unions”. Let the religious organizations have the word “marriage” and religious leaders no longer have any official role in civil unions, such as being official legal signatories to the union. In other words, cut the church OUT of the legalities.

          • Linnea912

            Technically, in my own state of Minnesota, marriage IS legally a “civil union.” That’s the legal term for it. “Marriage” is widely recognized to be a religious/colloquial term. To those who still insist on arguing about this, I ask, “Where do you go to get your marriage certificate, the church or the courthouse?” (Answer: the courthouse.) I also ask, “Is a couple that has a ceremony performed by a justice of the peace any less ‘married’ than a couple who has their ceremony performed by a religious official?” (Answer: of course not.)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If you want to be peppered with scientific evidence that completely decimates your claim, I’d be happy to send you loads of links.

          • fortjes

            If you have repeatable scientific studies, please send me the links. All I am aware of are studies with limited numbers of test subjects whose conclusions have not be independently verified.

          • Andy

            Also, you have here a slippery slope fallacy. There is no evidence to suggest such things would follow (besides the point that polyamorous relationships are not necessarily evil) but even if there were, I’d be fine with it. If you aren’t, congrats, you’re helping hold society back in the dark ages.

          • fortjes

            You are fine if relationships are evil. Now that is the dark ages.

          • Andy

            “You are fine if relationships are evil. Now that is the dark ages.”

            What does that even mean?

          • James Walker

            aside from the under-aged thing you brought up, I fail to see why any of those options would necessarily be “bad”. why not polygamy? why not polyandry? why not group marriages? provided all who participate are consenting adults and there are adequate legal protections so no one finds themselves shut out and destitute, why not? let’s for once and for all get beyond this idea that “there is exactly one permissible model to follow”.

            follow that “one permissible model” in your church and in your life. stop expecting everyone else to do it your way.

          • tom dennison

            anthony, i have not said a word against homosexuality. not a word. i was surprised at the process of a bishop just ignoring the policies. i probably don’t know the way the UMC works but it seemed odd to me. what say ye to that issue anthony. have a nice day.

        • Bill Steffenhagen

          ****** “….the big guy disagrees and we chuck ‘em.” ********
          This one bishop has not “chucked” UMC laws on UMC gay issues. He ignored them, and has called for change and elimination of those laws. How you get “chucked” laws from this story is beyond me. No doubt that WILL happen, but this Bishop hasn’t accomplished that and he can’t unilaterally. But, as John Shore suggests, his actions have indeed sounded “the death knell” of UMC policy on this issue.

          Your comments are telling us more about you than about the Bishop’s actions. Stop reading into this story what you want to see. It is obvious that you don’t approve of gay marriage. Why don’t you just come out and say so instead of trying to make a stealth argument against it…..when there is NO rational argument to be made.

          • tom dennison

            sorry Bill. sometimes i speak a bit bluntly and use slang like chucked. it still seems to me that to ignore a law is about the same as chucking it. but maybe i’m wrong. i don’t “come out and say so” Bill because I did not want to comment on the LGBT issue itself. it was the process that surprised me. i was not being stealthy and secretive i just wanted to see if people thought there was something wrong with the process. now. sorry for being so prejudice as to read stuff into the story. i was just commenting on what it looks like to me. i thought that was allowed in a conversation. thanks for the chat. have a nice day.

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Sorry that I did a bit of misinterpreting YOU too. It all comes with the territory of communicating with only words on a screen sans eye contact, vocal inflections and body language. I have a Speech degree and certainly understand how that works and should be more careful in my reactions. Bottom line is, the Bishop did indeed “chuck” the UMC laws in the context of his own personal actions, but he did not “chuck” the overall UMC laws. Arrgghh. We were both correct in a way. You have a nice day too.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          If you were a pastor, and your child wanted you to marry them, wouldn’t you want to, even though the legalese of your church prevented it? Which matters more, your child or church rules?

          • Gene

            What if you’re not a pastor and your child wanted you to marry them? Wouldn’t you want to? Go on line, form your own church, claim you’re a pastor. As far as the state is concerned that is all it takes. (No joke.) Or why worry about any of those laws? Which matters more, your child or rules?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Actually, my husband married my youngest daughter to her long term boyfriend.. My child matters,infinitely more than any church rules. If she had been gay, and had wanted to marry, and it was legal in my state, I would have become a notary for her sake. It would have been a small price to pay for my child’s happiness. Even if it wasn’t legal, I would have happily performed a meaningful service for her.

          • Gene

            Your answer is as I expected and entirely consistent with your values. Wishing you peace.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Why thank you!

  • mona

    A good day, indeed….

  • Gene

    Bishop McLee has in effect deleted a section of the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline on his own authority, and dismissed the denomination’s lawmaking body, the General Conference, as no longer relevant to the New York Annual Conference which he oversees.

    • Lamont Cranston

      Excellent! If there are any other anti-Christian parts of the Book of Discipline I hope he throws those out too.

    • Bob

      Good for him!

    • Rayosun

      See my long response 7 days after this post of Gene’s.

  • redSWRanches

    I do believe Jesus said “Love one another” didn’t say- oops- just kidding! The Bishop made the right decision!!! Thank GOD!!!

  • Carol

    Thank you Bishop McLee….I believe I felt the ground shift…..I have even more determination to be VERY visible to the West Michigan Conference…two years ago, I was bound and gagged, last year I was being kicked around in a divorce (after coming out) but THIS year, I am ordained to perform marriages, and I would like to officiate over one (or more) on the steps of the meeting place of the Conference…I am not a UMC ordained pastor, and that is not a UMC church building, but they will have to witness the union of same sex couples – their commitment, their joy, and their love
    …at least if I have anything to say about it….

  • Amanda Burr

    Go Bishop! Go Bishop! Go Bishop! Go Bishop! Go Bishop! Thats me dancing that roundy dance thingy.

    • anakinmcfly

      Now we just have to hope that he doesn’t take that literally, because he needs to stay. :D

  • Rayosun

    Let me explain to those who aren’t familiar with our church why it is so screwed up over the homosexuality issue. The “United Methodist Church” came into existence when the Methodists of the North and South “kissed and made up” back in 1939.

    Big mistake! The Southerners had broken away because,as the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Church proclaimed in 1861: “African slavery is a wise, humane and righteous institution approved by God.” When we Northerners let the more numerous, still narrow-minded, bigotted Southerners back into the fold, we gave THEM the power to dictate in our democratic church the policies of our church at the NATIONAL level.

    THAT is why we liberal northerners who were on the right side of the slavery issue and who are now on the right side of the gay equality issue have to defy policies that only win at the national level in our church because the people who supported slavery and segregation who still hate gays outnumber us at “General Conferences” i.e. national legislative sessions. Congratulations for the leadership you are providing our church, Bishop McLee!

    Rev. Ray Dubuque, retired UMC clergy

    • Gene

      There might be regional preferences, but it is pure fiction to suggest that this is a north & south issue.

      • Rayosun

        If you want to argue that the south isn’t the only place where there are narrow-minded, unreformable bigots, that’s true. But in most places in the north, those people are outnumbered and OUTVOTED by moderates and liberals. Who can imagine a southern Methodist Bishop McLee?

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I can. I know a pastor in Kansas, who’d make a wonderful bishop. Technically a union state in the war of aggression, it was sharply divided between the two sides.

          It is in the north where pastors are publically being sanctioned, and where the change is focused. We here in the south are slow to change…agonizingly slow, when it comes to progressive social change. But there are those of us who are quietly working behind the scenes to prepare the way for when it finally breaks through. There’s more of us than is assumed.

          • Rayosun

            Allegro,

            I don’t know if you intended to make my point, but when I said “imagine” I didn’t mean it in the sense of dreaming of “a pastor in Kansas, who’d make a wonderful bishop”, I meant anticipating such an event ACTUALLY TAKING PLACE.
            And when you say “It is in the north where pastors are publically being sanctioned, and where the change is focused.” that’s my point, i. e. some of us in the North are no longer willing to tolerate the oppression of gays legislated by bodies in which the South and its allies rule by dint of NUMBERS, NOT moral superiority.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I think it will. Not yet, but eventually. I’d prefer soon, like next week, even better tomorrow. I do know that my town 35 miles north of a very conservative bible college, has been holding an annual PRIDE rally for several years, (the state capital has an even bigger one) and that a book called Out Loud, The Best of Rainbow Radio, http://hubcity.org/press/catalog/other/out-loud/out-loud/ was published in the same southern town.
            A little north,, the next state up, is a city that is home to at least 16 affirming congregations, a larger city the same state has even more. what’s happening isn’t big and flashy. There isn’t a lot of press, or attention, but its happening, and growing, and more and more are coming around.

        • Gene

          Rayosun, you say you’re retired UMC clergy, but I suggest that if you think that there are not whole congregations of people in the north that favor the present disciplinary language, then you need to get out more. I pastor in the North Central Jurisdiction, and I can tell you that while anecdotal evidence suggests among the clergy the sentiment is to change the language, among the laity that is NOT the majority view.

          • Rayosun

            Returning to my original point, I’m sure that if Methodists had a choice between a progressive, liberal Northern branch and a regressive, conservative Southern branch, there would be some congregations that would identify with the branch opposite to the one in which they are located. Of course there are EXCEPTIONS. What I am talking about is THE GENERAL RULE, like “men are GENERALLY taller than women”, but we all know some women who are taller than some men.

          • Gene

            Which is why I still object to your generalization. I don’t find it to IN GENERAL be true where I live, and I live in the north. So, I think you are working from too small of a survey sample.

  • Marilyn

    Christie that is a simplistic argument that avoids the fact that they agreed to specific beliefs when they were ordained…no storm troopers marched in and forced them to adhere to some alien belief. There are diverse views as to the morality and ethics of this topic. To say it is immoral and wrong is your right; for another to say such a ban is moral and right is their right. The underlying ethics of staying in a denomination when you no longer can uphold its beliefs and openly violate the rules is the issue.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Not necessarily. The Book of Disciple is not in a state of statis. It goes through an amendment process every four years. Several things have changed in that book including views on alcahol use, female clergy members and is currently more pro-choice than anti, as in the past. There have always been varying views on all these matters within the membership and the clergy. The BOD doesn’t expect people to lock-step in single file to anything found within.

      A pastor could have been ordained under rules that no longer apply, and in many areas, clergy and lay people have been actively campaigning for the rules to be changed in the BOD in regards to acceptance and full inclusion of the LGBT community. Much of what is in the BOD is legistlative, and procedural, not moral. Its purpose is to act as a guideline not a finality.

      That some in upper echelons are trying to make an issue of this, where others, including language that seems at odds, in regards to being anti-war, yet pro-military service, don’t cause a ripple.


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