Many United Methodists see injustice in church’s law on same-sex marriage

Friday,  September 27, 2013

The Methodist Same-Sex Marriage Controversy
The PBS program, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, devoted much of its September 20, 2013 broadcast to the controversy over the United Methodist Church’s policy on homosexuality, as many members of the clergy are challenging that policy.  At least four United Methodist ministers have had complaints filed against them and may face church trials for defying the church’s position on homosexuality— three for officiating at same-sex marriages and one because of her love for another woman and thus being in the category of “self-avowed practicing lesbian.”  (In 1972, these words were added to the denomination’s Book of Discipline: “”The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”  The Book of Discipline also says, “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.)  Watch the Religion and Ethics Newsweekly’s 8-minute video which provides an informative overview of what is happening among United Methodists.  The program begins with just a brief glimpse of a heart-touching procession that was part of a “churchquake” ceremony in one church that is challenging the denomination’s stance. The program also features pastors on the other side of the issue; they do not want the church to change the position found in the Book of Discipline. (You can read a transcript of the program in addition to—or instead of— watching the video.)

For related information, see these online articles:

“United Methodist high court to consider challenges to gay teachings”

“NY state pastor among Methodists defying church law”

“Elder accused of being a ‘practicing’ lesbian”

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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