I previously wrote about the Methodist Church finally taking a stand strongly opposing torture conducted by the U.S. Government, and writing both Bush and Cheney (both claim to be Methodist), and calling on them to end this behavior. But, then the Judicial Council had to issue a series of rulings slamming the door in the face of gay people.
I was proud they’d finally done something, but then late week before last, the Judicial Council announced several anti-gay rulings. First, they stripped a Lesbian Minister of her credentials (Decision 1027). This didn’t surprise me, although I disagree with the decision. Actually the Methodist Church Discipline has a relatively clear prohibition against homosexual pastors. The Appelate hearing body had reached for a legal technicality to try to keep this person, obviously pocessing the gifts and graces of a pastor, in the ministry. I expected their attempts to thwarted.
Of much greater concern was a ruling in a Virginia case. In this case, a minister had refused membership to a gay man, and admitted that his homosexuality was the only reason (Decision 1032). The Bishop in Virginia had suspended the Minister, but the Judicial Council fully restored him. I believe that is the biggest slap in the face.
So, if you know me, you know I’m not sitting still for this. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I contacted the Reconciling Ministries Network for information on how to have my church, Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in Tampa, FL, become a Reconciling Church, and will start to work on that. Given that God tends to open some doors, I got the info from them last week, and this very Sunday some key people I would need to support me in this came forward to ask me to teach a Sunday School class for a short series.
- I called the President of the Judicial Council, James W. Holsinger. I took three message over a week to get him to finally return the call, and then he was rather an arrogant ass who refused to defend the decision…it was obvious he had no real defense short of admitting its foundation in homophobia. If you’d like to talk to him, please feel free to contact him at 4705 Waterside Court, Lexington, KY 40513, phone/fax 859-224-8250. If you’d like to send an email to the entire council, send it to Rev. Keith Boyette, Secretary at email@example.com
I am developing the research of the cases they cited and the citations used by the Judicial Council in their ruling. I plan to send all of them a letter with a challenge to their ruling. Three members dissented, so I’m hoping, if a brief is basically prepared for them, they will be interested in moving to reconsider. They can do that.
I contacted Igniting Ministries of the United Methodist Church at (877) 281-6535. This is the group that came up with the "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" slogan currently being used by the Methodist Church. I suggested that corporately, we must remove the slogan from Methodist materials. I concurred that many churches in the denomination put this slogan into practice, and suggested they were welcome to use it, but that it was misleading (false-advertising) for the Methodist Church corporately, to use the slogan. I spoke with Jackie Vaughan.
The Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter on the subject. They stated that homosexuals are welcome in the Methodist Church. While the vote was unanimous, you can bet the only reason some of these antiquated jerks are concerned is that the ruling took a serious bite out of their authority.