30 April 2008

Disappointing news from UMC General Conference

Bear with me on the technical procedural language here. This afternoon, the quadrennial General Conference of the United Methodist Church voted to adopt the alternate minority report from the Church & Society 2 Committee regarding Paragraph 161G of the Book of Discipline. In short, what this means is that the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline retains the language that calls the practice of homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching". The vote was 55% to 45%.

The alternative report (which was the majority coming out of Committee) would have changed the language of that Paragraph to say that faithful United Methodists have genuine disagreements about this issue, and that the Church would continue to seek faithful responses and insights, and would have deleted that language about being incompatible with Christian teaching. Because the minority report was adopted, the majority was not voted on.

The newly adopted language also removes some of the prior language that recognized our "limited understanding" of the "complex gift" of sexuality. It also added the words "monogamous, heterosexual" to the marriage covenant.

I'm sure others will have more studied commentary on this in the days to come, but my take on it is that the Conference has voted to adopt a statement on human sexuality that is at least as repressive, if not more so, than the prior statement. The alternative would have been to say that faithful Christians agree to disagree. 

Count me disappointed. 

No comments: