Photo Courtesy of Andy Oliver
Today I have the privilege of featuring a guest post from the amazingly talented Artie Van Why, a current member of the United Methodist Church who is choosing to parts ways with a church to which he has been loyal. A bit about Artie from his Website... following Asbury College in KY, Artie moved to New York City. His stage performances include Jesus in 'Godspell' and Snoopy in 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'. In June of 2001, his office moved across the street from the World Trade Center. He reported to work as usual on the morning of September 11th. Artie began writing about his experience on 9/11 and the weeks that followed. Artie wrote and produced a staged reading in New York City of a play called 'That Day in September'. The reading made its debut to a sold-out crowd and was presented in many other venues. Artie now lives in Lancaster County, PA. In June 2006, Artie self-published the book version of That Day in September. Artie speaks publicly whenever given the opportunity, and his script is available for production.
By Artie Van Why
I was raised a Methodist and have been a loyal member of my current UM church, but I am leaving the denomination. I am leaving because I’m gay and I’ve finally had enough of the denomination’s pretense of welcoming the gay community.
It’s time someone called the denomination on its blatant doublespeak, so I will gladly step up to the plate.
“Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” is the denomination’s seemingly ingenuous welcoming catch phrase. However, when it comes to the gay community the denomination's heart, mind and door is only open to us if we play by their rules.
The “rule book” for the denomination is its Book of Discipline (which includes, among other things, the church’s doctrine, theology and social principals). In the Book’s section on homosexuality it says that “all persons are individuals of sacred worth” (which, I would assume, includes gay individuals). Even so, it appears a gay person’s sacred worth really isn’t worth that much.
We are welcome to sit in the pews of UM churches. We just aren’t allowed to preach from their pulpits. Well, we can; but only if we don’t acknowledge or, as the Book of Discipline puts it, “self-avow” that we are “practicing” our homosexuality.
I bristle at the misuse of that word in referring to gay people. When do you ever hear anything about heterosexuals practicing their straightness?
I wish the denomination would just come out and say what they really mean. They don’t want gay people having sex.