Evangelical Group Plans for a 'New Day' in UMC



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One of these items is not like the others

At the conclusion, the four statements of purpose includes three items most persons, and I would infer, most Christians and most United Methodists, would agree upon, and one where we don't agree. The first, second, and fourth items are agreeable via consensus. The third item is an effort at exclusion which is not congruent with the other three, included for no other specific purpose than to continue institutional bigotry. The language is archaic and suggests 99.99+ percent of heterosexual couples married in UMC churches are unworthy. It harkens back to a time in the vague past when women were property being transferred from one owner, the father to another, the husband, in a marriage.

Our beloved Founding Mother Abigail Adams famously remarked "We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions which correspond to them." That is certainly the dynamic at play here. Once again another paper organization is being set up to promulgate hatred while couching it in honor guard phrases. It is no different from the South's forming "White Citizens Councils" when the Ku Klux Klan lost respectability, and then changing that to "Councils of Conservative Citizens," all of which advocated the Apartheid State in the South although in the last two with a wink and a nod.

It seems odd that so much energy is being used to fight against full inclusion of our LGBT Brothers and Sisters, but if there is a method to the madness, it's to be found in the fact full equality of men and women is being opposed and antigay prejudice is used to justify it. A woman who is LBT is not under the thumb of a man and thus threatening to those who believe that is where she belongs. Her freedom is a beacon to heterosexual women that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Thus, yes, we ordain female clergy, but relegate them to aging congregations in inner cities and exurbia, while it the men who are placed in leadership in the burgeoning affluent parishes and prestigious academia. These so-called "traditionalists" imprison women by putting them on pedestals, while other women suffer. True, the bogeymen of our extremist caucuses are most often gay men, as they regard lesbians as unworthy of their attention, but that's another tactic in play. Don't acknowledge that which you cannot credibly oppose. What we are seeing both in the body politic and the culture wars are efforts at rhetoric toward what Ross Douthat called the terms of the surrender of the Right. Douthat and others like him hoped state efforts toward "religious freedom" legislation as enacted in North Carolina and Mississippi, yet blocked in Indiana, Arkansas, and elsewhere, would provide them temporary relief from the currents of time. Instead they have only brought dishonor and ridicule on their proponents, as this latest effort certainly will as well.

George Nixon Shuler more than 5 years ago