United Methodist Church court okays homosexual minister
Here's what the United Methodist Church, America's third-largest Christian body (after Roman Catholicism and the Southern Baptist Convention) says about homosexuality and the clergy, according to its Book of Discipline:
While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. Since the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.
Ah, but the United Methodist Church has crafty ministers. And at the church trial of self-avowed practicing homosexual minister Karen Dammann, her defenders said unto the jury, Yea, hath the United Methodist Church said, homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching?
Oh, it's all so confusing! Or so said Dammann's defenders and The Washington Post:
On one hand, the church's Book of Discipline says that because "the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be accepted as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve" as pastors. On the other hand, it also says that sexuality is "God's good gift to all persons," that homosexuals "are individuals of sacred worth," that "God's grace is available to all," and that "certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons."
For the last 2,000 years, Christians have taught that those concepts are not contradictory, though there has been disagreement over what human rights ...1