Jump directly to the content

Methodists Defeat Gay-related Membership Policy

The amendments could have furthered the creation of a new U.S.-only governing body.

United Methodists have defeated amendments that would have made church membership open to all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and furthered the creation of a new, U.S.-only governing body, according to the denomination's news service.

Delegates at the United Methodist Church's General Conference last year approved the sexual orientation amendment, as well as several others that would have changed how the international church is governed. But the amendments failed to gain support from two-thirds of the denomination's annual conferences, as required by church law. The conferences voted in May and June.

Twenty-seven of the 44 regional conferences that reported voting results rejected the amendment that would have made membership in local churches open to "all persons, upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, and relationship in Jesus Christ," according to United Methodist

News Service.

The amendment followed a controversial case in 2005 in which a Virginia clergyman denied membership to a gay man who would not agree to change his sexuality. The UMC's high court later backed the pastor's decision.

The complicated amendments to church polity in the UMC, which counts 8 million members in the U.S. and about 3.5 million more in Asia, Africa and Europe, was seen by some as a way to make it easier for Americans to pass pro-gay resolutions.

"It is only thanks to the African and other international delegates that United Methodism has upheld biblical standards about homosexuality," Mark Tooley, a Methodist and president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, warned in April.

"Liberals increasingly resent the growing African influence in our church and know they cannot win when the African churches are growing and the U.S. church declines, unless they can at least partially separate the U.S. church from the African churches," he wrote in lobbying against the amendments.

Advocates for the changes say it would have allowed local churches to be more responsive to cultural contexts without interference from a large, churchwide bureaucracy.

Related Topics:None
Posted:July 30, 2009 at 2:46PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Meriam Ibrahim Finally Leaves Sudan, Meets Pope Francis
Christian mother once sentenced to death for her faith now bound for United States with her family.
Mosul's Last Christians Flee Iraq's Hoped-For Christian Stronghold
(UPDATED) Historic community comes to 'a real end' after ISIS ultimatum tells Christians to convert, pay tax, or die.
China May Free Gao Zhisheng, Christian lawyer, on Aug. 7
More than 151,000 signed petition for his release.
New Movies to Highlight Friendship Between Creators of Narnia and Middle Earth
As Hollywood works its way through dramatizing the fantasy novels, several hope to tell a more historical tale of real-world friendship.
Christianity Today
Methodists Defeat Gay-related Membership Policy