The Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church ruled this weekend that church law states the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching" and a "chargeable offense" for Methodist ministers. The declaration runs counter to a March trial verdict that said a practicing homosexual minister was not guilty of practices contrary to church teachings.

The UMC's quadrennial General Conference is the stage for the latest denominational showdown over homosexuality. After admitting to being in a homosexual relationship, Karen Dammann was acquitted by a UMC court of the charge of a lifestyle conflicting with Christian teachings. The jury said, "We searched the [Book of] Discipline and did not find a declaration that 'the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching'."

The Book of Discipline says, "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."

Responding to a request from Arkansas delegate Fred H. Haustein, the Judicial Council said that the practice of homosexuality actually is "incompatible with Christian teaching," and it will now review Karen Dammann's acquittal. A statement is expected before the General Conference ends this week.

"Delegates have consistently voted by large margins to reject proposals more accepting of openly gay clergy," the Associated Press says. However, conservatives have had a hard time encouraging the church to enforce its rules. Scott N. Field, coordinator for a coalition of conservative and evangelical Methodist groups, said the ruling "does not end the debate [over homosexuality] because ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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