Devon Park United Methodist's sign supporting the amendment on election day, as the church doubled as a polling place for that neighborhood.

The sign outside the polling station at Devon Park United Methodist Church in Wilmington, N.C., exemplified this state’s struggle with a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in May 2012. Religion News Service photo by Amanda Greene

(RNS) Will the United Methodist Church soon have to drop the “United” part of its name?

A group of 80 pastors is suggesting that the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination is facing an imminent split because of an inability to resolve long-standing theological disputes about sexuality and church doctrine.

But more than lamenting the current divisions, the pastors indicated there is little reason to think reconciliation — or even peaceful coexistence — could be found. Like a couple heading to divorce court, the pastors cited “irreconcilable differences” that can’t be mended.

“We can no longer talk about schism as something that might happen in the future. Schism has already taken place in our connection,” said the Rev. Maxie Dunnam, a retired president of evangelical Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, who joined the statement.

It’s a marked shift in tone from 10 years ago, when conservatives rejected a proposal for an “amicable separation” as premature. “I don’t want us to talk about separation,” Dunnam said after the church’s 2004 assembly, before the same-sex marriage issue swept the nation. “That’s not a game where our energy needs to be focused.” 

As 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex civil marriage, the debate has consumed America’s mainline denominations, with the outcome ranging from bitter divisions to agree-to-disagree compromises.

The issue is especially heightened within Methodism, where holiness — the beliefs and practices toward Christian purity — is foundational in its theology. And as Methodist membership plateaus at home and grows in parts of Africa, overseas delegates have helped hold the line against growing pressure to liberalize church policy on gay clergy and same-sex marriage.

Amid a wave of open defiance over rules that prevent pastors from presiding at same-sex marriages, and a host of high-profile church trials that have largely upheld church policy, some UMC pastors say the 11.8 million-member church has reached an impasse. Many feel that the sexuality debates simply touch on larger issues of how Methodists understand Scripture and how leaders uphold church teaching.

Frank Schaefer, a former Pennsylvania pastor, was found guilty of violating church law when he officiated at his son’s 2007 wedding, though his appeal will be heard on June 20. Schaefer was told he could keep his clergy credentials if he recanted his support of gay marriage, but he refused.

The tipping point for many conservatives came, however, after Bishop Martin D. McLee of New York announced in March he would drop a case against a retired seminary dean who officiated at his gay son’s 2012 wedding and called for an end to church trials for clergy who violate the denomination’s law on ministering to gays.

The pastors saw McLee’s move as failing to uphold agreed-upon church teaching. He should have gone through proper means of changing the church’s stance on sexuality, they say, rather than declining to uphold the church’s Book of Discipline, or constitution.

“Tensions are reaching a point where it’s become a destructive scenario,” the Rev. Larry Baird, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Island, N.Y., said in an interview. He noted that leaving the denomination is not the group’s first option. “We’re hoping there’s a win-win way out for those in profound disagreement.”

Hailing from the UMC’s five jurisdictions, the group of 80 pastors and theologians released a statement Thursday (May 22) outlining the crisis they see emerging within the UMC. They pointed to pastors who violated the Book of Discipline, a lack of subsequent punishment, a crisis over the authority of Scripture and differences in how leaders are teaching the practice of holiness.

Traditionalists believe the Scriptures are clear in prohibiting same-sex relations, while progressives see full inclusion as a matter of God’s love and justice, they note in the release.

Most recently, the UMC decided to expand benefits of its agencies’ employees to include same-sex spouses who live in states that allow same-sex marriage, even though same-sex partners can’t get married within the UMC.

“Talk of a ‘middle-way’ or of ‘agreeing to disagree’ is comforting and sounds Christ-like,” the statement states. “However, such language only denies the reality we need to admit. Neither side will find ‘agreeing to disagree’ acceptable.”

Other mainline denominations have already gone through many variations on same-sex ordination and marriage, moving more quickly on the issue than the UMC, which has a global, more conservative membership; about one-third of the church’s members are found in Africa, Asia or Europe.

“Can we not learn from the pain that other mainline denominations have experienced and find a way forward that honors (Methodism founder John) Wesley’s rule that we do no harm?” the statement says. “A way where there are no winners and losers, but simply brothers and sisters who part ways amicably, able to wish each other well?”

The UMC declined to provide an official response.

One of the biggest challenges will be whether the UMC can find a way to remain the same home to people who hold radically different views. Delegates to the Methodists’ quadrennial General Conferences have resisted one option embraced by the Presbyterian Church (USA) that essentially allows regional bodies to set their own ordination standards.

For at least two decades, the UMC has strived to find ways to maintain the status quo without alienating either traditionalists or liberals. Despite its insistence on unified rules and standards, the church is nonetheless a diverse theological tent that counts everyone from former President George W. Bush to Hillary Clinton as members.

“The UMC is a pluralistic church with radically different points of views,” said William Abraham, a professor of Wesley studies at Southern Methodist University. “It shows how you can live with differences until it begins to bite into the practices of the local church.”

KRE/MG END BAILEY

183 Comments

  1. How is sexuality theological in nature that they could have theological disputes over sexuality?

    It seems the root of the problem is there isn’t enough theology and a lot of making mountains out of molehills.

  2. What would be so bad about splitting?

    That is what forming a sect us all about. Instead of trying to broach obviously irreconcilable positions alienating obvious “camps”, just split up on those lines. Like marriages, when civility us no longer an option, divorce us the humane solution.

    • I’d rather be a Muslim than a Methodist. Muslims know what they believe, Methodists do not.

      Methodists used to be Christians, a long time ago, but the headlines today are dominated by sicko Methodist ministers who openly disobey Methodist Church’s own policies (and encourage others to do so) with impunity.

      • Well you talk like the Taliban and there are plenty of opportunities for a one to see what it is like to have a government run by “the word of God”.

        Maybe its a good fit for you.

        Just get used to saying, “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”

        Salaam Aleikem :)

      • I appreciate your penchant for following the rules, but if you only look at the surface and follow the letter, how can you ever learn to follow the spirit of the law. Sometimes following the spirit requires breaking the letter. When one does that, one takes risks and is accused of “rationalizing away the truth” “having their conscience seared with a hot iron” being a heretic and all the rest. The thing is, following the spirit of the law is what Jesus modeled for his disciples.

      • Your grandious comment that statesyou would rather be a Muslim than a Methodist is so very offensive. Basically, being a Methodist means that you are a Christian…. Meaning you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Being a Muslim means you believe Jesus to be a man that was a prophet. Ask yourself now whom you choose to worship and make your decision. You either worship Jesus as the son of God or you denounce Jesus as the son of God.

      • Doc Anthony-

        You are misinformed. You will find a host of very conservative, Christ-centered, members of the UMC spread across the globe, all dedicated to sharing the His gospel.

        Additionally, I would encourage you to continue your research of Islam. I suspect that if your assessment of the Muslim faith was correct we would not have terrorist attacks from extremists.

        Oh. Since I am UM and an expert in terrorism with both experience and several advanced degrees on the subject, I would suspect that I know.

        We still love you, brother.

        A Real Doc

      • The last time someone spent a serious effort to unite Christian sects it was called the 30 Years War. One of the most destructive conflicts in European history before WWI.

    • What is sad is that it breaks the heart of God, Jesus prayed that we may all be one as He and the Father are one and as we are one with all our brothers and sisters. Schism is as much a sin as any other. It is calling our brother a heretic and that from either side that desires it.

  3. Once you abandon Scripture, you abandon God. While God desires all the world to attain to repentance, He is more concerned about the QUALITY of his worshippers. Those who are OBEDIENT to His word. If you do not put faith in the scriptures, just leave your church. Why continue to try to corrupt bible teachings? Oh yea… Thats right, false “christians” do not have God’s spirit. They are simply agents of satan trying to twist God’s word.

    • Typical fundie attitude.

      It it isn’t in line with what their preachers say, “its not really Christianity”. I can definitely see how this appeals to people with delusions of grandeur. It must feel great to be God’s self-appointed arbiter and sole interpreter of his word.

      No appreciation for differences of opinion.

      Jay, Rob, the next time you guys sputter on about religious freedom, get bent. You guys have no idea what the words mean (outside of whatever self-serving attacks you want to mount on others)

      • Larry

        how is giving the world view everlasting .. a danger to your religious
        freedom that rejects much of what God says in his word..

        I am not into its your decision Theology.. I Also would never want you to think your under compulsion to believe in Jesus as your savior from sin..

        • CarrotCakeMan

          Get real, rob–and Jay, you are both going against Jesus’s good example. Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. Many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. In the original Greek, the word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

          Yes, I know that anti-gay sects reject that fact, but most Americans aren’t members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, are we?

          • You only see what you want to see despite millennia of scholarly interpretation and words plain as day. The only thing that Jesus affirmed regarding marriage is that its man and woman.

            So sad how blind you are.

          • You don’t know Greek. The word pais means boy and also means slave. The same arises with the Latin word, puer. It is also analogous to the use of “boy” in the American Ante bellum South towards slaves. The Scripture passages you cute can not mean what you think they mean only by a massive twisting of what us there with some argumentum ex silentio, which is weak.

            The ancient Greeks did practice some pederasty, but its acceptance and condemnation differed greatly by region and time. Just because some of the ancient Greeks used the word pais to refer to a young sexual lover (homosexual relations were seldom between men of the same age; such relations existed between older men and teenage boys, something that would no doubt be criminal today), does not mean that because the Gospels are written in Greek the word pais has the same definition as in one part of Greece a few hundred years earlier.

          • He is not interested in actual truth or the facts. He is just desperately hoping that people will just accept his drivel without looking into themselves.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Chris, you’re entitled to believe those false translations, but all other Americans are entitled to know the facts.

          • I speak Greek, modern and ancient, carrotcakeman. I don’t need translations. I know what I’m talking about. What are your credentials?

          • Larry Collins

            That’s an errant extrapolation. Jesus never refused to minister to those in need. But neither did He condone sin. He said He came to seek and save the lost. He called people to repentance. Grace is not an excuse to sin as Paul said. Jesus was no more condoning homosexuality when he healed the slave, IF indeed that was their relationship, than He was condoning adultery when he refused to stone the adulteress. Jesus even confirmed marriage as that between a man and a woman by notably attending a wedding and when He spoke to the Pharisees about marriage “from the beginning.” NOTHING in either Testament confirms or condones homosexuality, but rather the opposite. To say otherwise is intellectual and scriptural dishonesty.

          • @Chris: His credentials are that he has cut and pasted John Boswell probably a thousand-plus times without ever understanding a word of it.

          • jcking3022@gmail.com

            The only problem with your definition of the word pais from the Greek is that one must commit the exegetical sin of isogesis to come to your conclusion that this is a same sex relationship. It is well documented both biblically as well as historically that some Greeks became so attached to or fond of a particular slave or slaves that they chose to make them members of the household. This doesn’t seem to be a part of your “critical thinking.” To isogete the scriptures is to “read into” a passage or verse the context we want to hear or see rather that to exegete same; which means to derive the correct meaning in a particular context. The only way a true and honest scholar of God’s word could come to the conclusion that this was definitively a same sex union is by desperate means.

          • @jcking3022

            Sounds like you are not really taking the ideas to their logical conclusion. Even in slavery in modern times (16th-19th centuries), concubinage, sexual element to chattel servitude was an inevitable result of “favored slaves”.

            Also a Centurion would not have a “household”. They were not permitted to form one or get married. Slaves of soldiers were frequently kept as “companions” in every sense of the word. Concubines being encouraged in the Roman Army as a way to prevent desertion.

            I think what you have among the Christian apologists is a case of wishful thinking and a lack of historical background.

          • It is you who needs more historical background. There was an entire body of Roman law that dealt with the “households” that soldiers and centurions formed out of defacto marriages during their terms of service with women both slave and free, and the different avenues available for legitimation of those unions and any resulting children after the term was up. What would have been far more likely and commonplace than the Carrot’s notion about the centurion’s “pais,” as well as consistent with the NT’s other uses of the same word, is that the “pais” was both the centurion’s son and slave.

          • De facto marriage is not marriage at all. It has no legal bearing. Hence the word “de facto”. Romans took the rights of marriage very seriously. Marriage was the joining of families and estates. Slaves were not allowed to be married either. A concubine was never considered part of a Roman family, nor their children.

            Children born out of wedlock were always considered illegitimate in the eyes of the law. It was a total prohibition on Roman soldiers for marrying for about 2 centuries. Soldiers had to be discharged before they could be legally married and the children of their unions recognized.

            A “pais” of a centurion would not likely be a consensual mate and more likely be a concubine in servitude. Certainly not the PG rated interpretation you and the others are trying to foist.

          • “Soldiers had to be discharged before they could be legally married and the children of their unions recognized.”

            Yes, pretty much what I just said. You might find The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13 B.C.-A.D. 235): Law and Family in the Imperial Army, by Sara Elise Phang, rather interesting. If you insist on dabbling in propaganda, at least supplement it with actual history.

            But just like the carrot, you’re wandering off into silliness with regard to the word “pais.” It is a relatively simple word meaning child, first and foremost, and servant secondarily. Jesus addressed Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter as “pais,” and I think it’s safe to assume she was no one’s “same-sex lover.” Both Jesus and his ancestor David were called “pais” of God…and we need not get into the absurdity of applying Carrot’s translation there, either. This whole thing is exactly the same as if someone today left a writing calling his lover his “boy” and then some idiot 2000 years in the future concluded that the word “boy” must mean a same-sex lover.

            Don’t pursue foolishness in your eagerness to oppose traditional christian views on this subject. Even you ought to be able to perceive the emptiness of this particular argument.

          • “You might find The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13 B.C.-A.D. 235): Law and Family in the Imperial Army, by Sara Elise Phang, rather interesting. ”

            What is interesting is people making CCM’s arguments are using the same source as your cite.
            http://www.gaychristian101.com/Roman-Marriage-Ban.html

            Considering Roman soldiers did not have legitimate recognized families, your self-serving interpretation does not seem remotely plausible. We are talking about what is a concubine. Anything beyond that appears to be wishful thinking. Roman soldiers were not allowed to keep families either. So it can’t be sanely considered as a son or just a domestic servant of some type.

            His “boy” would almost certainty be an adult concubine or catamite. Soldiers didn’t exactly keep slaves to tidy the tent and do their laundry. They were paid mostly in pittance wages and whatever they could steal from the countryside. The marriage ban encouraged concubinage as a way for soldiers to keep sane.

            In general, I don’t take your assertions concerning history at face value. You rely far too much on Christian apologist propaganda.

          • Thank you for my morning laugh — calling me a propagandist while citing a propaganda website! You do realize, don’t you, that you have EXCLUSIVELY cited propaganda sites and blogs while I have exclusively cited actual history books?

            But I’m not surprised that your site would reference Phang. Propagandists take bits of material from legitimate works while counting on people like you not checking out the entire picture. To listen to unfortunates like the Carrot one would think that centurions were living in tents with the rank and file and having exclusively homosexual sex, but this is a wildly distorted caricature. Numerous “military wills” survive, which show a far more mundane pattern of de facto military family formation. Many Roman soldiers, let alone centurions, left wills which manumitted their slave women and left inheritances to them and to their children by those women. In fact, here a slave woman was in a much safer position from an inheritance standpoint, as a freeborn woman living as a military concubine could legally be prevented from receiving a legacy on grounds of being “disreputable” while this would never be counted against a slave woman: “A man could also take as a concubine his own freedwoman, sua liberta, a relationship which was considered honorable and thus was not prosecuted for stuprum [adultery]. Ulpian says that (D.25.7.1 .pr) ‘honestius sit patrono libertum concubium quam mater familias habere,’ ‘it is more honorable for a patron to have his freedwoman as concubine rather than a wife.’ As a concubine, the sua liberta is viewed almost as a wife; she may have the honorable status of a matron, quae en concubiatum se dando matronae nomen non amisit.'” –Phang, p. 209-210. A centurion or principalis was certainly a respectable individual in lower-class provincial society; probably his “wife” was regarded as materfamilias regardless of her actual legal status.” — Phang, p. 227.

            What I still wonder about, Larry, is why you feel compelled to defend such a patently foolish position as the Carrot’s??? Lining up behind this nonsense strengthens the atheist position about as much as defending Harold Camping’s nonsense would strengthen the Christian position–if anything, a positive for the opposition. Pick your battles, my friend.

          • Of course if you referenced it, it is correct but if someone else did it, its out of context. The ego on you is tremendous. It usually makes rational conversations pretty much impossible.

            “Propagandists take bits of material from legitimate works while counting on people like you not checking out the entire picture.”

            Yes, you do that constantly on many subjects. Half the times I stop bothering because you are far too much in the “apologist bubble” to bother explaining things which are plain as day in objective recognized sources.

            Your post reeks of a cut and paste job. Long book cites without an online link are never considered credible on their face in an online discussion. Too many people of ill repute do the same thing. That is just a matter online discussion etiquette. Feel free to moan about it. I don’t care. It just makes you look whiny and mendacious.

            Besides, your quotes are very much out of context (as you accuse others of being). The entire book is available online.
            http://books.google.com/books?id=jyFdUxqYZ48C&pg=PA84&lpg=PA84&dq=The+Marriage+of+Roman+Soldiers+Sara+Elise+Phang+p.+227&source=bl&ots=96VtJ7EG6N&sig=QBTiSWcVcYPPXe-C5J27wzID5WQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_5eHU7DBMNLNsQTwi4DgAQ&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=The%20Marriage%20of%20Roman%20Soldiers%20Sara%20Elise%20Phang%20p.%20227&f=false

          • Yay for Larry–finally learned how to use google books. Now try actually READING it and you might learn something Nothing I wrote is cut and pasted except the specifially cited quotes, which were neither particularly long nor taken out of context in any way. Quote-mining is for you and your gang, except that you’ve yet to use any “objective recognized sources.”

            The reason I don’t do a lot of links unless specifically asked is that most people (like you) don’t bother reading them. I never refuse an honest request for information from someone who is genuinely interested in the subject, but whining about cites is more often the device of the ignorant who are in over their heads and simply want to attack a point without having to deal with its substance.

            You still haven’t answered my question. Being an atheist and presumably having no dog in the fight, why do you feel it necessary to defend a patently foolish argument about the NT like Carrot’s?

          • Prgo and Jere, you are showing such ugly behavior. Your childish taunts are not Christ- like at all. I could never imagine our Lord ridiculing someone as you have done here. I am not going to judge whether anyone that chooses to break off. We will always worship according to our belief system…..right or wrong.

          • I couldn’t find your word in my Greek dictionary. I will have to look further.

    • No person, no Christian religion is totally obedient to the Bible. All are guilty of picking and choosing the parts they want to fit their belief or dogma. I say that without any reservation or exceptions. Tell me what religion you are and I will tell you some part of the Bible you don’t follow.
      I suppose the theological question is; does God still speak to us? If He does then why do many idolize the Bible as the sole source of God’s word?

      • cken,

        there are no checks and balances in religion. Anybody can claim anything they want. The Bible stands as the answer sheet to the big questions about the christian god and Jesus.

        The Bible is nonsense to me. But when someone makes a God claim it is the only resource – otherwise they are just making up stuff, as they often will do anyway.

        • Pretty much everything in it which makes it impossible to carry on a normal existence in modern society. Its a long list. Every Christian who isn’t living in a cave neglect those parts.

    • Actually, what you mean is “Once you abandon Scripture [the way I interpret it], you abandon God.” And, “If you do not put faith in the scriptures [the way I interpret it], just leave your church.” And, of course, disagreeing with you about the interpretation of Scripture is to “continue to try to corrupt bible teachings” and to be “agents of satan trying to twist God’s word.” Just a tad grandiose, don’t you think? And just a tad lacking in humility, don’t you think?

      • Welcome to Fundamentalist Christianity. To them, there is only one interpretation of the Bible and all others “aren’t doing it right”.

        Also everyone else is merely a “cafeteria Christian” picking whatever Bible passages they want to follow. Never mind they are doing the same, usually omitting any Biblical charges involving treating other people with respect and not harming others.

        The whole point of being a Fundamentalist is the hubris one gets by acting as God’s sole voice in the world and telling others they aren’t up to their “rigorous” standards. A mute fundamentalist is one missing their index finger. Unless they can point it at people and admonish others, they can’t communicate.

        • What everyone needs to understand is that narrow, mean-spirited conservative Methodisit-leaning political Tea Baggers are mainly the leaders in trying to split the United Methodist Church at this time.. These racially motivated and other nutcase Xtians & hate-filled fundamentals come along every hundred years or so with another split. When the money runs thin and the membership declines, Methodists usually have opted for a few more years of sweet, forced communion; then another schism like cleansing the sect of gays and lesbians; then more repentance and renewal, etc. etc. From John Wesley on ’til now, it’s seems a never-ending cycle. I doubt there’s any real “religion” in most of it. Are there any United Methodist Churches anywhere in the southern US where gay persons find real acceptance. I doubt it. Thus a new schism may be a blessing…go figure!

    • Couldn’t agree more, Jay. America started down the tubes when we outlawed the god-given right to own slaves and stone adulterers. And what’s with these women who have the gall to speak up in church and teach men–plainly unbiblical.

    • Jay, I beg to disagree. Jesus “died for us while we were yet sinners.” Jesus life was given for all not a chosen few. If you believe you that only a chosen few are saved you have left the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition already and become a Calvinist. There is nothing wrong with that I grew up in a Calvinist tradition and chose to become W-A. The heart of God breaks for all persons every day.

  4. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

    WARNS THE UNREPENTANT SINNER THAT WILL FUL AND WANTON AND KEPT SIN

    DESTROYS FAITH IN THE FORGIVNESS JESUS WON FOR ALL.

    ITS GODS LAW THAT NEEDS TO BE APPYED TO THE UNREPENTANT

    SO THE GOSPEL OF JESUS FORGIVNESS WILL BECOME SWEET FREEDOM TO THE EARS AGAIN
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      The epithet “homosexuals” wasn’t even coined until 1870–and you say Paul used that term, rob? Can you see why no one believes anti-gays now?

      • Gay marriage and relationships existed in Ancient Rome. Paul knew exactly what he was talking about. It’s no wonder that no one takes pro homosexual Christians seriously.

        • No it didn’t. The Romans knew such relationships existed but they were never given recognition under Roman law. Can you cite one example using the Institutes of Gaius or any of the subsequent codifications of Roman Law? Bet you can’t.

          • Do a smile search for gay marriage In The ancient world.

            Paul knew exactly what he was saying.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Once again, Chris, if you can’t accept the facts, you’re entitled to believe the anti-gay propaganda you post here, but no student of history will be fooled.

          • So your propaganda are facts? Cite me a source from Roman law that legitimizes gay marriage, preferably in The original Latin.

            Even if there were evidence of this carrotcakeman (and there isnt) it is not germane to the conversation as we are talking about Christian marriage, not Roman marriage.

          • Other than Emperor Nero marrying his male lover. That was an outlier even among Romans. Unions were common and socially acceptable. But marriage was not.

            As a default it is safe to assume Frank is full of it.

        • I guess you’re straight, Shawnie5. You display all the prejudice of someone who is convinced that anyone who is not exactly like them, does not think exactly like them, has to be wrong, even “sinful.” All that proves is a lack of knowledge and understanding. That’s a nice way of saying “ignorance.”

          • What does “prejudice” have to do with the meaning of Koine Greek, and all the corroborating writings from the time which throw light upon how first-century Jews such as Jesus and Paul understood the scriptural position regarding same-sex relations?

            From a historical standpoint, there is really not much ambiguity about this issue — and if pointing this out makes me a big old meanie then I might suggest you stick to more bland and comfortable subject matter.

          • Because your knowledge and understanding on the subject appears self-serving and dubious in nature.

            Saying “its not me, but God telling me to hate them” sounds like a load of bull no matter who says it or how they bluff trying sound like a reasonable statement.

          • It doesn’t “serve” me in any manner at all. And it has nothing to do with hate. All of that is mere projection that serves only to deflect focus off the facts at issue.

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Well, of course your lies are meant to serve your anti-gay agenda, Shawnie.

        • Shawnie5: The error is in not understanding that innumerable human scribes–scribblers–who “copied” numerously descended writings, making numerous errors, changing them numerously to suit their purpose and calling them THE book, or books.

          Those scribes were responsible for the much later generations of not-original biblical writings you very erroneously consider as dictated sentence by sentence, word by word, letter by letter by a mythological god. We have no idea who the original writers were or the innumerable scribes who copied such writings. We have no idea of the original writings.

          We get off the hook of our ignorance by “attributing” all the good and evil of such numerously descended writings to a supernatural god. It appears that only a supernatural god could be of such a kind to contain all that good and all that evil.

          We have no idea what any “original” scriptures may have contained. What you read now is uncountable generations removed from anything possibly considered original. We now have a responsibility to read and consider such writings in that light, human, not godly.

          No one who eventually determined any writings to the canon ever saw anything but the much-descended numerously changed generations of any originals. They had no idea what the originals were or who the authors were. They never saw the originals or the many generations of “scribblings” that existed of those presumed originals. They decided to include only what they read and copied numerous generations later in their eventual canon as the “word of God.”

          It is the “word of humans.” Take what “inspiration” you wish or might from the Jewish or Christian bibles. There are absolutely no grounds for attributing any inspiration or any authorship to a metaphysical god. Such ancient human writings of imaginings are what we call myth.

          Myth must be understood before any attempt is made to ascribe responsibility for such human writings to that which is in some way above, beyond, or before humans and their writings. In short, the bible is man-made. Don’t blame its uncertain, contradictory results of good and evil on any god.

          • Larry Collins

            Unfortunately the Dead Sea Scrolls have proven that those copyists were quite meticulous. No significant changes have been found in those copies from the 1st C and the Bible we read today. Apparently those handling the Word of God did so carefully and skillfully. Something many current Christians do NOT – hence our current problems.

          • To Larry C’s quite accurate statement about the OT I would add that nobody “decided” upon any canon of NT scripture. The NT writings were already complete and in wide circulation by the turn of the first century AD, which is when we begin to see them be quoted in the writings of others, and the canon of the NT was already mostly set via tradition fifty years later.at the very latest. Hardly “uncountable generations.” Only about two or three, actually. To this we can add the corroborating writings of Josephus and Philo from the first century on the subject of homosexual behavior (which pretty much echoes Paul), as well as the Babylonian Talmud which was completed a couple of centuries later. There is NO doubt at all about what was the first century Jewish view of same-sex behavior (which Jesus endorsed by implication).

            Now, as I have emphasized many times, you are perfectly free to openly and honestly repudiate all of these ancient writings if you so choose–and as you evidently do. However, there is no honest way to reconcile them with homosexuality, which the Carrot has been endlessly spinning his wheels trying to do.

          • You speak as if you know what you are talking about. You don’t. Your little spiel is the common atheist misinterpretation of the facts. What you have written is the case against the bible. Now, let’s hear the much more impressive case for the bible. After we have heard both, we can make a decision. But it is bad form to simply take the one-sided view of the evidence and assume you have proven anything. You’re like the lawyer who sounds impressive until the jury hears the other side of the story presented by the other lawyer.
            That’s why you only make up 2% of the population or whatever. Ulitmately, you rely on distortion

          • Don’t look at me.

            I am not the one deluded enough to think there is only one interpretation of Biblical texts here. That god only speaks with one voice, to me, and all others “don’t really count” or are somehow incorrect. That is a uniquely Fundamentalist delusion.

            It works well for giving them a sense of purpose and plays into personal hubris. People become fundamentalists because they can’t handle ambiguity, interpretation and differences.

            I am certainly not stupid, arrogant and deluded enough to think that anyone in a modern day and age follows all of its proscriptions to the letter. That is merely Fundamentalist dishonesty.

            I am certainly not dishonest enough to claim a point of view exists because “the Bible tells me to do so” . The Bible says a lot of things which people can use for pretty much any POV they want to. All this sort of thing tells me is that one is too much of a liar and coward to stand by their own views.

            As for the Methodists, its their church. They can do what they want. I have yet to see someone give me a compelling reason why they shouldn’t split. It seems the differences are irreconcilable. It would be the most practical solution.

          • Larry Collins: You would do well to study the whole background of the writings that make up the bible, including those of the Christian bible, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those scribes not only made many non-“meticulous” errors, they made many purposeful changes to satisfy their own wishes.

            And numerous scribes were hardly literate themselves. Copying texts did not infer the ability to read the long, long lines of letters with no spaces, no punctuation, all in one case. And very few community members were able to read at gatherings. 85-90% of members couldn’t even read or write.

            We are not writing about an era with publishing houses, editors, bookstores, and copyrights. We are referring to a culture in which the vast, vast majority of individuals were absolutely illiterate. Those who wrote the originals, none of which exist, and those who read were a tiny minority. There is evidence of many of those involved in early Christian writings calling each other heretics because of their disagreements.

            There is no way of knowing that what you read is anything like that which was originally written. Those same illiterate people accepted stories of “miracles.” This was many centuries before the printing press or the proofs of science.

      • CarrotCakeMan: “Homosexuals” is not an “epithet” at all. It is simply a noun with Greek and Latin bases, that refers to people who are physically attracted to others of the same sex. That is no “epithet.”

        • CarrotCakeMan

          Wrong again. The New York Times calls it an epithet:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/fashion/gays-lesbians-the-term-homosexual.html?_r=1

          The NYT recognizes the use of that epithet is meant to demean, demonize and dehumanize LGBT Americans–and why anti-gays cling to that epithet.

          • Sorry CCM, but homosexuals themselves were using the term “homosexual” for DECADES. Indeed, the original 1969 New York Mattachine Society story on the Stonewall Riots, reprinted by the gay Advocate Magazine in 2012 directly uses the word “homosexuals.”

            And now you’re gonna claim that the term “homosexual” is an “epithet” merely because the brainless, demon-possessed New York Times suddenly wants to practice its PC skills again?

            Sheesh, you don’t see heterosexuals playing this kind of politically correct word game. That’s unbelievable. Besides, heterosexuals are NOT ashamed to call themselves heterosexuals!

          • Well, if the NYT says something, it must be true. They are the font of all truth and knowledge.

        • Joseph Styles

          Ah, yes–the neutrality argument. But you miss the fact that the term has been used, despite the intention of its original users, as a pejorative, as a term to define, exclude, and “other-ize” whole classes and groups of fellow human beings from an allegedly scientific & ethically neutral viewpoint (much like the term “Negro” has been used, and for that reasonat least partially rejected, by many in the African-American communities of this country).
          Go ahead and use “homosexual” (and/.or “Negro”) if you wish. But be aware that, for many, that marks you as an apologist for oppression.

      • Carrot, it can be applied just the same to “men who lie with men” found in other translations. It means the same thing; however, “homosexual” is a more commonly used word today.

      • carrot cake man
        I am so sorry – but the biblical invections against homosexuality are well known, accepted and documented.

        we are all sinners, that is the fact. I would never wish to condemn you for your sins, when mine are so great that only the grace of jesus christ will ever wash them away.

        however, it is very, very clear that you do not, will not, can not acknowledge the clear nature of your sins. instead desparately trying to reinterpet the scripture to your needs.

        please resist that temptation – for what you are really practicing is the clear sin of pride…..trying to fit the scripture to conform to you, rather than you to righteousness

        god bless

        • “we are all sinners, that is the fact”

          Yet some sins are singled out for special treatment in a way others are not. Some “sins” are encouraged to ostracize others about, to engage in petty and hateful behavior towards others with. Ones which give you social sanction to deliberately and maliciously harm others. “Because God told you to”.

          The idea of a “sin” which one is born with and affects their identity in an immutable fashion defies the definition of the word. Aside from the rantings of various bigots on the subject, that is what you have in the case of homosexuality. It renders such admonitions as yours to be pointless and ignorant in nature. The sin of being one’s self is not a relevant one in the grand scheme of things.

          Claiming one’s behavior is dictated solely by scripture for its own sake, as you are doing is to denude it of any real meaning. It makes a mockery of the idea of Christian morality. That Christians only are moral people because they have to be told to be, lacking any innate sense of it themselves.

          It is only Fundamentalist dishonesty which claims that scripture is not reinterpreted to work with modern existence. You are a liar if you say you conform your life to scripture as written or that you don’t adjust your interpretations to your own personal needs. But those are the kinds of lies which Fundamentalists tell in order to feel superior to others. Its part of that kind of faith.

          If scripture reflects ignorance of its writers, it has no business being taken seriously. It can be consigned to the dustbin along with the parts about women as chattel property, glorifying slavery, geocentrism. Claiming your view is because the Bible tells you so is merely cowardice on your own part. Seeking social sanction for personal opinion and lacking a spine to stand up and claim it for your own.

          • Oh! You you alone know what is right and those who claim to be “fundamentalist” are wrong. Doesn’t that make you rather fundamentalist?

          • @gilhcan

            Were you addressing me? It was not my point at all.

            My point is when a Fundamentalist says, “it is this way because the Bible told me, therefore its moral”, they are full of crap.

            We make our own decisions as to what is moral and what isn’t. We do not really rely solely on “what scripture says” That is merely an excuse for behavior we already want to do.

            Plus just because its in scripture doesn’t mean jack. There is plenty in there we have to ignore for the sake of sane living and being in a modern social environment.

      • jcking3022@gmail.com

        Not to be argumentative, but Check out the article, especially the last line of his conclusion:
        http://carm.org/does-romans-1-condemn-homosexuality

        Schumacher is a well respected writer and theologian. But then, that’s not the point. Again, it boils down to theological interpretation, what God’s word says, verses what we want it to say.

        • The great thing about theology is one declares something to be true and is not required to support it with anything besides assertions. What passes for academic study is more glorified legalistic arguments. No closer to “the truth” than statements made by lawyers.

          The Biblical text itself does not support Mr. Schumacher’s analysis. Which is dripping with bias, just in the language employed.

          “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

          Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires…”

          Romans 1 is prefaced with talk of idolatry as the main sin while the parts the bigots key in on are the aftermath. Homosexuality as a result of idolatry. God makes idolators gay as punishment. This is just a plain reading of the text in its full context.


          As usual people will use Biblical texts to support whatever position they want supported. Every believer edits the Bible their own way to fit their own ideas and lives. This way no matter what you do, it is “supported by God” and you can claim that others do not.

          • @larry nowhere in Romans 1 does it say that God punishes them, by causing them to be gay, due to idolatry. The chapter clearly says that they worshipped idols, or worldly things which includes anything in this world that you would view as more important than God. Homosexuality was and is a form of idolatry. The passage says that God gave them over to their desires, and their desires were to have sexual relations with the same sex or in other words “exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones” (v. 26). And nowhere does Jesus instruct us to be hateful or shun those who do these things. All sin, but it is my responsibility along with all other Christians to put my foot down and say that homosexuality is wrong and a sinful act. You continue to take pieces of scripture and twist them to make them sound how you want just as you claim we Christians do. Following the Bible to the nail is difficult and impossible, but that doesn’t mean I am not called to try my hardest and not pick out bits and pieces of the Bible to follow. It is all to be followed or not to be followed at all.

      • Well at least that was Paul’s opinion. Paul didn’t like the debauchery and promiscuity in his era. Paul also said you can’t completely serve Jesus if you are married. Paul spent much time with Luke is it possible Paul was gay.

        • @Cken,

          “Sin” is only a religious term for ‘going against god’s laws’.
          So these would be some sins according to the Bible:
          Hate, bigotry, Not forgiving, incitement, attacking a foe, weaponizing for battle, not loving neighbors, telling lies, stealing, cursing, killing for vengeance, judging others, racism.

          I would add that most of these are also immoral from a secular standpoint based on the Golden Rule. (more on that later if you wish).

          SO…

          JESUS LIED. Isn’t lying a sin?

          “‘Go to the festival yourselves.
          I AM NOT GOING to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, THEN HE ALSO WENT not publicly but as it were in private” (John 7.8-10).

          JESUS INSTRUCTED FOLLOWERS TO STEAL. Isn’t stealing a sin?

          “untie them” ..”bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)

          JESUS DIDN’T FORGIVE – he sent them to Hell! (Mark 16:16)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS CURSED his enemies – “Thou Fools!”(Matt. 23:17)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS DESTROYED HIS ENEMIES WITH VENGEANCE –
          “bring to me my enemies….execute them in front of me”(Luke 19:27)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS DID NOT LOVE MOST OF HIS NEIGHBORS
          – They are ‘Dogs’!(Matthew 15:26)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY – “If you deem them unworthy…Remove your blessings of Peace”!(Matt 10:14)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS WAS BIGOTED – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS VIOLENTLY WHIPPED PEOPLE – “He made a whip of chords and attacked them” (John 2:5)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS CAME TO INCITE VIOLENCE – “I do not bring peace.”(Matt 10:34)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS PREPARED FOR WAR – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO IGNORE THE LOVE OF PARENTS – “hate your mother and father…hate your very life” (Luke 14:26)
          Isn’t that a sin?

          JESUS INCITED VIOLENCE AND WAS IMPATIENT – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!….and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but trauma.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)
          Isn’t patience a Virtue? Isn’t it a sin to be impatient and to incite violence?
          —–
          Your Jesus sinned more than most of the Atheists I ever met!
          And that is only according to the very laws within the Bible…

          JESUS WAS A SPECTACULAR ‘SINNER’.
          His contempt for the laws of Yahweh, while quixotically ENFORCING THEM (o_O) is the most two-faced, obvious garbage
          in the history of religious nonsense. Which is saying a lot.

          • Well, if you make up all your own facts Max, it’s easy to prove anything. And this coming from the guy who is supposedly scientific.
            Isn’t it odd that no one has ever detected all this bad behavior on the part of Jesus before Max?
            Max tend to take things out of context, misunderstand things, etc

          • jcking3022@gmail.com

            First a caveat. I stumbled onto this site. As a United Methodist Pastor as one might say who is caught up in the fray, I was simply reading articles on the schism of homosexuality. I don’t usually blog or peruse the blogs of others. So, I won’t be back to argue. The back and forth of these things is just too petty. But, I am struck by how strongly your anger comes through your writing. So please let me say this; it might surprise you to find out that a great many so called “fundamentalist” or conservative pastors have no animosity towards anyone who is homosexual, lesbian, transgendered, etc. In fact, I believe most of us strive to love them. For us, the so called divide comes when these same pastors who truly believe they have been called to minister in this world via the Good News of Jesus Christ are confronted with whether to strive to uphold the scriptures to the best of their ability and understanding. Moreover, because they believe their calling is real, they cannot walk away from either what the scriptures reveal to them, nor the calling they have undertaken to preach and teach same. And believe me, there are times when we wish we could, when we wish we could escape the fray. The other problem is that the majority of United Methodist pastors have spent years attaining an undergraduate degree; and then, most of us have spent another ninety plus hours attaining a minimum of an M.Div. degree. All of this to say that most of us don’t come to our beliefs lightly or without much thought and desire for discernment. So, with all respect, you might want to consider this when throwing out all the “facts” you seem to know. But most of all, you might ask yourself this simple question. How can you declare that God is so horrendous and declare Jesus to be such a liar? You see, to debate their attributes, their veracity or fallibility is to give them status as living beings. The reason I say this is the last time I checked, the definition of an atheist was and still is: “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” So, with all due respect, who are you so mad at? And, how exactly can you debate something you don’t believe in to begin with? Sign me off with two final words. In all sincerity….. God Bless!

          • You folks tell me what constitutes a ‘sin’
            and I’ll show you where Jesus broke his OWN RULES.

            I challenge you to find a sin Jesus didn’t commit.

          • @Prgo,

            The Bible is full of clarifications about what is and what is NOT a sin.

            Jesus Sinned.
            End of story.

      • Jesus never sinned and he had nothing to repent from. He was tested by Satan the Devil to be unfaithful to God, but Jesus continually quoted scripture to Satan to prove his stand against him. Jesus died to his death as a perfect man, completely faithful to God.

    • Rob: The King James version of the bible is one of the most error-filled of all translations. None of the original writings of the bible exist. In fact the oldest copies by ancient scribes who made immense changes based on their own errors and whims, are as many copies old as there are words in the so-called New Testament. It would be better to study the history of biblical writings before quoting them, especially as the final word.

    • Well at least that was Paul’s opinion. Paul didn’t like the debauchery and promiscuity in his era. Paul also said you can’t completely serve Jesus if you are married. Paul spent much time with Luke is it possible Paul was gay.

      • @cken,

        Jesus may have been gay, or more likely bisexual.

        Sexuality of some kind appears to be part of the Gospel story:
        Did Jesus stumble into a tryst between Peter and Jesus’ lover?

        It is written as if He did.

        “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water” (John 21:7)

        “And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.” (Mark 14:51-52)

        It is right there in plain view.

        • So NOW, Max, you’re saying that Jesus was a multiple sinner AND a practicing homosexual too!! On top of that, you say that “Jesus’ lover” was two-timing on Jesus by fooling around with the Apostle Peter!!

          Sheesh! What a mess! Hey, as long as you’re accusing Jesus of being a total freak on every sin in the book, why not accuse Jesus of ATHEISM too? Can’t get any worse than THAT one !!

          • DOC,

            Jesus SINNED.
            Get over it.

            I could not have been clearer. Read your Bible and put each sin in its proper context.

            Jesus must be in Hell paying for his sins!

        • Max’s deep desire to find things in the bible that simply aren’t there are hilarious. It’s kind of fun to see how far he will go to mislead people. This from the guy who thinks he is scientiific!

          Here is the full context of John 21 :

          21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

          4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

          5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

          “No,” they answered.

          6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

          7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

          You get the idea. Max works very hard to pretend he has found things in the bible that just aren’t there.

          • I stand by my speculation that Jesus MAY have been gay.
            His interactions with his men is full of suggestions. The disciple “Jesus loved” is mentioned with emphasis.

            And there isn’t anything WRONG with it, if he was gay!
            Believe me, I have a lot of problems with Jesus and his possible homosexuality is NOT one of them!

            I’m just pointing out that Christians are completely unaware of their Bibles and they don’t read these stories with any care or concern.

          • @Prgo,

            Your supplying of context has done nothing to improve your argument!

            “he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.”

            WHY was he NAKED? Why did he jump in the water AFTER WRAPPING HIMSELF UP?
            Why would a fisherman wear clothes going INTO the water?

            You answered no questions.
            I don’t think you are paying attention.

          • Unmarried man in his 30’s in antiquity. When average life spans for peasantry was about 40-45 and people married in their early teens.

            If the man wasn’t a eunuch, it was safe to assume he would be gay.

          • @John,

            I didn’t say “Jesus WAS gay”.
            There is sexuality throughout the Bible.

            And IF YOU USE THE BIBLE
            as your standard of what defines a SIN, then JESUS SINNED. Frequently.

  5. the boy down the street who lives with his girl friend before marriage is far more of a big deal for church’s to deal with,, since there a lot more Christians doing that!! than involved with homosexual sin’s .. yet because of activist judges involvement in affairs that are none of there business (defining marriage)
    it really has taken church peoples attention off the more commonly committed sins.. like boy girl living in sin before marriage That has probably destroyed faith in Jesus forgiveness of far more people simply because they are more common amongst Gods people..
    than homosexual sin’s..

    if one no longer looks at their sin as sin because its so commonly done ..
    Why would they think they needed Jesus forgiveness for it??

    • CarrotCakeMan

      I’m sorry to see you attempt to subvert the US Constitution here, rob, but the Constitution says courts MUST revoke any law that comes to their attention that violate the Constitution, and we all know each and every anti-gay Hate Vote and Hate Law violates the constitution. Americans have filed suit in federal court in every US State that has these unconstitutional laws except North Dakota–which will be included shortly. These courts will continue to revoke anti-gays’ attempts to subvert Equal Protection Under the Law, just as they did in California, and marriage equality will soon be nationwide. Posting attacks at federal courts won’t cause them to shirk their duties.

    • Rob, your religion doesn’t get to define marriage for anyone outside church walls. Our laws don’t ever have to take them into consideration.

      The problem you face is that those marriage equality bans have zero rational or secular purpose (as all laws must). Your religious views, tradition, or custom are not reasons to deny civil liberties to anyone.

      Let’s face it, your religious excuses for bigotry don’t require color of law.

      • That’s what you think, Larry. Churches did not create the cosmos. And churches did not create any free and humane nation–even those with awful numbers of citizens. It’s called separation of church and state. Religion and churches are so based in mythology that they cannot compete with new knowledge without huge adjustments to their original writings and thought.

      • Unfortunately, you misunderstand the situation. Those marriage bans were not passed by the churches.- they were passed by normal citizens voting, sometimes up to 80 percent in favor of banning the artificially constructed monstrosity of gay “marriage”.
        The judges who have so far agreed with gay marriage have been lower court judges who seem to have issued one sided opinions that quite frankly, make reall lawyers laugh out loud.
        To be constitutional, all that must happen is that the law must have a rational basis. Since there are all sorts of ratoinal bases for not allowing gay marriage (The simple fact that gays cannot procreate, seem to be unable to be monogamous, and gay relationships often do not last that long, gays have unfortunate problems with all sorts of diseases, plus we know that children do better in a home with a mother and father (all the gay marriage studies are junk – small sample sizes etc. ) gives sufficient rational basis to block gay marriage.
        The simple fact that it has never happened before in the history of mankind, and is only favored by a highly politicized few is reason enough.

        • “The judges who have so far agreed with gay marriage have been lower court judges who seem to have issued one sided opinions that quite frankly, make reall lawyers laugh out loud.”

          Really? Not even close. I doubt you read a single decision on the subject. If you did, the rest of your post would not be so filled with ignorant nonsense.

          The problem is the anti-gay crowd can’t cough up secular and rational reasons for the bans. The only reason these marriage ban cases haven’t gone to SCOTUS is that the anti-gay crowd is afraid of a nationwide decision striking them all down on equal protection grounds. They would rather tease it out slowly than capitulate all at once.

          Blaming the judges is typical of people who have bullcrap positions they can’t defend with objective credible evidence or valid arguments (Like the Creationists who were skewered by the same conservative judge in PA)

          Your “rational reasons” for a gay marriage bad are complete garbage (and completely irrational) which were shot down over and over again.

          Procreation is not a legally recognized reason for marriage. That idea was killed more than 50 years ago when laws banning married couples from getting contraceptive were shot down. Marriages among infertile are still legally valid. Children born outside of marriage are still legally recognized. Plus gay marriage bans DO NOTHING to encourage procreation.

          As for “we know that children do better in a home with a mother and father”, that is a steaming pile of crap. Every study done by reputable objective means shows that 2 parents of any type are better than 1 or none at all. In every gay family with children, there is no parent of the opposite gender to take custody for one reason or another.

          You would rather have children with one or no parents, or worse a situation where 2 parents can’t act like parents under the law, because “we all know” bigoted bullcrap.

          As for the rest ” seem to be unable to be monogamous” and ” seem to be unable to be monogamous”, that is just you being a nasty bigot slinging stereotypes and fictions.

          Civil rights are always novelties to people and always resisted by the majority. People like to have their prejudices given color of law. Our founders did not come up with every permutation as to how civil liberties are expressed. They did give us the tools to figure them out and change for the greater good. There is no legitimate purpose to a gay marriage ban.

    • Probably, Rob, but where did you get your numbers? And are numbers what really matter when we come to the scientific, sociological, psychological, and historical consideration or human sexual orientation?

  6. Of course its inevitable. As long as people are fallaciously claiming it’s not sinful the true church must respond to the liars and deceivers and separate themselves.

    • Frank

      romans 16;17 says to stay away religiously from those who teach differently from the bible .. stay away can in no way shape or form mean worship or pray with them even though they reject what God teaches in scripture….

      • CarrotCakeMan

        Sorry, boys, you can shriek how “sinful” loving, committed same gender couples are all you like, but no one will be fooled.

        The major Christian, Jewish and other denominations that are marrying same gender couples now are being denied their right to practice their religion freely in 30 US States. These denominations will marry same gender couples in 20 US States and the District of Columbia:

        Affirming Pentecostal Church International
        Alliance of Christian Churches
        Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
        The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
        Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
        Community of Christ
        Conservative Judaism
        Ecumenical Catholic Church
        Ecumenical Catholic Communion
        The Episcopal Church
        Evangelical Anglican Church In America
        Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
        Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
        Inclusive Orthodox Church
        Metropolitan Community Church
        Old Catholic Church
        Progressive Christian Alliance
        Reconciling Pentecostals International
        Reconstructionist Judaism
        Reform Judaism
        Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
        Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
        Unitarian Universalist Church
        United Church of Christ
        Unity Church

          • CarrotCakeMan

            Your continuing attacks on the Freedom Of Religion of the many Christian and Jewish denominations which reject your anti-gay agenda won’t advance your anti-gay agenda, Frank, to the contrary, you merely demonstrate your hatred for the majority of Americans.

        • The only concept you have made clear is that ignorance and prejudice still persist, even among people of religion. “Might does not make right” any more than long lists or other quantities.

          Virtue does not depend on numbers, and all that we have learned and know about the human condition from science, sociology, psychology, and even religious and church history, are just as important as the writings of ancient mythology, including the Christian scriptures.

        • I cannot speak for the non-Christian religions that are represented, but every single organization on that dirty laundry list that calls itself a “Church”, needs to be excommunicated.

          (Some would say **exorcised**, but I’m a liberal so I’ll just settle for excommunication. And let’s be quick about it, please!)

          • You cannot speak for Christian sects other than your own either. You don’t get to define who is Christian and who isn’t.

            Last I checked nobody declared you the living embodiment of Jesus on Earth. Although you talk like you are.

          • Except for the several million or so you didn’t want to consider. Including all of 90% of Judaism and 1 million Unitarian Universalists.

            Certainly more than Westboro Baptist Church. :)

      • The weakest argument anyone can use to support anything in Judaism or Christianity is a quotation from their books. Both are religions of many books. Those books were written by unknown authors in numerous versions long before those contained in any current canon. Quoting ancient scriptures is meaningless unless those quotations can be verified by the continued accumulation of all knowledge.

  7. Then it appears the only solution to maintain Christian virtue would be a peaceful division among Methodist Churches. Those churches that are open to practicing faith, hope, love, and honesty toward their gay brethren should form one group. Those who wish to continuing functioning in exclusionary ways regarding gays could and should form their own, separate church. New constitutions and canons would be required for each. Property settlements would probably require legal action. But it is unchristian contradiction to continue in such mean-spirited division.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      “Those who wish to continuing functioning in exclusionary ways regarding gays could and should form their own, separate church. ”

      Or join with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas…

    • And experience tells us, the pro gay marriage group of Methodists will decline in membership and eventually die. Just like all the churches that have adopted gay marriage. They are all shrinking fast.

  8. It would be good if RNS arranged that replies to comments on their blog ended up positioned below the comment to which they were entered. Awful confusion results in the present scattering of replies all over the place.

  9. For all I know, my name is still on a dusty membership roll someplace, but I continue to be glad I walked away from all that nonsense over 50 years ago.

    • CarrotCakeMan

      Yes, while Jesus clearly emphasized the importance of “love your neighbor as yourself,” anti-gay Methodists prefer to give Jesus the finger.

      • According to you interpretive framework of Jesus’ golden rule any human behavior must be tolerated. How do you factor in all those other places where Jesus talked about various behaviors being inappropriate. If God has expectations on human behavior perhaps the loving thing to do is to uphold those expectations. If on the other hand you don’t believe in God, then why do you care what Jesus said about love. If you believe these words of Jesus do you believe all the words of the Bible? If not then why? Most people believe in what they think serves their own interests. Doesn’t matter if one is humanist or a bible thumper. As far as I can tell Jesus never directly addresses the problem of homosexuality one way or the other. He only addresses sexual ethics related to divorce in the context of male/female marriage. Paul is the one who specifically addresses homosexual behavior and condemns it. So I see several issues here. One it is a stretch to use the words of Jesus to support homosexual behavior. Two if one does so use Jesus’ words which come from a book why are other words from teh book that are more clear rejected. It would appear that the so called argument from authority is no more than window dressing for one’s own personal preference. And for those who claim to follow the book called the Bible but the proceed to pick and choose it appears teh church is more about their own personal preferences than any belief that is provided to them by their god. People should just be honest and say we don’t agree with the Bible because _______ and we want human life to be this way ____________ because ___________ and let an honest debate begin.

        • Yes. Although you are incredulous (because it means commonly done self-righteous blathering is on the wrong side of scripture), that is what it says.

          It is for God to judge and render punishment, not you.

          Jesus did not tell people to judge others unless they themselves were free of all sin (ie nobody short of Jesus himself could). Nothing involving attacking the ability of others to live peaceably can be considered “loving”.

          Even if you think one’s acts are excused because you are reacting to the sins of others, as long as you are harming them, it is wrong. Even during Jesus’s time, the idea that the Bible called for draconian behavior towards others was not tolerated. In the words of a contemporary of his, Rabbi Hillel, “The Bible can be summed up by “Do not do what is harmful to others, the rest is commentary”. Even if you claim to be “fighting sin” it does not give you license to treat others badly. God will deal with his own in due time according to the Bible.

          Besides, there is no genuine concern for the individual involved. You are not harming others because you are fighting rampant sin and care about the person’s soul. It is nothing but pure spite given a legalistic religious excuse.

  10. Wow. Now I remember why I don’t go to church. The libs and progressives have taken over God now! Terrible. Number me with the evil Christians of old days. Thanks

    • If it involves consenting adults, its both. A “sin” in your eyes and a right under the law.

      Sins are not crimes. What your religion says about some activities does not mean it has to be illegal or anyone else has to care. You have a right not to have prying eyes in your bedroom.

  11. I don’t support gay relationships nor same-sex marriage because they are not supported nor approved by God and his son, Christ Jesus. Churches that claim to follow Jesus and worship God, his Father, should follow suit.

  12. The moral authority of the Church is not a matter of ephemeral doctrine which can be tossed aside without consequence. Those who deny the clear teaching of the Church regarding homosexual sexual activity – namely, that it is sinful – have already divided the church into those who accept her moral authority and those who do not. The coming division will simply be an official recognition of what has already taken place in fact – an acknowledgement that a significant portion of the body of the denomination has departed from clear Christian teachings, and is affirming a sinful and harmful morality which flies directly in the face of Christian witness. It is only proper that such be brought to light openly rather than remaining hidden in the shadows.

    • There is no moral authority in any given church. Churches deny morality in people and encourage them to outsource such decisions to outside authority without question. Religious belief merely codifies moral concepts as they exist.

      There is no actual moral objection to homosexuality being voiced other than weak legalistic calls that the Bible tells one so. No reflection of why it is such. No moral decisions or consideration given. Merely excuses given for one to engage in bigoted actions against others. A socially accepted license to treat others like crap and ignore loving thy neighbor. Talk of sin without reflection on one’s own activities, taking it upon yourself to act as God’s judge of the acts of others is completely outside of the teachings of Christ. But it is the nature of the religion based on it.

      The Bible tells one to kill all polytheists and idolators, but it is hardly moral to do so. A sane person would pause before following such things because their moral fiber is challenged by such arbitrary authority. But you are extolling behavior which would permit one to act on such ideas. To commit deeply immoral acts for God’s glory.

      If you have an objection to the existence of gay people outside of the phony pretense Biblical authority, it would be nice to hear it. Otherwise, its just the blathering of bigots who want to hide behind a Bible rather than own up to their own views.

      • The moral authority subsists in THE Church, not a church – in the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church which has persisted throughout the ages since it was first instituted by Christ, who is God incarnate.
        His teachings, and those of His Church, are the whole of morality. I reject anything that contradicts them. I embrace anything contained within them.
        The illicitness of homosexual sexual activity – not of the homosexual orientation – is well evidenced in Holy Scripture and has always been maintained by the Church as sinful behavior. This in no way justified unChristian conduct toward others; but it does not permit the faithful to join with the world in calling good that which is evil.
        God has judged certain actions to be immoral. To maintain the proclamation of these actions as immoral is not to judge any person – the Church in her wisdom does not presume to claim knowledge that anyone, even Judas Iscariot, has been condemned eternally. Rather, it is to maintain faithfulness to the moral teachings of the faith.
        I have not argued for killing anyone – you put words in the mouths of those with whom you disagree, and you’ll forgive me if I’m disinclined to trust the interpretative hermeneutic of someone who is an obvious enemy to the very Scriptures he is claiming to interpret. The Christian faith requires no immoral actions.
        I have no objection to the existence of homosexual people whatsoever. An orientation is not chosen behavior, and so cannot be a morally culpable factor. What I do object to, because the moral teachings of the faith make it clear it is sinful, is homosexual sexual activity. This activity is chosen behavior, and is within our control, and it is sinful and immoral to engage in it. Those who are willing to capitulate to the sinful culture and deny such moral truths for the sake of relevance do so to the detriment of God’s Church and her people.

        • You are making excuses for immoral behavior by hiding behind a church. Avoiding consideration or forethought in favor of fanatical blathering. The only difference between people who follow such ideas like say that of an Islamicist, Communist, or Fascist are the color of armband or choice of uniform. Blind deference to authority is not morality. It is the very opposite. It is how people convince themselves to commit immoral acts.

          Insisting on the correctness of your sect is not going to get you anywhere. One church is as good as another in this regard. Since you do not have God coming down from the heavens to say, “These guys are MY church”, its all just huffing and puffing for effect.

          Besides, the Catholic Church has far too much to answer for to be a credible source of ANY moral judgment. I can rattle off a whole bunch of incidents, but more likely than not, you are not going to bother reading it.

          All you are saying in a roundabout and self-inflated way is you feel gays are immoral because the church tells you so. There appears to be no independent thought or consideration to the process. A perfect example of what I was referring to as “outsourcing” moral decisions to arbitrary authority.

          You are not referring to morality, you are not making moral judgments. You are merely deferring to authority for its own sake. There is nothing moral in that. The religious equivalent to, “I am just following orders”.

          You do not hate gays, you just want to deny them the dignity of a normal human existence. Oh what a great humanitarian, you are! You are sparing them from mass murder out of kindness and generosity! Do you want a medal?

          You haven’t made the argument for killing others, but you certainly put things on that path. The perfect example is how American Christians lobbied in Africa to have gays imprisoned and executed under the guise of “protection of the families”.

          • The Church’s moral authority is not arbitrary; the Church claims to be an institution established by God incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth, and to perpetuate His teachings. This claim is either true or false, but in either case the authority is not arbitrary – if one accepts the Church’s claims, then its teachings are indeed morally authoritative. The fact is simply that you reject the claims of the Church, and so reject the authority of her moral teachings, which is fine, but it does not relegate those who do accept her claims as true to mere arbitrariness.
            I do not feel that gays are immoral because the Church tells me so; the Church does not teach any such thing, nor have I claimed such. Rather, the Church teaches that all sexual activity outside a male-female marriage is sinful. This claim denotes a specific category of action which is immoral, and this moral status pertains regardless of the beliefs or orientations of those involved. Same-gender sexual activity is immoral regardless of whether those perpetrating it are of a homosexual orientation; it is the action itself which is immoral, not the person.
            It is irresponsible to rely on independent thought on matters about which one has a reliable and proper authority. Just as I would not rely on my own observations and mathematics to support the claim that all matter in the universe once comprised a super-dense singularity when physicists who have spent their academic careers becoming experts in the field, so too would I not ignore the proper moral authority of the Church which claims to have received moral revelation from the creator of all things. Having accepted the Church’s theological claims, accepting her status as a moral authority is right and proper.
            I am highly in favor of homosexuals living a dignified human existence, I merely disagree with you as to what constitutes this. A full, dignified human existence must be a moral one – to act immorally is to fail to live up to our potential as human beings. Regardless of sexual orientation, any sexual activity outside a male-female marriage is immoral, and so no dignified human existence can include such. Thus, for the person with a homosexual orientation, a full, dignified human existence would necessarily be one of celibacy, just as it is for a person with a heterosexual orientation who does not marry.
            I have in no way “put things on that path” to advocating the killing of others. You are falsely attributing to me statements I have not made. My claim so far has been merely “Homosexual sexual activity is immoral.” This in no way entails that those who practice or are inclined to such sexual activity may be imprisoned, harmed or killed.
            In fact, your claim boils down to “Some people who have argued that homosexual sexual activity is immoral also advocate for imprisoning or killing homosexuals.” This is the genetic fallacy; the fact that some people who argue as I do, that homosexual sexual activity is immoral, in no way entails that I advocate such people’s other arguments, and it is highly disingenuous to claim otherwise.

          • LMAO! You are talking about the same organization which used to raise revenue by selling absolution so soldiers could buy their way into heaven.

            I can go on listing the various misdeeds and immoral acts the church has done as an organization. Again, you aren’t interested in anything like history or facts. Just bold pronouncements of piety and authority NOBODY has to take seriously.

            The church is moral authority simply because you say so. That is as arbitrary as it gets. Authority does not equal morality. Claiming moral authority and actually demonstrating it are 2 different things. You have not bothered to demonstrate it.

            You are begging the question I posed for you. I asked whether you think gays are immoral because the Church tells you so. Then you go on to tell me what the church says on the subject. Followed by simply repeating the assertion.

            “Same-gender sexual activity is immoral regardless of whether those perpetrating it are of a homosexual orientation; it is the action itself which is immoral, not the person.”

            Again, you avoid the question. Why would it be considered immoral? Outside of the church teachings, you haven’t told me anything. Obviously I was correct in my assessment. You are simply blindly deferring to authority without question. Hence its arbitrary.

            “It is irresponsible to rely on independent thought on matters about which one has a reliable and proper authority.”

            Its called thinking. It is irresponsible to outsource such things to others. That is what people do when they want to excuse immoral behavior towards others. Again, “you are only following orders”. Not really a firm basis for moral behavior.

            There is not an honest bone in your body. It is all apologia, excuses and puffery. You are living proof that Christian notions of morality are an utter joke. You have to be told not to do something by the Church because you lack what every sane human being possesses. A basic understanding of fellow humans.

            Christianity gives people plenty of excuses to avoid moral thinking and actions. To avoid making considerations based on moral concerns. Its all merely deference and self-interest. What sociopaths use to justify their behavior.

          • No, Christianity includes moral thinking. Christianity is not merely a club one belongs to, it is a comprehensive world view which makes both theological and moral claims.
            Among these claims is that the code of morality the Church perpetuates is divine revelation. Her authority rests on this claim; it does not rest on the immaculate behavior of her members throughout history. I accept her moral authority because I find her claims to be true. I never claimed the Church’s members have been unerringly pious; I’m claiming that piety consists in living up to the Church’s moral teachings, and that insofar as individual members of the Church have been impious or immoral, they have done so to the extent that they stray from the Church’s moral teachings.
            You asked me why I think gays are immoral, and I answered: I don’t. Nor does the Church, for that matter. Neither I nor she presumes to condemn individuals’ souls. What I do state is immoral is homosexual sexual activity. The justification for this is the Church’s moral prohibition against it. She has in many places demonstrated why this prohibition is in place, citing the natural law ethical theory and the commandments she received from God regarding proper sexual morality. But the short answer to “Why would it be considered immoral?” is “Because it is an improper use of God’s gift of the sexual faculty.”
            Nor does your charge of blindly adhering to an authority hold any water. Many people claim to be a moral authority (you, for instance) and I pay them no mind because I have no reason to trust their veracity. I do have such with the Church, and have arrived at an understanding that her claims to moral authority are proper and true, and her reasoning and proclamations are valid. The fact that you disagree does not invalidate my justifications for doing so; it merely leaves you in disagreement.
            Having accepted the theological claims of the Church, and her proper moral authority as the body of Christ on earth, it is only just and proper to adhere to her moral teachings. Nothing could be further from arbitrary, you might want to actually read up on the definition of the term.
            A basic understanding of fellow humans alone is insufficient to develop a morality. This is what is referred classically as the Is-Ought gap – it is impossible to derive a moral claim from brute facts about the world alone. All moral claims must have some sort of justification as to why they should be the case, and this is where moral theory enters. The Church’s moral theory is a combination of divine command, natural law and virtue ethics, one I have found to be quite comprehensive and properly reasoned.
            Christianity does not supplant moral reasoning, it contains it. Christ, as the human incarnation of God Himself, has given to us the true and proper fulfillment of what it means to be a moral person, and this teaching is perpetuated by the Church. To be Christian means to reason in a certain way about morality, and insofar as one’s reason results in opposition from the clear teachings of the Church, the Christian is required to amend and better inform his reason so as to arrive at the proper conclusions.
            You seem to be under the assumption that the inherent moral compass in every human being is the be-all and end-all of morality. This is of course absurd, as like every faculty it must be exercised, trained and informed in order to be reliable. The Church provides the means for doing so, and in adhering to her moral teachings – which are God’s given to us – we learn to progress from mere unthinking reaction to determined and intelligent moral reasoning.

  13. The nice thing about a possible UMC schism is – for all the talk of fidelity to scripture and covenant – you know who stands to gain the most? The leaders of the potential split. Why empower the extremists?

    • As usual, religion is a deep, deep “root of all evil,” the very reason for the first clause of the First Amendment to our Constitution.

      Have you ever tried to dig out a Yucca plant? Their roots seemed aimed for Hades.

      Religion causes ugly dissension within itself, always has. It causes even more trouble when mixed in society because of the cultural differences.

  14. Stephen Burkhart

    ” Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” – Rick Warren.

    • Homosexuality is not a life style folks, it is a sin. Jesus Christ calls us all to repent and to turn from sin and follow his way. He also teaches us to love everyone which means all of us sinners, no matter what the sin may be in our lives. If we truly follow and love Jesus we will deny the desires of the flesh and walk in the Holy Spirit. Our focus is to be on him in place of our sinful flesh.

  15. In reading the discussion…though not all of it. It seems those who believe there is a way forward, have proven by their tone that there is not. And yes the other side has proven the same. I do not see the kind of respect or kindness in hearts for those who disagree with them for there to be a way forward for this my denomination.
    Some who speak against schism are the same ones who would like to separate North American Methodism from the rest of the world for the purpose of winning the vote on this issue. Is that not schism as well?
    Perhaps the most true statement in the article was that neither side, if we agree to disagree, will be satisfied with the arranged disagreement. We disagree now…and we’re not satisfied with what our current disagreement means in practical terms. It’s doubtful a newly legislated form of disagreement will suddenly become acceptable to all.
    I do love my church. It has much to offer at the moment, and it has some very difficult days ahead. I hope we’re all praying for peace, in our own hearts and in the upcoming GC.

  1. […] Conservative United Methodists say split over sexuality is 'irreconcilable'Religion News ServiceA group of 80 pastors is suggesting that the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination is facing an imminent split because of an inability to resolve long-standing theological disputes about sexuality and church doctrine. … The tipping point … […]

  2. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  3. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  4. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  5. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.