Friday, May 4, 2012

The United Methodist Church Maintains Its Statement on Sexuality

Once again, the General Conference has voted to maintain its statement on sexuality, including homosexuality.  Despite some of the press that the UMC has been given, and despite the loud voices of some within the UMC, the denomination has had this same position for decades.  While other mainline denominations (e.g., TEC, ELCA, PCUSA) have changed their stance, the United Methodist has refused to do so.

These votes indicate that, while the UMC may be out of step with other American mainline Protestant denominations, it is solidly in step with the majority of the larger Wesleyan/Methodist tradition and the vast majority of Christian denominations around the world and throughout history.

In paragraph 161 F), the Book of Discipline States:

¶ 161 F) Human Sexuality—We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.
Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children.

All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.
We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self.
The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons. 1
1. See Judicial Council Decision 702.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church - 2008. Copyright 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House.

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