By Jessica Brodie
Annual Conference members will vote in June whether the church should remove language from the United Methodist Book of Discipline about homosexuality being incompatible with Christian teaching.
A resolution submitted to the Annual Conference secretary calls on the South Carolina Conference to petition the 2016 General Conference to remove the sentence found in Para. 161F of the 2012 Book of Discipline that states, “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”
The resolution was signed by more than a hundred United Methodist clergy and laity, many of whom are part of Reconciling Ministries of South Carolina, a group that works to help the UMC become more open and inclusive to all people, including all sexual orientations and gender identities.
The resolution maintains that Para. 161F has been argued by biblical scholars and theologians to be inaccurate and in conflict with what many Christian educators indeed teach, and that it contradicts Para. 162, which affirms all people as equally valuable in the sight of God.
“In each subsequent year since adoption, this statement is rejected by more and more United Methodists as an insufficient way of communicating our most honest and forthright understanding of human sexuality and human value,” the resolution states. “The statement has been the source of tremendous harm to countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons, families and friends.”
The resolution also states that the previous understanding of homosexuality presumed that it is a choice, “and the current understanding is that it is a state of being which therefore can be affirmed in a life-long, covenant relationship that embodies ‘celibacy in singleness and fidelity in marriage.’”
The full text of the resolution is online at www.reconcilingministriessc.org.