United Methodist Church Decides Against Full Inclusivity for LGBTQ Church Members
Reported by Hannah Lee
On Feb. 26, the United Methodist Church (UMC) rejected a measure that would have made the denomination fully inclusive to LGBTQ church members. The One Church Plan was proposed May of last year by an overwhelming amount of UMC bishops in hopes for LGBTQ members to have the ability to become ordained and get married in the church. UMC rejected the One Church Plan measure in favor of the Traditional Plan, changing nothing.
Why does this matter?
As I grew up in the conservative evangelical church, I was taught to “love, but not condone” anyone on the LGBTQ spectrum. While I agree we should speak truth in love, this concept baffles me. Who am I to “condone” who someone is?
There are a variety of definitions for the word “condone,” including “to disregard or overlook,” and “to pardon or forgive (an offense); excuse.” These two definitions should not be how Christians treat the LGBTQ community. The evangelical church tells us not to condone, but condoning is not a positive action. By saying “do not condone,” the church is saying “do not overlook,” or “do not excuse.” How do either of these things mean to love?
Gay Christians do not wish to be overlooked — they simply want to be who they are: children of God. Their actions are based on their love for God. Gay Christians do not need to be excused — they simply need to feel the love of Christ reciprocated to them. A lesbian student here at George Fox defended her relationship with: “If this is a sin, then my biggest sin is loving one of God’s creations.”
None of us can choose who we are or who we love. True, we can shape some of it, but it is ultimately in God’s hands. I cannot control how the UMC treats queer Christians, but I can control how I do. My theology affirms all people, regardless of sexuality or gender expression.
I believe all Christians who consistently seek Christ in their actions deserve to be in leadership positions in the church, and their marriages should be recognized by the church as well. James 4:11-12 says: “Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?”
This is the mindset we as the church must have regarding other people. Wherever you stand theologically, it is your duty as a Christian to show the love of Christ to others. The UMC vote does not bring the church closer together, nor does it welcome others into the Kingdom.
The church is constantly growing and changing, making room for us to welcome more and more to into the Kingdom of God. If we, as a Christian body, choose to exclude entire groups of people, how are we representing Christ?