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United Methodists vote pensions, ‘Traditional Plan’ as top priorities

The Rev. Austin Adkinson, right, and members of the Queer Clergy Caucus sing and greet attendees on the first day of deliberations at the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

ST. LOUIS (RNS) — Delegates to a special session of the United Methodist Church decided Sunday (Feb. 24) to start deliberations over the denomination’s future by talking about money.

Then they will talk about sex.

Those delegates ranked a discussion of the church’s pension plan as their top priority, followed by a plan that would strengthen a ban on LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriage.

Two-thirds (nearly 64 percent) voted for a discussion of the implications of a church split on pensions as their top priority.

Nearly 56 percent of the 864 delegates to the General Conference’s special session on sexuality agreed that the Traditional Plan — one of three presented by a specially appointed commission – was a high priority for the global denomination’s decision-making body.

Meantime, the One Church Plan, recommended by the church’s Council of Bishops, received support from about half of the delegates.

These results determined the order in which plans and petitions will be considered by the General Conference.

While Sunday’s vote results don’t necessarily mean the Traditional Plan has the most support of the plans that will be considered this week in St. Louis, it still felt that way to many of its supporters and opponents.

“We have a long way to go, but we’re encouraged,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association, an organized conservative group that supports the ban on LGBT clergy. Boyette has said if the One Church Plan or another called the Simple Plan passes, he would recommend the group form a new denomination.

Sunday’s vote is just the first step toward adopting any plan, he said. Delegates will have a chance to amend the plan before deciding whether to approve it.

But, he said, he believes the Traditional Plan now has the advantage because it will be taken up and amended first, and the time spent on it won’t be available to spend on other plans. And he feels that ranking will translate into votes, as its supporters were urged going into the session to rank the Traditional Plan a high priority and all others low.

Boyette also said he wasn’t surprised pensions ranked first. Delegates need to address what would happen to the pensions of clergy who leave the denomination if they disagree with the decisions made this week by the General Conference, he said.


RELATED: The ’Splainer: What’s the United Methodist special session all about?


The special session opened Sunday morning with a sermon from Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, who said delegates should focus on what unites them, not what divides them.

Bishop Christian Alsted, who presided over the morning session of the General Conference, reminded delegates that “we are not gathered here in St. Louis to discuss and to decide on an issue or on a question. We are speaking about people in the church.”

Allison Vellas, of Ink Factory, creates a live illustration of the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Kit Doyle

The special session of the General Conference hopes to resolve a decades-long debate over sexuality in the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination.

Currently, the denomination’s rulebook, the Book of Discipline, states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or married in the church.

Locked in a stalemate over attempts to change those rules, delegates at the 2016 General Conference voted to defer all decisions on related legislation to a specially appointed Commission on a Way Forward. That led to this week’s special session to receive and act on a report including three plans proposed by the commission.

Jessica LaGrone, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, presents the Traditional Plan during the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Kit Doyle

On Sunday morning, commission members explained their work and described the three plans for moving forward.

Jessica LaGrone, an elder from Kentucky, said the Traditional Plan, which strengthens the enforcement of current rules, “values consistency in practice.” She compared it to the denomination’s stances on the ordination of women or infant baptism.

Jasmine Rose Smothers, an elder from Georgia, described the One Church Plan supported by the Council of Bishops. That plan would allow individual churches and regional annual conferences to decide whether to ordain and marry LGBTQ members.

With 49 percent of delegates ranking the plan a high priority, it will be considered fifth.

“The One Church Plan does not see unity as uniformity,” Smothers said.

Mazvita Machinga, a member of the Commission on a Way Forward, presents the Connectional Conference Plan during the special session of the United Methodist Church General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. RNS photo by Kit Doyle

Mazvita Machinga, a laywoman from Zimbabwe, presented the Connectional Conference Plan, which would reorganize United Methodist churches by conferences based on theological beliefs, rather than by geographical location.

“Yes, it is the most complex of all the plans,” Machinga said. She added that complexity is needed for United Methodists to remain one church.

Just 12 percent of delegates considered the Connectional Conference Plan a high priority.

Other plans approved for consideration that were not part of the report by the Commission on a Way Forward include: the Simple Plan, which would remove all language about “the practice of homosexuality” from the Book of Discipline, and the modified Traditional Plan, which was referred to a committee. 

After the presentation of the three plans in the report, commission member Brian Adkins, an elder from California who identified himself as an openly gay pastor, told LGBTQ United Methodists from the stage, “No matter what happens in this room or anywhere else, there is a place for you at God’s table, and no one can take it from you.”

Delegates and observers arriving at the special session early Sunday morning were met with that same message.

About two dozen members of the Queer Clergy Caucus sang “Jesus Loves Me” and other familiar songs as people lined up to enter the Dome at America’s Center, where the meeting will run through Tuesday. Some wore rainbow-colored stoles around their necks. Others held signs with messages introducing themselves: “I am a trans pastor” and “I am a lesbian sibling in Christ.”


RELATED: What will happen at the special session? Here’s what United Methodists predict


“Good morning, church! Welcome to worship,” said the Rev. Austin Adkinson, a Seattle pastor and member of the Queer Clergy Caucus leadership team who led the singing.

The clergy and their supporters wanted to greet delegates at the start of the conference in a “celebratory way” and make sure LGBTQ United Methodists were part of the conversation inside, Adkinson said, because “this conference is all about us.”

“The real main point of all of this is to remind people it’s more than an issue. It’s not just theology. Real lives are on the line,” he said.

Supporters for the Simple Plan hold banners and sing before the afternoon session at the special session of the United Methodist General Conference in St. Louis on Feb. 24, 2019. Photo by Kathleen Barry/UMNS

After the vote Sunday afternoon, the mood turned somber for advocates of the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church.

A number of people left their seats, marching through the building with a rainbow flag, singing and chanting “Love provides, hate divides.” Their action was a “spontaneous cry from the soul,” said Carol Scott, a member of Methodists in New Direction, which supports LGBTQ inclusion.

To Scott, the prioritization vote felt like “55 percent of the body voted to clamp down even harder on children of God.”

Scott and the Rev. Traci C. West, professor of Christian ethics and African-American studies at Drew University Theological School in Madison, N.J., reminded advocates gathered outside the session that this wasn’t the last day of the conference. It wasn’t even the vote to approve any of the plans before conference delegates.

There was singing again as delegates left at the end of the evening, and a word of encouragement from Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian bishop in the United Methodist Church.

“God’s not done with us yet,” Oliveto said.

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

314 Comments

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  • Nearly 56 percent of the 864 delegates to the General Conference’s special session on sexuality agreed that the Traditional Plan — one of three presented by a specially appointed commission – was a high priority for the global denomination’s decision-making body.

    Presumably the “traditional plan” means continued bigotry in the United Methodist Church which excludes openly gay people from marriage and ordination. Whenever the word “traditional” is bandied about it always lends a certain patina of authority, respectability, and gravitas to whatever word it modifies. People forget, however, that slavery was once considered “traditional,” along with the kind of racism which continues to make 11 am on Sunday mornings the most segregated hour in America. Women remaining silent in church likewise was once considered “traditional” along with men-only ministers in various Protestant denominations. All these things, and more, were once “traditional” until all of a sudden they weren’t.

    Putting it bluntly, “traditional” isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s worse than what replaces it.

  • Jessica LaGrone, an elder from Kentucky, said the Traditional Plan, which strengthens the enforcement of current rules, “values consistency in practice.” She compared it to the denomination’s stances on the ordination of women or infant baptism.”

    Women ministers? When the Bible clearly says no to that? If we’re going to have any talks about biblical consistency, then let’s start THERE. Becuase if you’re not going to start there, then it is simply obvious that we’re talking about is sincerely held bigotry hiding behind religious belief.

  • “If we’re going to have any talks about biblical consistency, then let’s start THERE.”

    If we’re going to have any talks about biblical consistency, we should begin by noting that as a homosexual atheist, raised as a Jew, who disdains religion and says anyone can prove anything from the Bible, which of course is not inspired, you’re probably not the one to talk about religious belief or bigotry or the Bible.

  • https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/02/23/lgbtqi-de“legates-shut-down-united-methodist-general-conference/

    “A group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) delegates to the United Methodist General Conference made clear Friday evening that they will not allow the denomination’s governing body to move forward if it becomes apparent that increased clergy accountability measures are poised to pass.”

    “Asked if one of three plans submitted by the church’s Commission on a Way Forward (CoWF), known as the Traditional plan, could pass, The Rev. Dr. Alex da Silva Souto declared ‘we’ll shut it down.’”

  • To call for “traditional” by a female elder does seem kind of funny. Never heard of female elders within the biblical context. So when you move away from one the basic tenets in early Christianity, why not move the rest of the way?
    When a church in Canada can allow an atheist to continue as minister, what reason is there to hold on to “traditional?” If there is the MOST basic of tenets in the Bible (A belief in the God which is revealed through it) who cares about holding on to anything?

  • “After the presentation of the three plans in the report, commission member Brian Adkins, an elder from California who identified himself as an openly gay pastor, told LGBTQ United Methodists from the stage, “No matter what happens in this room or anywhere else, there is a place for you at God’s table, and no one can take it from you.” He lied.
    Christ taught that homosexuals are going to go to Hell.
    He also turned around and died for them should they turn to Him, renounce their sin, and follow Him

  • The Methodist Congregation should break up: simply, “What fellowship does light have with darkness;” moreover, Jesus also says, “I come not to unite, but to divide.”
    Right now, Democrat California Senate Bill 145 seeks to reduce sex with 8 year olds to a misdemeanor. It is evident these liberals are pervert child molestors and genocidal baby killers who gayly murder babies for their greed and ambitions.
    Remember this: these perverts also deny the literal six day creation, and deny a marvelously formed baby in a human womb is actually a human being. They are ignorant and evil monsters. They come to kill, steal, and destroy. Simply, we will never be of one accord with them until they turn away from what they are, unless we join the great falling away from Christ to have unity with them.

  • “The Traditional Plan would maintain the current standards of the UMC regarding sexual ethics while giving a “gracious exit” option for churches and clergy who cannot accept those standards.” (Christian Post)
    The Traditional Plan would protect a lot of homosexuals to not go to Hell.
    We need to pray for this assembly to return to Christ.

  • Where, in the gospells, does Jesus say that “homosexuals are going to Hell”? The gospels do not mention “homosexuals”.

  • There is something so very wrong when churches who purport to follow the teachings of Jesus — the two greatest commandments — choose bigotry.

  • Apparently “what unites them” is a common goal to take of #1 first…hence the decision to discuss pensions for those who leave before the plans themselves.

  • I suggest you read I Corinthians 6:9-11
    Ephesians 5:5
    Leviticus 18 and 20
    Galatians 5:19-21
    Revelation 21:8

  • Juicy Ecumenism is reporting that delegates at United Methodism’s General Conference, meeting as legislative committee, endorsed the Traditional Plan today by 56% to 44% with a plenary session vote scheduled for tomorrow.

  • Ah, yes! And you know the mind of Christ, because you are certain that the way that you read Scripture is the way that God thinks. Yet, if I remember correctly, Scripture also says, “my ways are not your ways,” and “my thoughts are not your thoughts”. But of course, your thoughts are God’s thoughts, because you say so.

    OK, I get it.

  • I just want to make clear that there is no discussion with the LBGT lobbyists and activists.

    It is their way, or it is the highway.

  • I read the bill and some comments on it. You are either deliberately stating alternate facts or you have serious reading comprehension issues.

  • Or maybe they just wanted to start with the least controversial item, not a bad idea of you are searching for unity or at least good will. Such an early vote also eases anxieties and reduces the chances of retribution voting if it is left as the last item.

  • You could say that God Said it, as long as you believe in the scripture! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The scripture is very clear on this matter and I am baffled why it is even up for discussion. Love them all, but not the sin.

  • The Gospels do not address pedophilia, bestiality or wife-beating. The vast majority of teaching is addressed to Jews, who had the Law, which plainly condemns homosexuality. Obviously, Jesus never amended God’s condemnation of it.

  • Yes, there appears to be shallow support for the same sex agenda.

    However, they also voted to make liberal provision for congregations that wish to exit.

    Oddly that proposal has been opposed by the LGBT contingent. I assume they figured they were not going to be the ones who were going to be leaving.

  • Where does it say pederasts, murderers, perpetrators of genocide, and on and on and on are going to Hell?

    Jesus was talking to the Jews who already knew what was sinful.

  • She was faced with a choice: go with 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian teaching and tradition, or go with you and William D. Lindsey.

    She chose wisely.

  • I fail to see what the two greatest commandments have to do with church supported and sanctioned sin?? Please enlighten us. We don’t have the authority to redefine sin!

  • I agree in general, but putting it first indicates the mindset of “take-care-of-me-first”. Bad optics.

  • If the 21% that prioritized the “Simple Plan” had shifted their support to the more tolerant-of-conservatives “One Church Plan”, they would most likely be voting on the One Church Plan tomorrow, not the Traditional.

  • This discussion is an exact replica of what is happening in todays political and social discussion of our county. The progressive, liberal, everything goes agenda versus the conservative we have rules and standards agenda.
    God loves all his creation. He gave us a guide to live our life His way, to realize our sinful nature, accept him as our savior, repent of and turn from our sins , be redeamed by his grace and have everlasting life. God set forth his plan for mankind as man and women. Homosexuality is mans and Satan’s plan and telling God his plan is not good enough. God has rules. The rich young ruler ask Jesus how could he inherit God’s kingdom. Jesus said give all you have away and follow me. He could not do that. Jesus loved him before and after the question, but to Jesus’s saddness, if the man did not obey, he did not inherit the kingdom. Homosexuals refuse to admit and repent from their sin. God loves them, Christians love them. God made the rules, not man

  • Radical sexual progressivism is the most dangerous ideology in North America. In its seductive wake, it has destroyed entire denominations, and quite arguably all it has done is change churches from believing in the infallibility of the Bible to believing in the infallibility of the American Psychological Association. It’s time for this beast to be exorcised.

  • According to nasty minded Fundamentalists who only define Christian as “agreeing with their personal prejudices”

  • St. Paul does not quote Jesus.
    Leviticus is the OT, so the writer could not have quoted Jesus.

    The verse in Revelations does not quote Jesus.
    Except for the Leviticus text, none of the citations mention same-sex relations.

  • “The progressive, liberal, everything goes agenda versus the conservative we have rules and standards agenda.”

    Except to conservatives, rules and standards are meant to be enforced against others, never themselves. “Virtue is for thee, not for me”. As seen in both politics and religion. When dealing with outsiders, they are all full of blood and thunder about “rule of law” and “enforcement of rules” but when dealing with each other its nothing but excuses, equivocation, lying and “forgiveness”. When a conservative christian talks of “sin”, they only talk of the sins of people they personally despise. They never talk of the sins of those they support or expect things from.

    Somehow the bigotry against gays is more important than far more explicit exhortations against greed, malice, indifference to suffering, adultery, and lying. Essentially its just an excuse to act like a raging bigot in public and expect some kind of social acceptance it would not otherwise deserve. Enabling bigotry has been a major appeal for conservative religious belief since inception.

  • Which means Christians only follow the laws in the OT they feel like. Usually when they want to act tough or enable personal bigotry.

  • Moses received the law from the God who identified Himself as I AM.

    In John 8:58 Jesus identified Himself as that God. Nuff said.

  • God gave two great commandments. Love Him with all our strength, mind and soul, and also to love our neighbors as ourselves. Then he gave us the rules we are to live be based on these rules. He created male and female to be husband and wife. Leviticus 18: 22-30 States what God felt about unnatural sex. v-22 KJV states” It is disgusting for a man to have sex with another man.” The following says it all. “A Definitive Standard” “You can believe anything you want.” “We each have to determine what is right for ourselves.” “That may be true for you; I have my own truth.” The frightening thing about these modern view points is that those who believe them become the definers of truth and reality. They leave no room for objective truth or absolutes. Yet if there are no absolutes determined by a God who is higher then us as human beings, then we are all gods; or else no truth exists, and we have nothing to bind us together or define how we should treat each other. God did not leave his people in such a philosophical quagmire. He clearly spelled out moral and spiritual absolutes, and warned his people to seek ultimate truth from him, not other sources (LV 20.6-8). we who live today do well to pay attention to God’s unchanging word. Apart from him, how can we co-exist. By what standards will we define issues such as community, honesty, ethics, truth, morality, crime, and justice? Apart from his help, we are on a destructive path in a world where everyone is always right and no one is wrong.
    (The above quote is from the comments area of my World Life Bible by Nelson)

  • absolute
    a good scripture reference for your comment is:

    Colossians 2:8English Standard Version (ESV)

    8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

  • I was thinking of the protesters.

    I don’t even care what side they’re on this should be a dignified event.

  • “Homosexuality is mans and Satan’s plan and telling God his plan is not good enough.” . . . Sounds good enough for me.

    If I were going to worship a supernatural being, I’d choose Satan simply based on your “God’s Word” which “documents” that God killed about 2,500,000 people, and Satan killed about 10. If we try to estimate the additional killings that are not “documented” with specific numbers, then God’s killings zoom to about 25,000,000 while Satan’s killings zoom to about 60. It’s no contest – God is an egotistical barbaric genocidal maniac, whereas Satan is a progressive liberal with much higher standards of decency.

  • Well Fletch, as one of the usual punishments was stoning, I suppose it could be an unwritten method, but, that said, Christ did call for their death, then turned around and died for them should they accept His offer of salvation

    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • No matter who you quote it from, it’s still self serving nonsense. But then we only have self service at the Morality Cafe.

    You believe in your god. Wonderful. I don’t. Two thirds of the people in the world don’t, and half of your “faith” condemns the other half for not having the right sort of Beliefs, and that goes BOTH ways . So please, skip the “god’s word” nonsense. Your version of god’s word. Muslims also have a version of god’s word. Same god, more or less.

    You may consider yourself a god, certainly, if the only thing keeping you from thinking it is a belief in some other god. That’s your problem, not the world’s problem. If the only thing stopping you from raping, killing, stealing, lying, and cheating on your wife is god, then please recuse yourself from society. I don’t have that problem. I don’t consider myself a god.

    By what standards? Your inability to comprehend the complexities of morality are also not my problem, until you decide to make them my problem. Then WE have a problem.

  • More self serving nonsense. It isn’t radical sexual progressivism, whatever the hell that is, but the inability of certain people to give up their prejudices against people they don’t know, know nothing about, and who have done no harm, claiming to speak for god, demanding dominion, and not willing to extend to gay people the same courtesy, respect, and self determination that you willingly extend to all of the other people you believe are going to burn in hell forever, because they don’t share you so-called religious beliefs.

  • “and not willing to extend to gay people the same courtesy, respect, and self determination that you willingly extend to all of the other people you believe are going to burn in hell forever, ” There is no Christian yet, who hasn’t needed to renounce their sin to be accepting into the family.

  • Conservative we have rules and standards versus liberal anything goes? More straw men then a cornfield in Kansas.

    And then you continue the slander.

  • Yes. And the gospel of John was written sometime towards the end of the first century. The writing conventions of that time did not take worry about the accuracy of direct quotes applied to people. There is no way to know that Jesus ever said any such thing. You may believe that He did, but that is very different from considering that to be fact.

  • His followers maintained homosexuality being worthy of death, Alexandra, and Christ, in the Book of Revelation maintains that truth

  • You know nothing about Christ other than what is recorded in the gospels — and that includes the two greatest commandments which you referenced below. Go ahead and disregard those too, why don’t you?

    Jesus claimed the identity of God in all of the gospels, not just John. He called the scriptures the words and commands of God, and the OT writers the messengers of God. And He taught from those scriptures non-stop, from the opening day of His earthly ministry to His last few words on the cross.

    Any other questions about Jesus’ relationship to scripture?

  • Your definition of Christian includes only those who share your personal prejudice. It is quite narrow and send serving. You choose to define the truth by such petty hate. You cheapen it.

  • PHEW I mean YAAAY!

    (1) “Delegates at United Methodism’s General Conference in St. Louis, meeting as legislative committee, endorsed the Traditional Plan by 56% to 44%. … The One Church Plan to liberalize the church’s policy on sexuality was rejected 53% to 47%.”

    (2) “The Traditional Plan — with some amendments — won approval in the General Conference legislative committee, clearing a major hurdle in The United Methodist Church’s top lawmaking body. … The legislative committee voted for the Traditional Plan, which seeks to strengthen enforcement of the denomination’s homosexuality prohibitions, as amended by 461 to 359.”

    Source: (1) Mark Tooley, “United Methodist Traditional Plan Advances”, Juicy Ecumenism: The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Blog, February 25, 2019. (2) Kathy L. Gilbert and Heather Hahn, “Legislative committee passes Traditional Plan”, UM News, February 25, 2019.

  • “Except for the Leviticus text, none of the citations mention same-sex relations.” – The Gospel according to William D. Lindsey, Chapter 1, verse 4.

  • You would need to be a Christian to make that determination, Spud. So far, you haven’t passed the self-serving, atheist test yet

  • “The Traditional Plan would protect a lot of homosexuals to not go to Hell.”

    That’s exactly the sort of thinking that causes most LGBT to view traditional Christianity as an enemy that has declared war on them. It’s also why a lot of liberals object to seeing overly generous tax exemptions for religions who target the civil rights of others as part of their beliefs. Once we get the “Christian White” out of power in DC, it will be time to stop the government tax subsidy.

  • Actually, it declared war on the enemy of Christianity, who they follow.
    We just don’t want them to go to Hell

  • Well sweetheart – He breathed the Bible into existence – now do a search and find out what that means.
    thanks

  • I dont know if you are lying about reading it, or are just didn’t understand it, but an adult can have sex with a minor up to 10 years younger, and it will only be a misdemeanor. Clearly, this means an age of majority, 18 year old, can have sex with an 8 year old. Clearly, all the pervert Democrat (attorney) California legislators know that after a bit, a 40 to 60 year old pervert Democrat with challange this in a California court, with a pervert Democrat judge, claiming this law is age discriminatory by allowing 18 year old pervert Democrats to have sex with 8 year olds but not 60 year old pervert Democrats. It is obvious a California pervert Democrat judge will agree. A little more time will pass, and the pervert Democrats will make it completely legal to have sex with 8 year olds. Clearly, this is being incrementally staged.
    For many decades, one pervert Democrat group has been demanding, for many decades, that adults should be able to legally have sex with kids as young as 8 years olds. During the more recent years, they lowered the age to 3 year olds, and then lowered the age to birth.
    This post is for Republicians. You know Democrats always lie about everything.
    Just like it is impossible to be a Muslim and a Christian at the same time, it is impossible for a person to be a real Christian and a Democrat at the same time. Beyond this issue, Democrats believe in evolution, deny babies are marvelously formed in the womb; moreover, all Democrats gayly support the mass murder of kids for the sake of greed and ambition: 99% of all abortions in the USA are done for greed and ambitions. Beyond all this, Democrats are bloodthirsty pervert monsters: they are literal wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  • Wanting to control the lives of people and to play God on who they naturally are is reprehensible and horrifying. No decent person should want to support your medieval “values.” Trying to force people to live against their nature and natural state is “hell on earth.”

  • Delegates to a special session of the United Methodist Church decided Sunday (Feb. 24) to start deliberations over the denomination’s future by talking about money.

    Then they will talk about sex.

    They should stick to talking about sex and money. If they start talking about religion, things might get dicey.

  • Your position is Leviticus counts only to others and only to sound tough.

    It’s all lame excuses for being a hypocrite and a vile person to others. Your Christianity is big in excuses for your actions, Short on much discussed by Jesus.

  • Your version of Christianity has no redeeming features to it. Apparently it’s appeal is in attacking others and being obnoxious without a hint of responsibility or self awareness.

  • What Christians do is follow what the Apostles said in Acts 15, not what “they feel like”.

    That’s Acts 15, Spud. Don’t act like you’ve never heard of it.

    People here have only mentioned it to you a zillion times!

  • Got, it, sweetheart.

    You have clarified your perspective very well.
    What’s missing here is any sign of humility. But since you cherry-pick what you will follow in Scripture, that’s understandable.

  • Leviticus 18:22 in Hebrew is pronounced “zā-ār lōṯiš-ka miš-kə-ê ’iš-šāh tō-w-‘ê-āh hî”. A decidedly plain and uncomplicated reading renders it as, “And with a male you shall not lie as with a woman, which is an abomination, a detestable act, an object of loathing.”

    Question is, Is abominable, detestable and loathsome all “disgusting”? Let’s see:

    In Oxford Universities Dictionary, “abominable [means] causing moral revulsion”; “detestable [means] deserving intense dislike”; and “loathsome [means] causing hatred or disgust; repulsive.”

    BINGO! IT IS “DISGUSTING”, BY DEFINITION!

  • Yes!

    Jeremiah 1:4 – “The Word of the Lord came to me, saying…”

    And we know that Jesus is the Word. The One who speaks to man in the Old Testament is the Word, Jesus Christ.

  • “What’s missing here is any sign of humility.”

    Yes, but that is characteristic of all your posts.

  • As if you know what Jesus “discussed”?

    Did you buy a “Son O’ God” comic book, “The New Testament Illustrated”?

  • I do think most heterosexuals would be happy to allow LGBT men to marry one each LGBT women, thus extending the same courtesy and respect they extend to all other people. Of course that is NOT what you want, is it?

    The long “but the inability of certain people to give up their prejudices against people they don’t know, know nothing about, and who have done no harm, claiming to speak for god, demanding dominion, and not willing to extend to gay people the same courtesy, respect, and self determination that you willingly extend to all of the other people …” can be boiled down to one word – religion.

    You hate religion. You hate people who adhere to religion. You detest the notion that for 3,000 years Abrahamic religions have classified your particular avocation a sin, and vast numbers – in fact the majority of them – still do.

  • So, you’re gay? Or were you the victim of greed, malice, indifference to suffering, adultery, or lying?

    Or are you simply – as the Sultan of Abortion – trying to adopt some sort of superior moral pose to try the curse off the rest of your beliefs?

  • Why are you loitering about, then?!

    “Meet me in St. Louis, Louis,
    Meet me at the fair,
    Don’t tell me the lights are shining
    Any place but there,
    We will dance the Hoochee Koochee,
    I will be your tootsie wootsie,
    If you will meet in St. Louis, Louis,
    Meet me at the fair.”

  • That’s NOT what the bill says. The misdemeanor is for not registering as a sexual offender. And the bill does not change that fact.

  • Gosh, how do you explain what happened to Timothy McVeigh and David Koresh?

    You can’t because you’re spouting BS off the top of your head.

  • So that’s why Frédéric Martel, Jussie Smollett, Ed Buck & Terry Bean are all turned on by ElleGeeBeeTease, you’re saying?!

  • Will said, especially as exhibited by their support for a man in office who is the polar opposite of Christian example.

  • People who make replies like that tend to cherry pick and make excuses for themselves while hanging milestones around the necks of people they don’t like or understand.

  • You already proved me correct. Your entire first post relies on the “Leviticus is for you, never for me” position.

  • Those that want “Biblical Rules” and those that want “Sharia Law” are generally only stating that they want control

  • So you think all those Old Testament laws apply to Christians?

    You must, or you wouldn’t be faulting Christians for “fail[ing] to live by all the Law therein…”

    So, why do you think Christians should live “all the Law therein”?

    Do enlighten us.

  • The Noahide Law is applicable to all people. The ceremonial and other Old Testament Laws were specific for the Jewish people.

    See the decree of the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) to learn what parts of the Law are applicable to Christians. Laws about not eating shrimp, wearing two fabrics, etc., do not apply to Christians. Moral Laws, such as those against sexual immorality (which includes homosexuality) still apply.

  • Nope. The Law was monolithic. Modern attempts to explain away parts of it to ignore while using other parts to condemn others isn’t godly nor an accurate interpretation.

    Jesus fulfilled ALL of the Law in Himself and then gave us only two: love God and love your neighbor.

    Why is that so hard for you to do?

  • The list in Acts 15 (which doesn’t comment on sexual immorality) excludes the commandments. If the following is all that Christian non-Jewish people should do, Christianity itself needs to be redefined.
    “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

  • The more I read comments on this channel, the more I am convinced that Jesus’ teachings are simple and extremely difficult, and most people prefer to live within a complex network of rules and prohibitions.

  • The Law may have been monolithic wrt Jews, but the Gentiles were held to a much older and more generalized standard. And that standard dovetails with what the observant Jewish church came up with at the Jerusalem Council. It was basically a preservation of the Gentile status-quo.

  • Um, no. The whole problem with the Pharisees was that they claimed to not be sinners, and therefore could not come to repentance.

    I think we all know who was claiming, loudly, to be “without sin” at the Methodist Conference.

  • True. I understand the need for structure, but it doesn’t take long before it gets rigid and suffocating.

  • The Pharisees were *obsessed* with the Law, with excluding and vilifying the marginalized… Those that the Pharisees hated were those who Jesus loved and didn’t condemn.

  • Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this, and they asked Him, “Are we blind too?” “If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” John 9:40-41

    He loved the Pharisees, too, but they would not own up to their own sinfulness and come to repentance and forgiveness, like the “conventionally sinful” did quite readily. Compare with the grief and penitence of Mary of Bethany, who is often confused with Mary Magdalene (Luke 7).

  • Of course they were sinners, as we all are. The point you seem to overlook is how the Pharisees used the Law to ostracize and exclude others, not to love them as Christ so tenderly did.

  • It takes your take to make me laugh at my own angry-ish silliness toward this Oscar Wilde the LXV here. I mean, what does one say to comments like, “They would most likely be voting on the One Church Plan tomorrow, not the Traditional”?!?!?! Then hop on your horsie and gidya on up there to “St. Louis, Louis”, yourself, O Wilde Childe, to improve on the odds that “they would most likely be voting on the One Church Plan tomorrow, not the Traditional”, wydoncha?!?!?!

  • “Of course” they were sinners? That would have been news to them. They had no more idea of their unworthiness than our resident atheists who wax eloquent (day and night, in fact) about what nice people they are, so nice that they don’t need no stinkin’ God OR His forgiveness.

    What they were doing was not so much “ostracizing” anyone but creating a multiplicity of small, but in the aggregate burdensome, entirely man-made traditions which obscured the actual laws of God and in many cases even nullified it altogether (see Mark 7 for examples). Much of it was for the purpose of making life with the pagan overlords easier.

  • The “infallability” of the bible? The book that says bats are birds, and that the sun revolves around the earth?

  • “Wanting to control the lives of people and to play God on who they naturally are”

    That’s the kind of thinking that has everyone confusing biblical truth with contemporary culture. The Bible nowhere treats the subject of homosexuality as an orientation, it is always considered in terms of behavior. And no one is “playing God” on the issue, we consider scripture to contain God’s truths divinely revealed to those who wrote it, revealed truth is God being God, not someone “playing” God.

  • Under certain taxonomy criteria, it might be quite logical to lump bats with birds. And show me where the precise wording of the Bible uses “revolves around the earth”? Recording relative motion says little about trustworthiness.

  • Your intellectual dishonesty is remarkable. I’ve said nothing about hell; what I have implied is that today’s sexual ideology is a religious competitor— and a dangerously false one at that. A nation that is porn-addicted, divorce laden and abortion riddled, has nothing to teach anyone about homosexuality and transgendered identity. It disqualifies itself from any moral authority, by default.

  • It doesn’t matter whether you want to talk about hell or. Or. It’s strictly metaphorical, meaning the damning that some religious people express when they think they are speaking for god.

    The people that claim moral authority in these matters simply assume that they are right. You’re not. And the morality of what has been done to gay people for 2000 years, like the morality of everything else you have done— Christians murdering Christians, Jews, witches, gay people, Muslims, and everyone else— simply doesn’t bother you.

    dominionist Christianity, like its Islamic counterpart, long ago disqualified itself from anything approaching moral authority.

  • That’s the problem. You think you speak for God. Lots of people disagree with you, including Other Christians.

  • Your so-called “biblical truth” comes from mixing modern bigotry with ambiguous old scribblings “translated” by other bigots with axes to grind. That’s why scholars without such a perspective don’t find any such anti-gay “truth” there. That said, you are free to believe any sort of nonsense of your choosing; you just don’t get to impose it on others.

  • The Apostles specified abstaining from those specific acts,-which Gentiles were seen as particularly prone to – but did not require of them other things specified in the Law – such as abstention from pork, circumcision, etc.

    They came from a tradition in which certain things were understood and taken for granted – such as one knowing what constituted “sexual immorality”. Hence there was no need to enumerate a detailed list of those acts already condemned by God and understood to be sexually immoral, things such as adultery, beastiality, and – yes – homosexual relations.

    Note: the clause about “what is strangled” does not appear in many manuscripts, and is of doubtful authenticity.

  • ” Hence there was no need to enumerate a detailed list of those acts already condemned by God and understood to be sexually immoral, things such as adultery, beastiality, and – yes – homosexual relations.”
    That’s incorrect: Romans and Greeks didn’t have problems with homosexuality. It’s thereby hazardous to suppose that “sexual immorality” included homosexuality for them.
    On top of that, the teachings of Jesus never referred to homosexuality. Prejudices against homosexuality have a cultural matrix and have little to do with a soteriology based upon unconditional compassion and forgiveness.

  • I rally on the whole Bible, There are more scriptures in new testament then old on and Christ’s laws for us to follow in regards to what he found disgusting and immoral. You cannot pick what rules you like and what rules you don’t. Christ is the ultimate Judge and no matter what you believe or do here on Earth he has the final say. So make your own rules live in a sinful way, but be prepared for the final judgement and pray/hope Christ sees it your way. I choose to stand on the bible and what it says and stands for.

  • Not only Leviticus but Several books in the new testament. Did you even look at the verses that were posted earlier on where to look in bible for Christs views and his rules. I post again those books to go read on God and Christ stand on these issues. Fom another readers post “Leviticus 18:22 in Hebrew is pronounced “zā-ār lōṯiš-ka miš-kə-ê ’iš-šāh tō-w-‘ê-āh hî”. A decidedly plain and uncomplicated reading renders it as, “And with a male you shall not lie as with a woman, which is an abomination, a detestable act, an object of loathing. From another post “I suggest you read I Corinthians 6:9-11
    Ephesians 5:5
    Leviticus 18 and 20
    Galatians 5:19-21
    Revelation 21:8

  • Wrong again. Of course Greek and Romans had no problem with homosexuality -they celebrated it, even in their religions. See the perverted cult of Antinous, Hadrian’s sexual boy-toy.

    But we were not talking about Greeks and Romans; we were discussing the Apostles’ teaching, which spoke from the matrix of God’s revelation. Within that God directed milieu, homosexuality was clearly seen as sinful.

    So Jesus never referred to homosexuality? He also never referred to pedophilia and beastiality. Are you going to now argue that those sins are therefore acceptable? Some in your “progressive” wing are already advocating that. How long before you hop on board?

    So in sum, the teachings of Jesus never approved of or referred to homosexuality. There was no need to refer to it, as it had long been condemned by God.

    There ONLY forms of sexual activity He approved of in His teachings were heterosexual marriage and celibacy.

  • “But we were not talking about Greeks and Romans”
    And who were the Gentiles that they were talking to?
    “Jesus never referred to homosexuality? He also never referred to pedophilia and beastiality.”
    And didn’t refer to hiking and watching comedies: are these “perverted cults”?
    “it had long been condemned by God.”
    Jesus’ teachings sound quite distant from the injunction to stoning and genocide in the Deuteronomy or Leviticus. They should be taken for what they are, not assuming that they should necessarily follow other biblical books. The teachings of Jesus are extremely innovative in that respect.

  • Yes, we cannot pick and choose. We must follow Christ and the God-taught Apostles.

    And what they taught us is clearly set forth in their decision at their Council in Jerusalem, Acts 15: abstain from idolatry, blood, and sexual immorality.

    “Sexual immorality” must be understood within the Divinely-inspired culture in which they lived, and included adultery, fornication, beastiality, and homosexuality.

  • “…who were the Gentiles they were talking to?”

    They were “Greeks”who had converted to Christianity, at that time largely from the “God fearers”, Gentiles who were previously interested in Judaism and familiar with its teachings, hence their questions about the applicability of the Law to those who now followed “the Way”. They would have been quite familiar with the interpretive matrix natural to the Apostles.

    Pedophilia and beastiality are condemned in the Old Testament. Hiking and watching forms of drama were not considered sins. Mentioning them is a classic red herring.

    Jesus’ teaching does differ from the injunction to stone certain classes of sinners. For example, He intervened in the attempted stoning of an adulterous women. He simply exhorted her to repent. Christians follow His example in their dealings with homosexuals, likewise exhorting them to repent of their sin.

  • None. The Apostles did not command us to either observe the Sabbath, or to stone anybody for any cause.

  • My question to all these LGBTQ clergy in the UMC: you knew the proscription against such conduct in the Book of Discipline when you went to seminary and before you were ordained and yet you went ahead despite the prohibition. Why did you go through with it then? There are plenty of other denominations which will endorse your lifestyle choices and will even allow you to be clergy, but you stuck with the place where you knew–YOU KNEW–that it was forbiddden. Why? Who is really causing the problems? Why do you think that your (wrong) interpretation of the Holy Writ should be enforced on everyone? Who are YOU to say that? Why can’t the Methodist church be allowed to reaffirm orthodox sexual ethics and you can go elsewhere? It seems like the problems are rooted in your own ego and all about YOU.

  • Christ said, “Go and sin no more.” Guess Jesus was bigoted, too. I love how some of these woke followers of Jesus think they are more Jesus than Jesus.

  • “Pedophilia and beastiality are condemned in the Old Testament.”
    Could you please post some passage from the Old Testament wherein paedophilia is openly condemned?

  • So the issue is money. It is always about the money. Solve the money issue and a theological/biblical interpretation of sexual issues follows. Spiritually that is the cart before the horse.

    When money is last, or not considered at all, then and only then will I believe the UMC (or any church for that matter) is really concerned about right/wrong decisions. Money demands compromise. If theology can be compromised then it isn’t much of a theology.

    Follow. The. Money. If there is no money to follow then there is no institution of anything — no schools, no businesses, no government, no sports teams, and indeed no religious denominations.

  • ????????????
    I don’t remember any gospel passages where Jesus was telling a gay person to stop having same sex relations.

  • Slavery was justified not just as “traditional” but as Biblical. Leviticus commands that male adulterers be killed, but only females who have pre-marital sex are to be killed. Yet the churches fail to practice these commands. And Jesus appears to condemn divorce. Yet the church allows for divorce.

  • Slavery was justified as Biblical.
    Leviticus commands that male adulterers be killed, but only females who
    have pre-marital sex are to be killed. Yet the churches fail to practice
    these commands. And Jesus appears to condemn divorce. Yet the church
    allows for divorce.

  • So, Ben is actually thoroughly convinced of his own santimony, and while discounting the words of the Bible, asserts himself as his own moral authority. That’s nothing but monumental egotism. Welcome to your own cult.

  • No, dear, I’m not. I am thoroughly convinced, however, that religion– whether yours, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or any of the rest of them, have long claimed to be moral arbiters, representing the word o’ god– but which god, of course, is another matter– when in fact, you represent only yourselves.
    I discount the words of the bible, not because I am convinced of my own holiness, but because you and it have failed to convince me or any rational person that you represent god, morality, or anything but yourselves, power, money, and dominion.
    Monmumental egotism is thinking that you, a mere mortal, are rivy to the mind of god, privy to his relationship with any other soul on the planet, and that you thoroughly understand your particular understanding of your particular translation of your particular holy book, allegedly created by people thousands of years distant from us in time, culture, language, morals, law, science, and knowledge…
    …that you represent the forcers of good and morality…
    … and that in your monumental egotism, you can stand in place of your god and judge other people when he expressly told you NOT TO…
    and on more than one occasion.
    Now it’s your turn to tell me how you are in fact allowed ot judge others, because whenever your bible says something inconvenient or contrary to your quite mortal and mundane purposes, it must mean something else entirely.

  • As Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.”

    Jesus knew that people can be easily swayed to do Satan’s bidding without them even knowing it.

    The scriptures are clear on marriage being for a man and woman, (per Jesus and God), and that sexual relations (of any type) outside of this marriage bond approved by God is absolutely SIN.

    Please explain how God’s and Jesus’s directions no longer apply to our generation?

  • Beastiality: Exodus 22:19

    Pedophilia: You are correct. I was actually thinking of Matthew 18:6. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

    The Greek gymnasia were magnets for homosexual ephebophilia, which was probably one (of many) reasons pious Jews were offended by them in the Old Testament (I and II Maccabees).

  • So the red herring has become orange, at its best.
    The point is: there is a hiatus between OT teachings inciting to violence and Jesus’ teachings. Ascribing OT teachings to Jesus (whether the homophobic ones, or the orders to massacre people) is arbitrary.
    Jesus never talked about homosexuality, and we have no evidence to say that he cared about that.

  • You are assuming that Jesus meant that the Leviticus prohibitions against same-sex relations were to continue to apply. OK. Why, then, do you not assume that all of the other many prohibitions in Leviticus were not supposed to continue to be applicable? Jesus did cure the leper, so he had contact with those who were deemed “unclean”. since Jesus did not speak directly to the issue of same-sex relations, how do you know that this was a prohibition that was to continue to apply? Do you still comply with the food prohibitions, or with the ones against mixing different types of materials when weaving cloth? Jesus also said that it was better for a person to cut off a hand, rather than to sin, or to pluck out an eye, rather than to sin with that eye. Have you plucked out your eyes, or cut of limbs?
    If you are going to stick with a literal approach to Scripture, it seems to me that you ought to be consistent.

  • I can tell that you are clearly following your own desires rather than what Jesus taught.

    Jesus taught that it is not what you eat that makes you unclean, but what you have in your heart and what you say that defiles you.

    Jesus was not afraid to address and exorcise demons in people as well.

    If you read the gospels, you will be enlightened by Jesus’s teachings.

    It is your choice to believe and follow Jesus’s guidance or not.

  • I suggest pondering Matthew 25:31–46, the parable of the sheep and the goats. Nary a word about “homosexuality”.

  • I didn’t say anything about homosexuality.

    I said sexual sin, which applies to heterosexuals, homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders, etc.

    You shouldn’t be so concerned about gender, but rather, about avoiding any sexual sin.

    Jesus made it clear that marriage is designed for a man and a woman, and sex is reserved for the marriage bed, so how can this be so difficult to understand and follow?

  • Actually, Jesus did not really speak about “sexual sin”. He spoke much about caring for others and welcoming them.

  • When a man says, “I discount the words of the bible”, he most certainly has dismissed an external authority in the name of his own internal authority. In effect, he “worships” himself by presenting himself as the final arbiter of truth. The reason I speak the way I do, is because I believe that God has been made known in Christ Jesus, and that the Kingdom of God is coming. My authority is not my own. It is His. You may believe otherwise, but that does not negate my claim that your own autonomy is the chief “religious” stumbling block here. Yet, Jesus predicted this very thing, when he said,

    “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” This is actually the essence of the entire problem. Some want God; others want to be god. Welcome to Genesis 3:5.

  • Bats are mammals and a cursory examination will show the fundamental differences. Also, god stopped the Sun so Joshua could complete the capture of Jericho. In a heliocentric system that had to involve stopping the Earth from spinning. Ouch!

    If your book is wrong about such basic things, how are we to judge the god that inspired it?

  • The Bible can be dismissed due to its scientific and historical inaccuracies. It has nothing to do with authority.

  • “When a man says, “I discount the words of the bible”, he most certainly has dismissed an external authority in the name of his own internal authority. In effect, he “worships” himself by presenting himself as the final arbiter of truth.

    When a man says, “I absolutely accept the words of the bible as the absolute word of god”, despite the lack of evidence of that god apart form the bible, the inconsistencies and inhumanities of the bible, and the evidence of all of the other religions that the Chrisitan story is nonsense, he most certainly has dismissed an external authority in the name of his own internal authority. In effect, he “worships” himself by presenting himself as the final arbiter of truth.
    See it works both ways. You just declared yourself to be the final arbiter of truth. Muslims declare the Quran is the absolute last word of god, and with every bit of as much authority is you claim.
    The rest of your statements can be similarly dismissed.

  • Bats are only “mammals” to you, because you and I live under a system where mammary glands and fur matter more than the classification of which animals fly. Hence, this is merely a classification issue, not a question of fallibility. And as the for whole heliocentric issue, why would relative motion be your stumbling block? Honestly, if we speak of this text as a miracle (and the text even implies that it was to those who were there), then we are left with the speculation of how God did it, not whether it could happen or not. But I suspect you dismiss all miraculous things out of hand, because you are not a theist in the slightest. But that’s not the Bible’s problem; that’s your problem.

  • I maintain that authority exists in an objective sense. This is why God is no enemy of science. Trouble is, the post-modernists of our day think that all authority is subjective. Therein lies the rub.

  • Thanks for the self-centered rant. The truth of the matter is that LGBTQ are usually among the first to give Christ-like community service to others. Folks like you are more likely to complain about people not “deserving” the “sacrifice” of your time and effort. The “hearers” of the word are often the first to complain about everything.

  • “…. we who live today do well to pay attention to God’s unchanging word….”

    Which of several hundred versions of that “unchanging word” are you referring to? And a new edition or translation has probably changed the “unchanging word” while you were ranting.

  • The people who wrote the Quran would agree with you, and would say it isn’t the Christians who are being objective.

    So how do you objectively decide whose subjective authority is objective?

  • The notion that authority exists in an objective sense was memorialized in the Declaration of Independence in word authored by Thomas Jefferson:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Muslims have no belief comparable to it.

  • Your correspondent appears to be arguing for consistency in following the moral laws.

    As a Christian he may not, for example, worship on Saturday.

  • ????????????

    I don’t remember any gospel passages where Jesus was telling a thief to knock off the stealing.

  • “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…”
    And yet, not a thing to do with god, or with god being an objective authority. your god, their god, anyone’s god.
    Thanks for proving my point.

  • Since it references a Creator, and is a statement of natural law, it disproves your rejecting “that authority exists in an objective sense”, which is David MacKenzie’s point.

    It does not require a belief in this or that religion.

  • “In a heliocentric system that had to involve stopping the Earth from spinning.”

    So you’re no longer arguing that the Bible teaches that the sun revolves around the earth, you’re arguing that god is not omnipotent.

  • You seem to speak for some position or group. Are you saying ONLy certain positions or groups are suspect, while your positions and group(s) are A-OK?

  • If Yahweh said it, does that count?

    If Paul said it, does that count?

    If the entire Church believed it to be the moral law, would that count?

    What exactly do you think counts may I ask?

  • Hmmmm. 24 comments, and an obsessive following of my comments made from TWO MONTHS AGO!!!!!!!!!!!
    Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have yet another identity from our prolific Mark/Bob/Robert/Draco/Utah/Jose.
    You’re such a Pierre.

  • David wrote “I maintain that authority exists in an objective sense.”

    The Declaration of Independence supports that position.

    Do you?

  • In sorry but I guess I missed something. In Paul’s letters he often mentions sisters in the faith doing good works. Jesus endorsed,proclaimed, and values greatly Marth, Mary, and Mary Magdalene as sisters in the faith. So there is a continuity of women in places of ordination. I would presume that your statement is based on the Old Testament and the Levinical Laws, but can not know for sure

  • That would be a “mirror, mirror” comment, but sadly holy hypocrites like self-absorbed cats, cannot see their own reflections.

  • Exactly. The circular thinking of the holy hypocrite crowd is actually a slow, downward spiral toward idiotic oblivion. Dinosaurs and dodo birds have a brighter future than “traditional” Christians and they’re extinct.

  • I apologize because this is my first time here. What exactly is it you do believe, and how do your beliefs impact the beliefs of others?

  • I would argue that the parable does include a mandate to take good care of children, but that’s another conversation. 🙂

  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all
    your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and
    first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as
    yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • The basic premise of our approach to Scripture is incompatible. I don’t take Scripture literally. You apparently do. This brings this conversation to a screeching halt.

  • What appears to be bringing the conversation to a screeching halt is this:

    You say you don’t take Scripture literally.

    However, you have already taken issue with entire books – Leviticus – and authors – Paul – which seems to indicate your copy of Scriptures has some x’ed out pages.

    Nor have you articulated a cogent summary of just how you do interpret Scripture.

    Thus your correspondents seem to conclude that you know what you like, and you know what you don’t, nothing more.

    As your response to my query illustrates, you don’t seem to be able to respond beyond that.

    And that brings your conversations, and not just with me, to a screeching halt.

  • That doesn’t seem to cancel the Ten Commandments or the moral law.

    How are you interpreting it?

    “Be pleasant.”?

  • There aren’t enough gay people in the world to effect the changes so many anti gay people think we have power over. You might want to look at heterosexuals who support Gay people, not despite what their bibles say, but BECAUSE of what their bibles say. You would probably find that the vast majority of the people who support gay marriage, 65%, are HETEROSEXUAL.

    As for the rest of your complaint, perhaps these gay people have served in the Methodist church becuase they were called to the ministry by GOD, DESPITE the strictures and prejudices of men.

  • As you know, Bob, natural law has two meanings, the meaning held in physics, and the special Catholic meaning which is simply catholic and not natural— I’m Catholic, I believe it because it seems good to me, therefore it is true.

    Please do better in disguising yourself. Or don’t.

  • Your correspondent was pretty clear in referencing Jefferson’s passage.

    There is one hell of lot more to natural law than “physics” and “the special Catholic meaning”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

    For example, international relies substantially on natural law theory.

    All you’re demonstrating is you don’t understand either the issues or the comments.

  • I don’t dispute what the article says. But I know to whom I was speaking. And these days, it is a phrase used primarily by Catholics to assert that their particular viewpoints are ensconced in both law and nature, which really makes it no different than all of the other uses of the term in the article.

    Here’s natural law for you. Homosexuality has existed in every land, society, and culture that we know of. It exists across a good portion of the warm blooded animal kingdom. Therefore, homosexuality is completely natural, and SHOULD BE PROTECTED BY NATURAL LAW ADVOCATES.

    But it is not, because natural law tells THEM that the only purpose of sex is reproduction at worst, or at best, between one man and one woman in natural marriage, to use another catholic term.

    But nowhere in nature, apart from humanity, does marriage exist. A good portion of humanity has been polygamous, including Christians. Marriage is complete optional when it comes to sex, as observation of natural humanity will show.

  • I am not an expert in scripture, but I have never seen where having a female clergy/pastor was a sin. I have however seen several places where homosexuality was noted as sinful. Maybe what should be explored is what is sinful (or a rule) in the eyes of God vs. what is a rule of man.

  • “And these days, it is a phrase used primarily by Catholics to assert that their particular viewpoints are ensconced in both law and nature, which really makes it no different than all of the other uses of the term in the article.”

    No, it used in the legal profession, international, and American constitutional law all the time, even by non-Christians.

    “Here’s natural law for you. Homosexuality has existed in every land, society, and culture that we know of. It exists across a good portion of the warm blooded animal kingdom. Therefore, homosexuality is completely natural, and SHOULD BE PROTECTED BY NATURAL LAW ADVOCATES.”

    Here’s how vacant your argument is:

    “Murder has existed in every land, society, and culture that we know of. It exists across a good portion of the warm blooded animal kingdom. Therefore, murder is completely natural, and SHOULD BE PROTECTED BY NATURAL LAW ADVOCATES.”

    Your error, of course, rests upon the fact that you have literally no idea at all what natural law is or means.

    You appear to be grinding an axe, and it appears to be an LGBT axe, but all you’re doing is making it clear you’re not up to the task.

  • I believe the current scientific system of defining birds. mammals, insects etc. was put in place some time after the Bible was written. So sure, a bat could be considered a bird if you do not have the same definition of bird that we do in current times. The same could be said of the sun/earth relationship as the authors would not have had the same knowledge we do now.

    I would be interested to see where you can dispute the actual theoretical framework of the Bible vs. some random words they may not use in the same way we do now.

  • No, I think you just proved my point. Natural law is no guide to morality.

    The law of nature is murder
    Always has been and will be. Thats why we have other ideas of right and wrong.

    Natural law as a basis for moralityis as vacant an idea as you can find.

    Natural law tells you might makez right andthe strong weild authority. We dont do that either.

  • It is obvious you are without a clue as to what natural law is and means.

    Of course natural law is a guide to law and morality; that’s why Jefferson used it as the platform to establish rights. It is why it forms the basis for international law.

    You have some picayune complaints about people with religious beliefs getting in the way of whatever is you want, and nothing else.

  • No, I proved my point.

    And you proved to be completely clueless about natural law.

    Here is what natural law tells us:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

  • That would depend on the definition of the word “bird” in the language being used.

    https://www{dot}biblestudytools.com/dictionary/birds/

    “The Hebrew `ayiT means to ‘tear and scratch the face,’ and in its original form undoubtedly applied to birds of prey.”

    “Later, as birds of song and those useful for food came into their lives, the word was stretched to cover all feathered creatures. In the King James Version `ayiT is translated ‘fowl’ ….”

    “Our earliest known form of the word is the Old English ‘brid,’ but they applied the term to the young of any creature. Later its meaning was narrowed to young produced from eggs, and the form changed to ‘bird’.”

  • Maybe it’s a pickled herring.

    The Word – Jesus – was active in both the Old as well as the New Testament, starting with Creation: “Thru the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their host by the Breath of His mouth.” (Psalm 33:6) -creation thru God’s Word (Jesus) and God’s Spirit. There is no hiatus; the same Lord – Father, Word, and Spirit – are active in both.

    In the New Testament, Jesus never denied what He taught in the Old Testament about the sinfulness of homosexuality.

  • No, you established that natural law is no guide at all to morality. There is nothing in nature or derived from nature that supports the idea of rights. As always, natural law in a social context simply means: seems good to me. In the old days they had divine right of kinGs. We got rid of that because it stopped seeming to be good, not becuase it violated natural law.

  • Of course not. The situation in the 1st Century AD was not the same as the period of the early conquest of the promised land.

  • The very point that Jefferson cites natural law as the source of human rights makes that clear.

    What also seems clear is that another poster put his finger on your own source of morality, and it appears to be “seems good to me”.

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/friendlyatheist1/these_are_the_three_moral_minds_guiding_our_godless_thinking/#comment-4257836175

    But let’s assume you’re just confused by terminology, that all of this law, and morality, and rights stuff is confusing, and given a chance you’ll make clear just what you’re driving at.

    So, let’s begin with the foundation of morality and law.

    What is the source of your rights?

    Why should society let you live at all?

  • You are assuming that the bible was created by some external authority other than man. If you believe that fine, but that is faith.

  • So mark Connelly, are you maintain both identities, so that you can appear to be far more numerous than you are, or did you you get booted off again?

  • Argumentum ex silentio. Try again, please. He also didn’t have a conversation with a murderer telling him to stop killing people. I guess murder is OK, too.

  • Jesus said to His apostles,”Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Christ gave a pretty clear mandate to the Apostles and the Church that it is the Church’s responsibility to set such rules up in accordance with his dictates and commandments.

    But, again, why would LGBTQ persons even wish to be ordained in a faith confession that supposedly is bigoted towards them? Why can’t the Methodists enforce orthodox sexual ethics and if those people wish to serve God, let them do so elsewhere?

  • went to confession to my priest.
    ‘i have a sexual need for sadism,necrophilia and beastiality,what do you think father?’
    priest, ‘you’re flogging a dead horse there my son’.

  • I flagged this one.

    Targeted harassment — posted or encouraged others to post harassing comments or hate speech targeting me, other individuals, or groups

    You’ve been at this for somewhere between one and three years.

    It is beyond annoying, it’s harassing other commenters, and stifling conversation.

  • You miss the point that if a person strongly feels “called of God,” they are not bound by what you claim to be true. They can answer the call on the terms of its issuance or not. You don’t get to pick for them. I have read several books that assert that part of being LGBTQ is to be more naturally attuned to all things spiritual than are heterosexuals. Part of what makes the “queer” or “LGBTQ” person someone apart from the rest of humanity is a stronger need for interpersonal connections, including connection to all things spiritual. That is the reason that 70% of LGBTQ Mormon youth who are still going to church at age 18 serve two-year missions while less than 50% of their straight counterparts do. Similarly, a much greater percentage of LGBTQ Catholics enter the priesthood or service as a nun than do straight counterparts. We do not have good statistics on Protestants but we can reasonably guess that the same is true. Measurably more LGBTQ per capita feel the call to serve than do their straight counterparts. Your frantic, fanatical proclamations to the contrary, God calls more queers per capita to the ministry than straights.

  • I am not obligated to satisfy any of your demands or inquiries, just to give responses that I believe are beneficial to the discussion. Deal with it.

  • Mark Connelly is a known commenter on these pages. As were the rest of his aliases, which were obvious to anyone. I haven’t targeted him, and certainly haven’t stifled any free speech. Because, unlike Mark, I don’t spend my time telling everyone how stupid they are.

    I just checked YOUR comment history. 77 comments, yet, claiming I have been doing X, Y,Or Z for three years. I sincerely doubt you just took it on yourself to check the comment history of someone you just met yesterday. 77 comments, and yet you are demanding to know where I get my morals, insistence on natural law as a basis for anything, siding out of the blue with Mark Connelly, aka Jose Carioca, aka Bob Arnzen, aka any of his other aliases. Why you sound just like you’re Mark Connelly, becuase that is exactly what he has done for the three years he has been here, although I would never accuse you of that.

    Why, someone would almost think he’s running TWO identities on RNS, or three, counting his own. Which I’m pretty sure is aviolation of the terms of service.

    So if you want to make an issue of it, I suspect we can start checking with the good folks here.

  • Do you people EVER stop pretending to be victims of the big bad gay steamroller? You’re not.

    You see, I actually agree with you, The Methodists can do whatever they want to do. Gay people can their 46% straight allies can do whatever they want to do. If they want to stay with a church which has declared them less worthy than your average woman to be a minister, it is no skin off my nose.

    But let us not pretend it is about anything other than the bigotry that hides behind religious belief. The NT says NO to women ministers. TheBaptists have explicated that position thoroughly, as have other fundy churches. It is clear from the words of Paul— far clearer than whatever he has to say about what might be homosexuality— that women are not to be ministers. Yet the Methodists have no problem.

    I would respect you people far more if you would just own your hypocrisy and bigotry and distortion of scripture instead of constantly playing the victim becuase a significant percentage of people don’t agree with you, and it hurts your feelings if people call you bigoted hypocrites.

    I’d say that if the cassock fits…

  • I begin posting, and immediately YOU start checking MY comment history.

    Yes, I have been reading RNS for many years.

    And carefully noting some of the comments by you and a few others.

    Yes, I opened a new account so as not to contaminate my existing one for good reason, as this exchange is illustrating. This sort of sh-t I do not need.

    My “insistence on natural law as a basis for anything, siding out of the blue with Mark Connelly, aka Jose Carioca, aka Bob Arnzen” is nothing unusual since I am also siding with Thomas Jefferson, as would anyone with the vaguest notion of American and international law.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-evidence

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_men_are_created_equal#Legacy

    All of this is your long-winded attempt to change the subject because you have never been able to provide any coherent basis for rights, which you claim, or for laws.

    Yes, I want to make an issue of it. It is time someone called your bluff. You can report me from this very post as follows:

    https://help.disqus.com/terms-and-policies/how-to-report-abuse

    I am flagging your post and reporting you after this posts.

  • I assume this is an invitation to block you since you decided to try this approach to disguising the fact that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew – again.

  • “It is clear from the words of Paul— far clearer than whatever he has to say about what might be homosexuality— that women are not to be ministers.”

    Citation please.

  • Sure, you,re a whole brand new person who states .”you have never been able to provide…”

    Whatever you say, dear.

    I think I must really vex, scare or whatever you. Hard to be sure, but I sure must affect you. “Contaminate your account?” Please.

    GoodBye.

  • Wow, that #ItsSimple poster has such a twisted view of love. I guess it’s “loving” to allow people to continue in sin now? I wouldn’t want to be accused of being JUDGMENTAL after all!

    Kids want to play in the street? Let them!
    Pedophile wants to work in the kid’s ministry? Love >>> Hate!

    Unrepentant murderer seeks ordination? “love covers a multitude of sins”!

    Last time I saw scripture twisted this badly, it involved a fallen angel, a Son of Man, and a wilderness…

  • Gone for a couple of days and you’ve gotten yourself right into trouble.

    Tsk, tsk … will you NEVER grow up?

  • NAh. That wasn’t it at all. Noting the similarities between writing styles, ideology, and obsessions, while likewise noting I had never seen you before, I suspected a brand new account.

    And lo and behind, it was a brand new account!

  • Well, you made a reply. And while all replies are answers not all replies are answers. You engaged here, so answer the question. if you have no interest in doing so, then don’t write anything. I love how basic common courtesy goes out the window.

  • I actually agree. The Methodists (I am not one, btw) have done themselves no favor by ignoring other NT mandates and commands but now they’re going to hold firm to this one? It’s sloppy and bad theology. Still, in this one regard, the Methodists are holding to what is prescribed.

  • Really? LGBTQ people are more spiritual than heterosexuals? That has to be a joke. But it was in a book, so it has to be true, right? And because many more of them enter into the ministry on a percentage basis (a claim I doubt), that means they are more called by God? Ridiculous claim. I’ve known people who entered into the ministry for less than honorable motives. They weren’t called by God. They wanted job security or they wanted some purpose in life or they wanted it as a springboard towards an academic career. The list goes on. They’re NOT all called by God. So, what do you say to the terrorist who says he was inspired to kill because he was called to do so by God? Just accept it? Be reasonable, if that’s possible.

  • So none of them entered the ministry for purely selfish motives? YOu’re going to make a ridiculous blanket statement like that?

  • “They weren’t called by God…”

    Your whole answer presumes a magical ability to read the minds and motives others. That really would be a miracle if it wasn’t from your own very human prejudices. Thanks for more of the usual false judgment that holy hypocrisy is rife with.

  • The call to serve, if it actually comes from God, is not subject to the human rules of any given man-made church. Is that simple enough for you?

  • That seems to indicate it should not be used for science (nor should Aristotle or Plato’s writings among others) nor as a history book.

    But then it was not written as a science or history text.

  • “I don’t dispute what the article says.”

    Would you care from a few citations from your own posts where you dispute what the article says?

  • In rereading the entire discourse, neither of your interlocutors mentioned the Christian or Jewish deity, nor Jesus, nor religion.

    With whom are you arguing, exactly?

    Yourself?

  • Your answer too presumes a magical ability to read the minds and motives of others. They believe that God called them. How is that confirmed?

  • It sure does not need your “holy” approval. Confirmation comes to each receiver of the spirit on their own. The evidence, if any, is in the good that they do. That’s where the holy hypocrite “clerics” always fall short of the mark.

  • The two issues that needed to be settled was what happened to the pensions of ministers who spent their entire lives working for the church, and congregations unhappy with the outcome who wanted to leave, so that the vote on the issues of sexuality would be based only on conscience.

    The conservative side supported portable pensions in the case of a split, which was approved.

    The conservative side supported easy withdrawal of congregations, and the same-sex side opposed it.

    Easy withdrawal of congregations won.

  • I am sorry it has taken a few days to get back to you. I’ve been very busy, and frankly, I just forgot. I will try to answer your questions.

    It is true that Jesus valued Mary, Mary, Magdelaine, and Martha as sisters in the faith. But they were not in a place of ordination, because the church itself did not exist then, and one was not ordained a priest in the church. More to the point, as I understand it, the reason there are so many Mary’s in the New Testament is not that it was a common name, but that it was the name given to every woman who was a priestess. Mary is actually Maryam, a name still used in the Middle East, and applied to the sister of Moses, aka Maryam. Since Jesus was a descendent from King David on both sides of his family, the king side from Joseph, and the priest side from Mary, that was the reason he became the priest-King, the Messiah, the anointed one, the one who would lead the kingdom of Israel to greatness. Unfortunately for the movement, he wasn’t interested. “My kingdom is not of this world.”

    Tough luck for Jesus. Judas was looking for a political leader.

    As to why women can’t be ministers, there are at least two passages that are cited that say no. What I would suggest you do, rather than have me explain it to you, you can google “biblical passages why women can’t be ministers.” There is a wealth of contradictory articles on both sides of the question. isn’t it amazing how the same authoritative book can lead different people to opposing opinions? It’s almost as if they want to remake god into their own image. You can read what the Roman church says about it; all the disciples (except pesky Mary M, so remove her as a disciple and voila!) were men, so only men can be priests. The Mormons say the same. The Baptists are especially condescending.

  • Not an easy question to answer, Kurt. I really don’t know what you’re asking. But I’ll answer what I think you’re asking.

    I am an atheist. I don’t say there is no God, because I don’t know. More accurately, I don’t really care, because the question doesn’t have an awful lot of meaning, nor do the answers to it. But I will say I have no belief in a God because I have never seen the slightest bit of evidence that there is a God that would actually constitute proof. If such a thing could be proved, there would be only one religion, assuming that this god actually wants to be worshipped, and that that is not yet another invention of man.

    I am an atheist. Contrary to the opinions of several very ill informed and highly Irrational people, I don’t hate religion or religious people. Some of my best friends are, you know? I am not an anti-theist. I don’t believe that any religion necessarily represents any particular God; as I have often remarked, I have the authority of every religion that is not X that Xis wrong, and the Not X is correct. I frankly don’t care about your theological disputes, I care what you do with your religion.

    I am in atheist and a secularist. I absolutely support religious freedom, and absolutely oppose religious discrimination in the public square. I Say that as an atheist, a secularist, a Jew, and a gay man. I absolutely oppose religion being used as a club against others, religion being used to control the intimate lives of others, and religious beliefs being forced on people who don’t share of them. In a secular democracy, which claims religious freedom in its founding documents, the government has no business subsidizing and supporting religious bigotry, which has plagued the west especially for centuries, at the expense of responsible citizenship.

    I absolutely believe that you are free to believe whatever you want, and I support that 100%. But I also believe that your purely theological concerns must stop at your church door and at the front door of your house. All of the crappy beliefs that have been supported by so many Christians against so many people — Jews, gay people, atheist, Muslims, other Christians— would mean nothing if they weren’t accompanied by equally toxic and crappy actions. My general advice to people who do that is if you (a genericyou, not you personally) don’t want to be called a bigot, don’t act like one. If you want your religious beliefs respected, start out by having respectable religious beliefs. If you want your faith to be weaponized, then don’t be surprised if people at whom you point your weapon start objecting to not only your faith, but every faith. If you think you are superior to others in law and culture and society based upon the identity you have conferred upon yourself in opposition to the the identity you have conferred upon others, really, don’t be surprised if the objects of your disaffections object furiously, and apply the same standards to you. It’s all very simple. I think Jesus had something to say about it— whited sepulchers, the laying on of burdens, treating others as you would like to be treated.

    How do my beliefs impact the beliefs of others! That’s really up to them. If they want to claim moral and religious authority over my life, and do the damage that is been done to so many gay people for so many centuries, then I will fight them. Six million Jews died as the end Ooint of 1900 years of Christian sanctioned hatred. some of them were my relatives. Becuase lf these things and so much. Ore, the catholic molestation probe,s being significant, I do not grant any faith any moral authority, let alone superiority.

    It’s amazing that I almost never have any problems with liberal religious people, people who use their faith to enhance their own lives rather than to try to control the lives of others. That one is really telling, but not to the people who use their faith as bludgeons. For them, I must hate all religion. It’s nonsense.

    I hope that answers your question.

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