Same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy has long been a contentious point within the church. The United Methodist church is considering an unusual way to address it.
CNN reports that leaders in the United Methodist Church are considering splitting into multiple denominations in an effort to resolve years of debate. The proposal comes from a group of 16 bishops and church leaders. The group says that separating is “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the church to remain true to its theological understanding.”
The proposal comes after when, last year at the General Conference of the second largest Protestant denomination in the US, they voted to reinforce it’s long held views against ordaining gay clergy and performing same-sex weddings. Later at the same conference, it was decided that United Methodist churches and clergy could face removal if they didn’t reaffirm a similar stance. The proposal would result in there being a traditional Methodist denomination opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy as well as a spinoff denomination that would allow both.
I can’t lie, I’m unsure how I feel about the news. On one hand, it’s great that there could be a new branch of the church that allows LGBTQ members to serve in the clergy and worship freely and openly. On the other, it kind of sucks that the church decided they would rather split than to just allow LGBTQ membership. The discrimination against LGBTQ members in the church never really made sense to me. Even if you accept the idea homosexuality is a sin, so is adultery, lying and having sex before marriage. Why does homosexuality weigh more as a sin than those? Didn’t Jesus die to absolve humanity of it’s sins? So why should it matter at all? The idea that a person can murder another person but be forgiven by taking Jesus into their heart but loving someone of the same sex is the line too far just never sat right with me. Also, given the history of Christianity being used justify slavery makes me wary of anyone who tries to basically do the same thing but with homophobia.
The proposal will need to be approved in May at the church’s worldwide conference.