Sunday, 21 August 2022

Christian Hate News - Now The Methodists are Splitting Over How Best to Hate LGBTQ People

Bishop Ken Carter, former president of the UMC's Council of Bishops.
For United Methodists, the center is not holding

A losing or defeated group invariably turns inward and fragments as it looks for scapegoats.

This was never more true than of the American United Methodists, America's second largest Protestant denomination, who, like other Christian denominations, are struggling against falling membership and with trying to keep up with rapidly changing cultural attitudes such as acceptance of LGBTQ people as being as entitled to full human rights as anyone else, including the right to same-sex marriage and/or ordination as pastors in the church of their choice.

It's the same old story of a religion which believes it's morals are handed down from divine authority and codified in a sacred book. These morals eventually become outdated and no longer suitable, as social ethics evolve along with society, to the extent that they come to be regarded as immoral. The mistake is in assuming that morality is fixed and unchangeable and based either on some objective standard or the arbitrary whim of a deity. In reality, of course, they evolve as part of cultural evolution.

Like the Catholic and other Christian Churches, the Methodists are now tearing themselves apart because, to change and accommodate the growing cultural acceptance of LGBTQ rights is to abandon what die-hard conservatives regard as core beliefs. The traditionalists regard the progressives as no longer 'real Methodists' while the progressives regard the conservatives as truculent die-hards, holding the church back and preaching an immoral gospel that gives excuses to would-be bullies and sanctimonious hypocrites, who would deny basic human rights to people of their choosing if allowed to, whilst preaching freedom and the essential equality of Man.

Like other Christian churches, the Methodists are struggling to retain some sort of relevance in a society which is rapidly rejecting them.

In 2019, the tensions grew to the point where a split was inevitable and, in attempt to make it as peaceful and free from rancour as possible, the UMC drew up a 'Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation Through Separation', which acknowledged in its Stament of Principles, that:
  1. The United Methodist Church and its members—after careful reflection, discussion and prayer—have fundamental differences regarding their understanding and interpretation of Scripture, theology and practice;
  2. The United Methodist Church at its February 2019 Special Session of the General Conference in St. Louis did not resolve their differences specifically related to the full participation of LGBTQ persons in the life of the Church;
  3. The United Methodist Church and its members are at an impasse, the Church’s witness and mission is being impeded, and the Church itself as well as its members have been injured;
  4. The United Methodist Church and its members have a deep desire to fulfill our long-stated mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  5. The United Methodist Church is committed to recognizing, respecting and protecting the rights and personal dignity of every person, including people of all races, sexual orientations, genders, national origins, ages, and social classes;
In other words, the American Methodists, just like other Christian denominations in the 21st Century can't decide whether LGBTQ people should have the full human rights according to other people, or whether they should continue to be ostracised, dehumanised and victimised because some Bronze Age middle eastern tribal despot was so insecure in his own sexuality that he had a ban on homosexual activity codified in the tribal law of the time.

The spilt has now reached the point where 31 Methodist churches in western North Carolina are demanding the right to secede from the United Methodist Church, whose name has never been more inappropriate.

Coordinating the effort is The National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) which recently sued the Florida Annal Conference, at the United Methodists style themselves, on behalf of more than 100 churches wishing to secede. According to the NCLL website:
The NCLL serves to protect and defend the Bible-based values upon which our nation was founded. We will endeavor to protect and defend these important foundational areas that support our freedoms: Life Values, Constitutional Values, Church Liberty, Christian Education, and Homeschool Education.
Following the links, it is clear that what the NCLL stands for is little different to what the white right evangelical Baptists also stand for, in other words, as the Methodists try to reform to accommodate modern social norms, the die-hards are trying to drag it further to the fundamentalist right, or are leaving to set up their own extremist organization.

If religions had any evidence, there would only be one.

There are 38,000 different Protestant Churches in the USA alone!


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