United Methodist activists unsatisfied with bishops’ recommended plan to avert schism

Attendees at the United Methodist Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago join in the "Praying Our Way Forward" closing worship service. The council deliberated on its final proposals to next year’s special General Conference that will address decades of division over how the church should minister with LGBTQ individuals. From left are: Bishop J. Michael Lowry, the Rev. Alex da Silva Souto and Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi. Photo by Mike DuBose/UMNS

(RNS) — United Methodist Church activists who sharply disagree about whether to ordain LGBT clergy or officiate same-sex marriages do agree on one point: A plan recommended by the Council of Bishops isn’t satisfying to either side.

Socially conservative evangelicals say the plan, which aims to avert schism in the 12 million-member denomination, goes too far by permitting individual pastors and regional bodies to make their own decisions on whether to perform same-sex weddings and ordain LGBT people as clergy.

“The reaction from the evangelical side of the church in the U.S. was, I think it’s safe to say, entirely negative,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a conservative advocacy group.

Meanwhile progressives aren’t happy either. Reconciling Ministries Network and the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, two groups committed to the full inclusion of LGBT people in the United Methodist Church, also expressed concerns that none of the three plans included in the bishops’ report would affirm ordination and marriage for all the denominations’ LGBT members.

“We took a step back and said there is an option that’s missing in all of this discussion, and that option is legislative language written into the Book of Discipline that would welcome and celebrate the lives of LGBTQ members of the United Methodist Church,” said RMN Executive Director Jan Lawrence.

RELATED: United Methodist bishops want to let pastors, conferences decide on LGBT clergy

United Methodist bishops endorsed the so-called One Church Plan earlier this month. It acted on recommendations from a 32-member Commission on a Way Forward, which began its final meeting to wrap up its work on Monday (May 14) in Nashville, Tenn.

The One Church Plan is one of three plans suggested by the Commission on a Way Forward. That commission was created after the General Conference, the United Methodist Church’s governing body, came to an impasse on legislation regarding human sexuality at its quadrennial meeting in 2016 in Portland, Ore.

Bishop Cynthia F. Harvey, right, answers questions during a press conference about the United Methodist Church’s Way Forward plan to address how the denomination ministers with LGBTQ individuals at the conclusion of the church’s Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago. She is flanked by Bishops Bruce R. Ough, left and Kenneth H. Carter. Photo by Mike DuBose/UMNS

That plan would remove the controversial language about human sexuality from the Book of Discipline, according to the council. The denomination’s rulebook, the Book of Discipline, states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, appointed to serve or married in the church.

It also would safeguard pastors and conferences unwilling to perform same-sex weddings or ordain LGBT people because of their theological convictions. The plan marks an attempt to plot a path that can hold together a diverse international denomination that includes more than 5 million abroad, where sexuality norms can diverge sharply from those in the United States.

RELATED: African Methodists worry about the church that brought them Christianity

It was “the wisest choice they could make,” according to a Facebook post by the Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of one of the country’s largest United Methodist congregations.

It’s also “frustrating” and it “potentially increases harm,” depending who you ask.

The One Church Plan “helps us to maximize our mission in as many places in the world as possible, it offers a model for contextualization in dramatically different settings for ministry (we are on four continents, and are not a national church), and it achieves as much unity as possible,” Bishop Ken Carter, president of the Council of Bishops, told Religion News Service last week in an email.

But few more details about the plan are available — and they won’t be until proposed legislation can be translated into the four official languages of the General Conference: English, French, Portuguese and Swahili. That’s expected by July 8, the deadline for petitions to be considered at the special session.

And that’s a concern for many United Methodists of all minds on questions of human sexuality.

Carter says that concern is “often grounded in a U.S.-centric mindset.” Waiting to translate and release the report simultaneously across the globe is “more just and fair,” he said. Plus, United Methodists will have 230 days to reflect on the report before the special session begins in St. Louis.

United Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto joins in prayer during the closing worship service at the denomination’s Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago. Photo by Mike DuBose/UMNS

But the lack of details has created confusion and uncertainty, according to Lawrence of RMN. And it makes it difficult for anyone to submit a petition in response for the special session of the General Conference to consider, according to Tooley of the IRD.

There are different parts of the plan different groups are happy to see: Both Lawrence and the UM Queer Clergy Caucus celebrated the removal of the controversial language on human sexuality from the Book of Discipline.

Evangelical groups like Good News and the IRD released statements applauding the bishops’ inclusion of a Traditionalist Plan as one of the three in their report, even though it didn’t win the bishops’ recommendation. The IRD believes the Traditionalist Plan would maintain a conservative view of sexuality that excludes ordaining LGBT clergy and performing same-sex marriages, according to its website.

United Methodists have seen similar proposals from bishops and special commissions over the years, and the General Conference doesn’t necessarily follow the lead of the Council of Bishops, Tooley pointed out.

Still, in Tooley’s view, if the bishops’ recommendation is approved next year by delegates, that would fit the pattern that led to schisms in Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations.

Carter, the president of the Council of Bishops, said the bishops know other U.S. denominations have experienced division.

“Our complexity is that we are a global denomination, and in this sense our cultural and contextual realities present a greater challenge,” he said. “I will say we are seeking a way forward toward unity and greater inclusion.”

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.


Click here to post a comment

  • Why give Mark Tooley such a large voice? The IRD is not United Methodist and he never says a positive word about the ministry of UMC. He only seeks to tear down the Body of Christ. It grieves me that we are dividing the church over such a secondary issue and I am not a supporter of the LGBTQ agenda. Let pastors be pastors!

  • Okay, here is the real story. Here’s the part where Gay Goliath wins the entire Methodist War, regardless of any smiley-face spin-jobs or snow-jobs being offered by various factions. See what Miller wrote:

    “Both Lawrence and the UM Queer Clergy Caucus celebrated the removal of the controversial language on human sexuality from the Book of Discipline.

    The highlighted part, is the unprecedented, history-making, cyanide pill. And it’s already being swallowed. THAT, (not any “schism”), is the true Chernobyl disaster for the UMC.

  • What good is the UMC Book of Order? When you have members openly rejecting the Book of Order and campaigning to overthrow the order of the church, why not just excommunicate all the trouble makers? The Bible is clear on the LGBT issue, unless you have a PhD from a doofus school that teaches liberation theology and thinks that Karl Marx and James Cone were devoted to Jesus. Thank God for the UMC members in Africa…they are the only ones keeping the UMC from becoming apostate.

  • I have an idea…..why don’t they try following the God they pretend to serve? He gave us 66 whole books telling us what is appropriate and what isn’t.

  • Interesting that they term the language “controversial”:

    “That plan would remove the controversial language about human sexuality
    from the Book of Discipline, according to the council.”

    So, if I can whip up a lobby I can make language about stealing controversial?

  • This is a good move. It gives individual churches the option to move forward with the rest of humanity or dwindle into irrelevance.

  • This plan is only a good one to those who support the removal of the teachings of the Book of Discipline. It’s moving further and further away from biblical teachings and will eventually end in the split which this plan is attempting to avoid. No one questions the proper treatment of those in the LQBTQ+ community. They like everyone should be treated with respect and as people whom Creator created and loves dearly. However, to forsake church and biblical teaching to allow bishops, pastors, and lay persons to go against teaching the Church has held since its founding is wrong.

  • I have tried to get inside the minds of people who are so opposed to LGTB people being married, ordained, and generally being accepted that they would threaten schism over it. I have failed. I simply cannot get my head around why some people are so vehemently opposed to other people’s marriages or ordinations that they would risk tearing the Body of Christ further asunder. It makes no sense to me. When I hear of other people getting married, it makes me happy, not sad, angry, or petulant.

    To say, “it goes against church teaching” isn’t enough. Churches, all of them, have changed over time. Belief in the Holy Spirit alone ensures that. Were the Holy Spirit not alive and well in the church the church would never change – it would be a non-living entity, a corpse. But it is not – for the simple reason that it does grow and change, which growth requires – always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    People who deny the movement of the Holy Spirit should be very careful. In Mark 3:28-30 Jesus says, ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.”

    As a gay person I’ve endured lecture after lecture from puffed-up, finger-wagging, bible-thumping scolds. Well now it’s my turn. If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit you’re going to hell.

  • Let gay be be fully functioning, participating, human members of the community.

  • What about people divorced for any reason but adultery? And then remarried? And didn’t the Methodist church originally split over slavery? And shouldn’t they be slaying any unbelievers in their town, seeing as that must be a moral commandment?

    And witch burning? Won’t no one think of the witches?

  • What good is the commandment to treat others as you would like to be treated if you actually have to go around doing it?

  • The phrase “for all practical purposes” comes to mind, no? This mess will especially influence the younger Methodists in that direction.

    Furthermore, the national media fully intends to sell and market this new mess to America itself. Here’s the new slant:

    “Forget the Bible! God is perfectly kewl with gay marriage and practicing gay clergy, because the United Methodist Church effectively said so!”

  • One of the problems is that these homosexual “marriages” are not marriages because they lack a husband and a wife. Only a man can be a husband and a woman a wife. Without that, you don’t have a marriage.

  • So for you, the Methodist Book Of Discipline was committing the huge sin of “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”,
    because the book clearly and publicly opposed gay marriage and practicing gay clergy (on the basis of Scripture, by the way.)

    So is that **really** the way you see it?

  • As theologian Denny Burk recently pointed out (and other folks have pointed this out too), the New Testament contains more than one “exception” in this area.

    (Not sure why Ben exclusively cites only one, but it’s important for Christians to know that there’s more than one.)

    Suppose, like me, you have been notified in some way that a Wife is experiencing physical abuse. Should she stay with the abusing Hubby because of biblical “wifely submission”?

    NO. She should get out of there. But is she sinning if she leave him to get out of abuse? NO. The stupid abuser is FORCING an abandonment situation — and that is the second exception point in the Bible.

  • Why would a schism be a bad thing at all?

    If some members of the church feel they need to be defined by excluding other members and treating them badly, unity would only be a sham. One is only papering over real divisions and causing trouble for all involved.

    Let the haters be haters and split off. It worked for the Baptists.

  • If you believe the entire bible is inspired of god you have no choice but to exclude ‘unrepentant’ gays. More liberal Christians can’t deal with the anti-gay, misogynistic, unscientific aspects of their religion.

  • Oh, you mean like all the holy hypocrites endorsing the corrupt, immoral Donald Trump for President and then willfully lying to call him a “good” Christian so as to pander to him? Embracing the natural reality of LGBTQ orientation is not sin, but embracing corruption and the abuse of women is. You hypocrites made your beds so lie in them.

  • Which of up to five different “entire Bibles” are you talking about? The Protestant and Catholic Bibles have differing numbers of accepted books. Within Orthodox Christianity there are up to three differing “official” versions. As for the anti-gay “gotcha passages” of Protestant Bibles, most of that is based on imposing modern bigotry on old stories taken out of context. The Leviticus passages are mostly about the abuse of ” pagan temple boys” by otherwise heterosexual adult males. Other passages are more concerned about treating men like “chattel” women than about homosexuality. The anti-gay aspect of Christianity is a relatively modern part of the religion being spun as “unchangeable.”

  • But the “scripture” used to oppose gay marriage, is mostly the result of poor, bigoted translation of ancient text with translators imposing their own prejudices into stories taken out of historical context. There is more truth to be had in the reading of any given hand of Tarot cards than in Bible translations by ignorant bigots.

  • Nope. You don’t get to define human relationships when your remarks barely qualify yourself as human. No one died and made you “Jeezus.”

  • The Horse got out of that gate about the time that Henry Tudor ditched Catherine of Aragon to “marry” Anne Boleyn and make her “queen” of England. Protestants have been trying to retask Matthew 19 ever since, with the latest folly the effort to claim Jesus was preaching against same-sex marriage in place of condemning exactly the same sort of divorce that allowed Protestantism to come into being in England.

  • Then, you should know that you were wrong to pontificate and rail against equal marriage as if the Bible had some magic decree against it.

  • When Jesus says no divorce except for adultery, you can always find some other place to tell you it’s perfectly fine, says the man who is divorced and remarried for some other reason. Whenever the bible says anything inconvenient, just go find an exception. Why not?
    And here’s why I keep bringing it up, thou scribe, Pharisee, and hypocrite. Because the only place where this isn’t done by conservative Christians such as yourself is when gay people are involved. You will find ANY exception for yourselves. And hyper conservatives like Boob and shawnie and Sandimonious simply will not call you on it.

    Here’s Bible Study tools. com.. It goes on quite some time.

    “The Scripture doctrine of divorce is very simple. It is contained in Matthew 19:3-12.

    We are not called upon to treat of divorce in the Mosaic legislation (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). That was passed upon by Jesus in the above discussion and by Him ruled out of existence in His system of religion. After Jesus had spoken as above, the Mosaic permission of divorce became a dead letter. There could not be practice under it among His disciples. So such Old Testament divorce is now a mere matter of antiquarian curiosity.

    It may be of interest in passing to note that the drift of the Mosaic legislation was restrictive of a freedom of divorce that had been practiced before its enactment. It put in legal proceedings to bar the personal will of one of the parties. It recognized marriage as a social institution which should not be disrupted without reference to the rights of society in it. In this restrictive character “the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ” (Galatians 3:24). But here, as in numerous other instances, Christ went behind the enactments to primitive original principles whose recognition would make the law of none effect, because no practice was to be permitted under it. Thus the Old Testament is disposed of.

    Of course what Jesus said will dominate the New. In fact, Jesus is the only author in the New Testament who has treated of divorce. It has been thought that Paul had the subject in hand. But we shall find on examination, further along, that he did not. We need then look nowhere but to Matthew 19 for the Scripture doctrine of divorce.

    True, we have other reports of what Jesus said (Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18). But in Matthew 19 we have the fullest report, containing everything that is reported elsewhere and one or two important observations that the other writers have not included. Luke has only one verse where Matthew has ten. Luke’s verse is in no necessary connection with context. It seems to be a mere memorandum among others of the spiritual or ethical teachings of Christ. Luke however caught the gist of the whole teaching about divorce in recording the prohibition to put away one wife and marry another. The records in Matthew 19 and Mark 10 cover one and the same occasion. But there is nothing in Mark that is not in Matthew; and the latter contains nearly a third more of text than the former. There is nothing, however, essential in Matthew that is not in Mark, save the clause “except for fornication.” That exception will be treated further along. ”
    We seem to be justified then in saying that the total doctrine of the Scripture pertaining to divorce is contained in Matthew 19.

  • Citing Denny Burk puts you on the fringe of real Christianity. He’s the current “Grand Dragon” of Circus-Tent “Christianity.”

  • You misrepresent me. I am not a fundamentalist who believes the bible to be the “inerrant Word of God,” every word of which must be taken literally. I believe that myth has its place. I also believe in biblical scholarship. The bible, in other words, has not become an idol for me, though as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, I do try to follow his example as best I can.

  • No, I’m saying that if Methodists (like every other Christian body) cannot continually test and if necessary reevaluate their positions then, and only then, do they become resistant to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

  • Forget the Bible. God is perfectly kewl with divorce for any reason except adultery because a panel of ministers from my particular denomination who are in sympathy with my desire for one because my community has such high rates of divorce if they bothered to get married at all…said so!

  • What standard should the Methodists “continually test their positions” upon? What measuring stick gets the last word on any given issue?

    Scripture? Or something else?

  • Does Jesus get to define human relationships (Matt. 19:4-5)? Or do you reject Jesus too?

  • Although you don’t seem to like it when people treat you the way you treat others.

  • If history is any guide, there’ll be a schism of the conservative (aka “Christian”) wing of the UMC, and the remainder will go on their merry way joining up with the ELCA and the Episcopal Church USA.

  • Your misquote of a passage that is about divorce as fake evidence against homosexuality actually shows why you don’t get to speak for Jesus. Try keeping up with Jesus was actually talking about before you try twisting his words to your own dark purposes.

    Actually, Christ acknowledges transgendered people in verse 12 and compares his own ministry to being like the transgenders (natural-born eunuchs): “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    So, instead of “condemning” LGBTQ, Matthew 19 could be seen as affirming them instead.

  • “And here’s why I keep bringing it up, thou scribe, Pharisee, and hypocrite. Because the only place where this isn’t done by conservative Christians such as yourself is when gay people are involved.”

    Except, of course, for the Christian bodies where it is not done.

    Part of the problem is definitional.

    For example, “divorce” in the Scriptural sense involves separating and then attempting another marriage while the former spouse lives.

    Separating because one spouse is an alcoholic, abuser, Mafia hit man, or whatever in order to provide for the children, property, insurance, and what-not is not “divorce”.

    Another definitional problem arises in the use of the word “hypocrite”.

    As you’ve pointed out many times, atheists don’t have a moral system to subscribe or standards, so no matter how outrageous an atheist’s behavior, as long she or he hasn’t actually laid out their moral system she or he can never be accused of hypocrisy.

    You probably know at least one atheist who avoids laying out his moral system.

    Yet another definitional issue involves “conservative Christians”.

    As you use it “conservative Christians” means “Christians who do not endorse same sex (fill in the blank)”.

    All in all the epithet “hypocrite” seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

  • The Plan is NOT attempting to avoid a split.

    It guarantees a split.

    It is aimed at keeping the gravy train rolling for a little longer before the UMC follows its liberal cousins down the tubes.

  • Sorry Ben, I just believe in doing homework accurately, whether or not it involves the Bible.

    Part of the reason why atheism is so low on America’s totem pole, is that people KNOW you guys do a patently Half-Arse job of studying your Bible topics. (A few PhD atheists are exceptions, but only a few.)

    How can it hurt you to simply say that there’s more than one Bible exception on this divorce topic? Jesus says one, Paul says one, no prob. We try to help people see what the Bible says about their situation.

    But the Methodists aren’t being pressured by divorced folks. They’re being slammed by Gay Goliath himself, and their hearts are failing with fear & confusion.

  • No courts gets to define it either. No one gave them that power. I have logic and history on my side and all you have is the perverted thinking of judges.

  • Since at least three of the presidents in my lifetime were prolific womanizers, prevaricators, and worse, and the one who was a pontificating altar boy was incompetent, and the President’s opponent was at least as scruffy as he if not worse, I am not sure your point is well taken.

  • Biblical scholarship won’t cut the mustard.

    Experience and science are not bases for religion.

  • If homosexuality was a blessing from God then how do we explain these “blessings” ?
    From the CDC:
    “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been rising among gay and bisexual men, with increases in syphilis being seen across the country. In 2014, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men accounted for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases where sex of sex partner was known in the United States. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men often get other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. HPV (Human papillomavirus), the most common STD in the United States, is also a concern for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Some types of HPV can cause genital and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancers. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to get anal cancer than heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who do not have HIV to get anal cancer.”

  • That, of course, is based on the notion that the revelation is ongoing rather than concluding with the death of the last Apostle.

    Until a hundred years ago, with the exception of Gnostics who had other problems to deal with, that was considered heretical by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants.

  • “We call for disciplinary changes so that clergy are neither compelled to
    officiate at same-sex weddings, nor prohibited from doing so.”

    Reads like mush from the wimps.

  • The so-called “modern bigotry on old stories taken out of context” is a political slogan, not a coherent well-grounded exegetical analysis, as is “(t)he anti-gay aspect of Christianity is a relatively modern part of the religion”.

  • But the “scripture” is to promote gay marriage is mostly the result of poor bigoted translation of ancient texts by pro-LGBTQ “experts” grinding their axes to suit their own agendae.

  • Everyone has their crosses to bear. Being blessed by God does not mean being except from the trials of the flesh. By your “logic” Christ was “unholy” by suffering death for all of us instead of blessed above all. Once again, you only prove to be less humane in your questionable humanity.

  • At least they actually read their Bibles (and do a rather thorough job of it!) before they speak.

    People instinctively want to seek out people who know what they’re talking about, especially regarding the Bible and life situations.

  • Wrong again Errol Flynn. Legal marriage is a matter of law. All law under the US Constitution is subject to review before the United States Supreme Court by the authority of the same constitution. Either we have laws under a constitution that includes the role of the Supreme Court and its right to decide or we have chaos and no law at all. If we have no law, then no marriage of any kind has standing. So, once again, you are simply a pouty child pretending to be an adult.

  • So which exception are you?
    And how can you disagree with the authority of Jesus himself over Paul, and Bible tools over YOU.

  • As I read him Christ was holy because he suffered death for us even though he himself was sinless.

  • Actually it appears as though the churches which “move forward with the rest of humanity” are the ones dwindling into irrelevance.

  • That, of course, is based on the notion that the revelation is ongoing rather than concluding with the death of the last Apostle.

    Indeed it is. Hence the necessity of the Holy Spirit.

  • Actually Jesus told the Apostles

    John 14:26

    26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

    Not new revelation, but to remember what Jesus said.

    When I hear “God Is Doing A New Thing”, I know someone is about to tout something that will involve forgetting something he said to us.

  • In other words, anything EXCEPT the actual words of the Scriptures.

    But many Methodists do agree with you. Enough to kill an entire denomination, it seems.

    As for me, I agree with the personal “experiences” reported by the Christian ex-gays, the decades-long “science” that shows nobody is born gay, and the “biblical scholarship” of Drs. Robert Gagnon and Thomas E. Schmidt.

  • I don’t ascribe to your god, so you’re right for once. I don’t have that problem.

  • The irony is that you are only a legend in your own mind. I have far more respect for the authenticity of Ben’s scholarship than for your pretense of it. You routinely misquote and misuse Bible passages and then quote the worst people as “scholarly” sources. Using silly code words like “Gay Goliath” is a pathetic effort to explain why fewer and fewer people buy the bigotry that you represent.

  • Only actual equality everywhere is equality. Anything else is a calloused insult.

  • Ah, but we’ve already had that personal conversation, haven’t we?

    Do you remember me answering your previous inquiry in detail, and then calmly saying “Suffice there” at a certain point? Of course you do.

    Anyway, I’m sure the same bunch of respected and experienced senior clergy who graciously evaluated MY personal situation from the Bible, would be equally okay with graciously evaluating YOUR personal situation from the Bible as well. You up for it?

  • Using STD rates in populations carrying a heavy burden of minority stress to justify segregation and oppression has been done before.

    Why are you doing it again? Do you think that everyone was born yesterday, and has never studied the anti-Civil Rights Movement racists’ arguments, white theology and political tactics?

  • The “authenticity of Ben’s scholarship” is 100%.

    It is his, no one else’s, and it corresponds to what he thinks and nothing else.

  • Oh yes you do.

    (And that’s **on top of** throwing atheism in God’s face and then expecting Him to ignore the insult.)

    “Clear commandments” for me, “clear commandments” for you.

  • Just because it’s a law doesn’t mean it’s true. If court ruled there are square circles in your closet would you check to be sure they are there?

    Btw- homosexual “marriage” is not based on the constitution . It’s a figment of the imaginations of some judges.

  • Adultery, sodomy, pedophilia and bestiality arent wrong because God forbids them. God forbids them because thay’re wrong and filthy and antisocial abominations. If you can’t see that, you’re just a sicko.

  • The creator of the entire infinit3 universe can be “insulted” by little old me.

    Not much of a god, is he.

  • Of course I remember it. That doesn’t mean that your collection of senior clergy didn’t ignore the Bible, does it? Does it mean bibletools.con is wrong when they talk about it?

  • John 20:2 ” The disciple whom Jesus loved” …

    Jesus hanging with his 12 male only disciples…very likely a few homosexuals in that mix..

    Jesus and little John — the Apostle…has a ring to it…How sweet !!

  • Once again, you try to make nonsense arguments to support your nonsense arguments. That’s why Bible thumpers like you get laughed out of real courts of law. Please feel free to sell your BS elsewhere.

  • Do you know the difference between a basis for something and the promotion of progress in the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences and the study of related epistemological problems?

  • Which particular “Bible thumper” got laughed out of what particular court in what case we can look up?

  • Why “very likely a few homosexuals in that mix”?

    Is it because if you and your friends get together, that’s what you find?

  • Will you shut up ? You also stated that gluttonous conniving Rev. Barber, the one behind the Duke lacrosse lynchmob, was another Martin Luther King. I know you hate your students but…the Duke lacrosse guys were innocent, face it. You have no credibility in these theology matters.

  • (Believe me…this L. Ray is a psychotic goon, with no sense of what he’s talking about. I’ve had him try to annoy me, online, too. Stick to your guns).

  • “Trumpism is one of the last nails in the proverbial coffin of the “Religious White.” White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) is now just a really bad joke on itself. The WASP has lost its sting. Hallelujah and pass the plate.” You wrote that on a gay site. You can’t hide your hatred of white male Protestants. Your students should know.

  • AND, you don’t know the difference between a true Mayflower WASP and a “Far Right” American preacher type, who are never WASPs and just as often black. And Trump is definitively not a WASP.

  • tell ya what. You publicly denounce the lbgt propaganda and abortion and I will stop the Bible thumping.

  • “LGBTQ is a blessing from God.” Yet you still wish you could be a WASP. Or a “Johnny Reb” (as you call southern men, barely able to conceal your desire). You wish you could ride horses, have a V-shaped body (instead of pear-shaped) and a family that goes back before 1776 and doesn’t care about someone’s sexuality. Instead you have to hang with students you hate, classless jheri-curled minorities, and muslims who think gays should die.

  • The LGBTQ community is trying to combat the BS from the Bible-thumping crowd such as yourself. Nice try but you fail once again to get past your own bigotry and animus to approach anything like being reasonable or fair.

  • Abortion has been legal my entire adult life. Good job. Another total failure by people who have to put their noses in everyone else’s business but their own. Acting like angry jerks doesn’t get you all that far, does it?

  • Exactly. They are about marriage, the original nature and design of which has to be referenced in order to demonstrate why breaking it is wrong. That nature has been the basis for rejecting other things besides divorce — polygamy for instance.

  • The lbgt gang is spreading propaganda. Would you want your daughter to take a shower with another guy in a locker room?

  • Does it mean you lack the backbone and humility to go ask senior clergy to evaluate (in-person) your current, umm, situation in light of the Bible?

  • As you will no doubt remember, I am an atheist. I don’t think there is much truth to be found there, not in the sense of it being god’s word, a reasonable guide to morality, or representative of any kind of reality.

    As I have often said, believe whatever you like. If it makes your life better and you a better person, you have my support.

    Also s I’ve said before, the more bible believing you are, the more a moral relativist you are. The last people I would ask for advice are bible believers.

  • What a thoroughly arrogant comment. So only in THIS quarter-century have we FINALLY properly translated the Scripture on which church doctrine has been built for hundreds of years? You really think that? If you think Tarot cards are a better source of enlightenment then you have far bigger problems that what the Bible and BOD say.

  • Thanks for sharing your total lack of common sense. Your efforts to act self-righteous only make you look foolish.

  • The issue of slavery split Christendom. The orthodox side swore up and down that the Bible was absolutely clear in it’s proscription for the black race: slavery. They staked their very faith on it and declared that anyone who said otherwise was apostate. Other Christians disagreed. Christian denominations were formed around the issue. Eventually most of Christianity came to reject the orthodox position, and declared that God had changed his mind about slavery, and it was no longer good, but evil.

    Today we’re seeing yet another great split in Christendom. The orthodox side is swearing up and down that the Bible is clear that gays are scum. They’re staking their very faith on it and declaring that anyone who says otherwise is apostate. Other Christians are disagreeing and declaring that gays are human beings and should be treated as such. We’re seeing Christian denominations starting to form around the issue. Might we also see most of Christianity ultimately reject the orthodox position, and declare that God changed his mind on gay people? Most assuredly.

  • Thanks for the usual lame scare tactic question. I am sure it sounded sensible to your fellow bigots but not so much to anyone with a brain. I wouldn’t want any of my kids or grandkids exposed to your BS, but that’s pretty much up to them.

  • Murder? Get back to me when someone gets indicted. But thanks for more hype and hysteria from the holy hypocrite crowd.

  • YOUR kids and grandkids ? LMAO. Why not introduce us to the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot too.

  • Or the high percentage of gay serial killers. Look up the U.S. killers with the highest body count. Fifty percent of them are homosexual. Yet gays are….ten percent of the population ?

  • Anyone who has actually supported the murder of babies should be tried in a court for murder. Agreed?

  • No scare tactics. Just the truth. The reason you can’t see it is because you have been duped.

  • Fundelibangelist Christians wish the same thing, but are constrained by laws.

    And every Muslim I have ever met in this country disagree with you. But you need people to hate, apparently, from your postings.

  • Nope. But it does come down to the Bible-thumper mantra of sheeple and wolves. If you are not a Bible-thumping sheeple, then you are one of the Bible-thumping wolves. You pick. Either one is equally shameful.

  • There’s a lot of humanistic evidence in the Bible narrative that Jesus was gay. Matthew 19:12 certainly gives that vibe. And then there’s the whole healing of the Roman Centurion’s “beloved servant,” which non-biblical sources from the era identify as code language for the Roman of officer’s gay lover. Jesus set the rigid code of Mosaic rules on its head with emphasis on caring about people, something that’s very “gay” in all the best ways.

  • Sorry to disappoint you bigot boy, but some of us have done the whole “pray the gay away” nonsense. I did it Mormon-style, which meant marrying straight and having a family. I stayed in my marriage until the youngest kid was an adult living on his own. Only then did I pull the plug on the marriage. I bailed on Mormonism sooner, once it became clear to me what a farce and false narrative “pray the gay away” was. Funny how my kids tell me that I was a great dad. That’s because I chose to be and made a lot of personal sacrifices to be one.

  • That would now include all of you folks who voted for Trump, considering all the Syrian babies that have been gased to death because if his failed policies. You Bible-thumpers worry about unborn fetuses but then could care less about how GOP policies kill live children here and around the world, so go arrest yourself.

  • Then, you know nothing, but most people should already know that. I support the US Constitution and the concept of Natural Law/Human Rights for all. To the extent that Sharia Law, The 10 Commandments, or Aesop’s Fables all comply with the US Constitution, I have no problem, but any place where religious BS tries to go above or outside the Constitution, then, Houston, we have a problem.

  • We hear a donkey braying? Nope. It’s Johnny “Reb” Jay trying to sound as if he knows something special. The view from the short bus is always special, Johnny.

  • When Prop H8 bit the dust and was overturned, the whole Bible-thumper case for keeping that outrageous lie of a law alive was literally laughed out of court. There were no questions. Their case was simply ignored as totally irrelevant to the matter before the court. They tried to be Bible-based and got exactly nowhere in court.

  • None of those details take away from my point, which is the hypocrisy of imbuing any candidate for President with alleged righteousness to promote purely political causes. That’s going far beyond “compromise of sin” in its hypocrisy. Furthermore, the “Christian White” like to use public policy to “punish sin” as they see it, such as withholding medical research money for AIDS. Funny how that once Bill Clinton was President and serious money was spent on research that effective, life-prolonging drugs were found. And then, medical research found effective ways to prevent HIV infection while allowing adults to be sexually active. You holy hypocrites wanted to see people die and be miserable as perceived “punishment” for what you claimed was someone’s “sins.” Yet, Christ in the Bible clearly states that life’s trials are not the result of sin, which declarations folks like you routinely ignore. Thus, even though hundreds of thousands died needlessly in the 1980s from AIDS, the real curse was on the hateful holy hypocrites who showed through their hateful actions and inaction just how unchristian they really were.

  • The allegation that the President was “imbued with alleged righteousness” is a mantra that has little or no evidence supporting it. It stems from the total shock that the supporters of his opponent suffered, and apparently suffering, when they woke up the morning after the election.

    Most folks voted for the President because – in their opinion – his opponent was worse.

    Now here is hypocrisy: “… Bill Clinton was President and serious money was spent on research that effective, life-prolonging drugs were found …”.

    So, despite the fact he was a serial predator, a womanizer, the Teflon Zipper, all is forgiven.

    Since I did not attribute AIDS to sin (it appears to have stemmed from Africans slaughtering and eating “bush meat” consisting of monkeys with a simian version of AIDS), the rest of your comments are similar self-serving nonsense.

  • Actually Strauss v. Horton 46 Cal.4th 364, 93 Cal.Rptr.3d 591, 207 P.3d 48, established that Proposition 8 was valid as voted, but that marriages performed before it went into effect would remain valid.

    The amendment was mooted by the Federal courts.

    The Bible did not enter into either legal venue.

  • Nope. I was in Barnes and Nobles the other day and saw a book dedicated to the “Christian Values of Donald J. Trump.” Browsing the book, some holy hypocrite “writer” was trying to make the case that Trump is doing “God’s Work” by causing harm to the LGBTQ community and then tried to make the case that doing so made him “Christian,” regardless of his other faults. So, nope. The holy haters are out there in droves claiming Trump is God’s own messenger for them.

  • Stop going to Barnes and Noble.

    If you do, stop picking up things you disagree with. You’ve already agitated yourself to a froth point.

    The fact that someone wrote the book simply demonstrates that – like you – others have zany opinions.

  • “Jesus” was not yet born and it’s a modern Christian extrapolation of dogma to put Christ backwards into time to do and say things that happened before his birth. The Trinity doctrine did not even exist at the time that events in Genesis allegedly took place. It was not until the Nicene councils that Christians invented the doctrine of the Trinity to reconcile the obvious conflicts between the Old and New Testaments. Before then, there simply was no such mention in the Bible or in Christian writings to suggest that Jesus was there in the beginning saying or doing anything that ended up in Genesis.

  • Thanks for your alleged concern. And worry about yourself “frothing at the mouth.” That’s another one of those silly holy hypocrite deflection devises to project emotions on the other person that simply are not apparent. Same old bags of tricks.

  • Strauss v. Horton was overturned in Federal Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which was the case I that I meant to cite.

  • Wrong. You keep asserting that nonsense but it does not get any truer for being repeated nonsense. The LGBTQ are speaking the truth and its the holy hypocrites who feel okay with lying to tell “a higher truth” in their lies.

  • There was no religious content to Hollingsworth v Perry at all, Reinhardt’s majority opinion being grounded in details specific to the case
    of California supported by a narrow Constitutional principle.

  • That’s a great question to a holy hypocrite who has no internal sense of morality. But for people with built in ethics it’s a question that does not need to be asked. Thanks for showing why “atheists” are actually the better people, since they are guided by their own internal ethics and not the fake ones that you claim to be guided by.

  • Speaking of old bags and tricks, I note that you avoided your hypocrisy on Bill Clinton, which demonstrated your guilt in doing what you accuse your opponents of doing.

  • Bill Clinton did not have to be a good person to do the right thing. In fact, most of the good Clinton did was the lucky accident of him trying to save his own skin from the consequences of his prior poor choices. So, my conscience is clear. I am not the one trying to give “sainthood” to scoundrels.

  • In fact your hypothesis is a modern extrapolation of your dogma – that same sex sexual activities are A-OK – backward in time to have Jesus and the author of Genesis say and do things that happened after both were written.

    The doctrine of the Trinity, for example, makes what sense can be made out of the revelation in the New Testament and the unity of the deity, which is itself a mystery.

    Jesus cites Genesis because it points out the foundational belief that the purpose of mankind is to go forth and multiply, something that Bob and Tim run into some biological barriers accomplishing, which defines the purpose of marriage.

    Yes, Johny-come-latelys like yourself can put all manner of odd and eccentric casts on it, but for 3,000 years there was no question at all about “same-sex unions”.

  • Donald Trump does not have to be a “good person” (whatever means) to do the right thing.

    That explains why people voted for him with clear consciences.

  • Next time I engage in joyful married sodomy with my husband, we will dedicate it to you, Bulls**t Dozer. You’re welcome.

  • Nope. Holy hypocrites have to make heroes out of crooks in their twisted little minds. And doing so shows their own moral corruption. People voted for a con artist, so they either were fooled by him or are part of the problems he brings with him.

  • I don’t argue with the outcomes, but I do recall that the proponents who were found to lack standing to defend Prop 8 tried to use “biblical justification” for their positions before being told that they had no jurisdiction.

  • Thank you for your latest completely unsupported personal opinion.

    IMHO outraged hypocrites have to make crooks out of others in their twisted little minds to compensate for the fact they supported a candidate who made most of the country barf.

    That explains why the DNC has done literally nothing to correct any of the problems that led to its last defeat, and instead doubled down on a fantasy world.

  • I have made no assertions about “same-sex activities.” I have made the case that being LGBTQ is a gift from God and not some sinful bad choice as the holy hypocrites would falsely assert. The writers of the Bible simply did not know what we now do about humanity and human beings. Their ignorance back then is not their fault, but your willful ignorance now is very much your fault. We know lots of things that people did not know back then and manage to deal with many such things very well, but folks like you get selectively stuck in the past, based on your own bigotry and not the actual biblical record.

  • Wrong yet again, Errol Flynn. The US Senate Intelligence committee has concluded that the Russians indeed tried to interfere in the 2016 Elections to the benefit of Trump. As to Democrats, they keep winning contested legislative seats around the nation. We’ll see if their efforts turn the House over in 2018 work out.

  • I suppose the fact that the investigations are still going on and there has been zero proof of either collusion or actual effect doesn’t enter into your calculations.

    You do realize that the DNC was hacked AFTER it was warned by US Intelligence that it was being targeted and took ZERO precautions anyway?

    The phrase “keep winning contested legislative seats around the nation” hits a new high in hyperbole.

  • He also told them: vv. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 62975-62978). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

    Looks like ongoing revelation to me.

  • As I read the comments no one but you is stating that “LGBTQ is a gift from God”. Most of your cohorts have evinced some doubt about the existence of a deity altogether.

    I also have not read any comments suggesting that “LGBTQ is a … sinful bad choice”.

    From what I read it is acting on a same-sex attraction that is a sinful bad choice, while my own comments have more focused on the lack of wisdom of enshrining such a choice in pseudo-constitutional jargon and calling it a right.

    Since all these comments are there to read, your wilful ignorance is very much your fault.

    As I understand it, the writers of the Bible and that Jesus fella were inspired by the deity itself, although I am sure that you think you know more about humanity and human beings than they and in fact more than anyone who disagrees with you.

    So, it’s your own bigotry which seems to standing in the way of appreciating what is being said.

  • How very odd that it was addressed only to the Apostles and not to their followers or appointed successors, eh?

    The consensus of Christians, East and West, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Oriental Orthodox, and so on until those Germans got involved in the 19th century was that the text above supports the conclusion that the Apostles were inspired, but that when the last Apostle died, the revelation was concluded.

  • Acting on same-sex attraction is part of the gift. It is not sinful. The “evidence” against equal love and equal marriage is based entirely in the vain imaginings of dreadful people bent on imposing their dark perspective on others. The holy hypocrites are the sinners, not the people who live and love as they were designed to. I know this as a matter of person experience. I grew up in a religious home and tried the whole “pray the gay away,” including religious service, marrying straight and raising a family. None of that turned me “straight.” I sacrificed a lot to be a parent, but I found no “joy” or “pleasure” in my marriage. It was torture from start to finish. My wife knew my “special status” from start to finish of the whole dreadful affair and I kept my vows, but always felt like a person in jail because of them. Whether I ever act on being gay or not, being free of a marriage imposed by the emotional blackmail of religion is a great thing all by itself.

  • While your script is that “(a)cting on same-sex attraction is part of the gift. It is not sinful.”, that is a minority opinion among the Abrahamic religions.

    Your defense of it consists of name-calling – “based entirely in the vain imaginings of dreadful people bent on imposing their dark perspective on others” – and some rather ill-founded notions about their scriptures.

    The recitation of personal tribulations differ not a whit from similar tribulations I have heard from addicts, those suffering long-term depression, kleptomaniacs, nymphomaniacs, and on and on and on. Life can be tough.

    While one can be sympathetic, one also is obliged to point out that going “poof!” to those who oppose it on moral grounds does not carry the argument.

  • I really don’t care what the majority view of the Abrahamic religions are. I was falsely promised as a kid that I could pray it away. That never happened. I have been a good moral person my entire life, giving back. I have been told by a lot of people that I have spiritual gifts and I have seen evidence of that myself, all of which stem from being who I am. So, I am my own best witness that the holy hypocrites are full of horse manure. I did all the things that they claim will make the gay go away and it never did. I was a husband, a father, and a solid citizen who gave back far more to the community than I ever took. All of the preaching by all of the holy hypocrites is horse manure and false. It’s that simple. I know it for myself through my own life experience. Everything that makes me the good person that I am is entwined with the fact that I was born gay and knew it by the time that I was 14, but I tried to do what the religionists in my life said to do, and they were all wrong. Ironically, while serving a mission for the Mormons in Mexico, an indigenous shaman gave me his “blessing” and his sense of me and my life proved far more true than all the collective horse manure of Mormons and Evangelical Christians alike. That’s why I consider myself a student of Gaia and of alternative spiritualism nowadays. That view encompasses the good parts of Christianity without the horse manure of the man-made religions.

  • And the majority of Abrahamic religions don’t care what you think – they don’t even know you exist.

    Certainly being the victim of incompetent parenting is a painful experience.

    That has little or nothing to do with whether “holy hypocrites are full of horse manure”.

    The place to sort it out is in a therapist’s office.

  • No, the issue of slavery did not split Christendom.

    No, the orthodox side did not swear up and down that the Bible was clear in its proscription for the black race: slavery.

    Now that we have that out of the way, your attempt to equate same-sex sexual activity with the argument over race – which was only in Anglo-American Protestant denominatons – pretty much fizzles out.

  • It would appear – correct me if I am wrong – that the Syrian deal went walk about when Mr. “Talk loudly and throw your stick away” who was the Commander-In-Chief at the time drew a red line and then slinked into the sunset.

  • I can’t say I’m surprised that the One Church Plan is catching flack from both sides, about the only thing they can agree on is that issues of sex and marriage aren’t nonessentials.

  • Evangelicals are attempting to re-write history and claim that no Christian supported slavery. But that’s a lie! The Southern Baptist Convention was founded on slavery. They were orthodox Christians and they absolutely believed that slavery was the destiny for black people.

    To be sure, there was a minority of Christians who believed that God had changed his mind on slavery and called it evil. But they were the “liberals” not the orthodox. They did eventually carry the day though and convinced the orthodox to give up slavery.

  • A calm, rational, and thorough look at this leads to a few conclusions:

    – No significant number of “evangelicals” are claiming no Christian supported slavery.

    – The Southern Baptist Convention was created when the Triennial Convention refused to appoint slaveowners as missionaries. Individual congregations were free to take either position on slavery.

    – No member of any evangelical denomination has owned slaves or seven generations later owes anyone an apology, explanation, or anything else.

    – Whether “slavery” is an evil depends on what you’re talking about. The Uncle Tom’s Cabin version, which involved abuse, exploitation, and the treatment of human beings as mere animals was and is clearly evil. The version where the “slave” lived in town, owned his own property, ran a trade, and gave 5-10% to his “master” is probably not.

    153 years later only a few scholars have any idea of what the range of situations was in the South.

  • If atheism is true there is no such thing as a “built in ethics”. Here is what one of the greatest atheist’s has written on this:
    “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”
    ― Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

    Be a consistent atheist and stop pretending there is such a thing as evil.

  • Under the “One Church Plan,” the local pastors will get to decide if they want to accept the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and whether to erect asherim in their churches. The bishops will get to decide who gets ordained and, thereby, will ensure that every local pastor will force their congregations to agree with them completely. Of course, any congregants who don’t like the plan are free to leave, but they won’t be able to take any of the real estate that they paid for through years of giving with them. See, it really preserves the one church.