UMAction Briefing HomepageMark Tooley
Institute on Religion and Democracy


The Institute on Religion and Democracy
January 15, 1999
Contact: Mark Tooley: 202/986-1440

Washington, D.C. - The chairman of the IRD's United Methodist committee called the planned January 16 lesbian "wedding" led by 80 United Methodist ministers "another act of betrayal by extremists who are violating the Bible, church law, and the Christian faith still believed by millions of faithful United Methodists."

The ceremony will occur Saturday in California at the Sacramento Convention Center. Besides 80 officiating United Methodist ministers, another 70 United Methodist clergy have lent their names as supporters in absentia. These ministers have agreed openly to defy United Methodist Church law, which prohibits clergy from officiating in same-sex unions.

Bishop Melvin Talbert of San Francisco, who presides over northern California and Nevada, has expressed his personal support for same-sex ceremonies. He has said he will uphold the church's law but has declined to specify how he will do so after the ceremony occurs.

"How tragic that clergy of our church should once again make headlines by rejecting the historic teachings of Christianity," said David Stanley, who chairs the IRD's United Methodist Action committee.

"Our clergy are called to proclaim the unchanging Good News of Jesus Christ, no matter the opposition or unpopularity," Stanley continued. "We as His church are called to transform society with that Good News, not surrender to society's fads and fashions. These mistaken clergy are not only violating their ordination vows; they have chosen to sacrifice the Gospel to the whims of current popular culture.

"God loves everyone, including homosexuals. God also sets high moral standards for everyone. Therefore, God's church must offer His grace, forgiveness, and transformation to all people everywhere - whatever our sins, including the sin of homosexual behavior. Many former homosexuals have already been healed through Christian ministries," Stanley said.

"God has ordained, and His church must uphold, marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman," Stanley said. "The United Methodist doctrine on marriage and sexuality is both compassionate and Scripturally faithful. But many United Methodist bishops, officials, seminary faculty, and clergy refuse to abide by United Methodist beliefs.

"Officials and clergy who cannot uphold the beliefs of our church should resign, for the sake of integrity." Stanley urged. He noted that same-sex "marriage" is not legally recognized in California or any other state. The IRD has entered an amicus brief in opposition to the acceptance of same-sex "marriage" in Hawaii.

NOTE: David Stanley is a lifelong United Methodist who lives at Muscatine, Iowa. He can be reached by calling, faxing or writing IRD.

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