Institute on Religion and Democracy
May 12, 2000
In several dramatic but decisive votes, the governing General Conference of the United Methodist Church decisively rejected intense pro-homosexuality lobby movements by reaffirming traditional Christian teaching about marriage and sexuality.
"When the relatively liberal-controlled United Methodist Church refuses to compromise on homosexuality, our nation should take notice," observed Mark Tooley, who directs the IRD's United Methodist committee (UMAction). "Perhaps the political power of the homosexual movement has peaked, both in our mainline churches and in our culture."
Delegates meeting at the quadrennial General Conference voted by margins of 65-80 percent to reaffirm the church's declaration that homosexual practice is "incompatible" with Christian teaching, the prohibition against ordaining practicing homosexuals, the prohibition against same-sex unions, and the ban on denominational funding for pro-homosexual advocacy. The ten day conference concludes May 12 in Cleveland.
In last minute desperation tactics, pro-homosexuality demonstrators occupied the floor of the convention center in attempts to disrupt the proceedings after delegates rejected their legislation. Despite extreme patience by the General Conference, which included a vote to allow the demonstrators to remain on the convention floor if they were not disruptive, the police were ultimately called upon to remove them.
Tooley observed that the arguments employed by pro-homosexuality spokespersons were often irrational and illogical. They blamed church teachings for violence against homosexuals, without evidence, and implied that their opponents were guilty of bigotry, he said. Personal experience and desires were exalted as superior to all forms of traditional morality and objective truth. They never explained why both the Scriptures and several thousand years of Jewish and Christian history should be overthrown to accommodate the latest sexual fads of modern Western culture.
"The delegates of the General Conference should be commended for their patience and their perseverance," Tooley remarked. "They said 'no' not only to the intimidation of the demonstrators. More importantly, they said 'no' to the even more pervasive intimidation of America's current popular culture, which has increasingly embraced the pro-homosexuality movement. This General Conference of our church may be an historic watershed for churches and for our nation."