Today was a tough day emotionally and physically. My legislative committee spent a good portion of the day debating the language in Paragraph 304 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline. That paragraph deals with requirements/restrictions to ordination. My sub-committee also dealt with this paragraph. In the end the committee voted, by a margin of 20, to maintain language that states the homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and that self-avowed practicing homosexuals cannot being appointed.
This process was very emotional and tiring. For the most part, it was a civil discussion. My biggest problem was the arguments that said that acceptance of our LGBT members would lead to a moral backslide that leads to polygamy, unsafe place for children, and cult activity. One member of the committee paralleled homosexuality and the recent events in Texas with the fundamentalist sect that was raided by the government.
This decision greatly saddens me. I don’t understand the hate that comes this way. I don’t hate those who I think miss use and mistreat the teachings of Jesus. It’s hard being a supporter of LGBT rights with the way I’m looked at and treated, but it is small in comparison to those in the LGBT community and deal with it all the time. It’s times like this I find it hard to continue in the ordination process in the United Methodist Church. As an elder, I would be called upon to maintain an institution and doctrine I do not agree with in major ways.
One moving moment today was when a Swahili interpreter stopped mid-translation to state that he was merely interpreting and that it pained him to say these words, since they were not his own belief. Our chair of the committee, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, has been a very strong leader and has been an inspiration. She shared today how hard it is to lead and present a decision to the General Conference that she did not agree with, but the love she had for the church and the people would lead her to do all she could to present the will of our committee.
It’s been a long day, and I’ll have more reflection and reactions later. Time is not on my side for many updates at this time.
Grace and Peace,