A Church Divided: Methodists Clash Over Gay Marriage

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"The church is really trying to sweep this under the rug and we're pretending we're all united, we're the United Methodist Church after all," says former Methodist minister Frank Schaefer on the division within the United Methodist Church (UMC) over the issue of homosexuality.  

Schaefer says there was "no way in Hell" he would have declined when he was asked to ordain his son's same-sex wedding in 2007. "I saw it as an act of love," says Schaefer.

Others within the church saw it as an act of rebellion.

Former Methodist Minister Frank Schaefer

Schaefer was stripped of his clerical credentials this past December after a 13-member jury of pastors found him guilty of disobeying church law. The UMC Book of Discipline, which contains the church's laws and doctrines, forbids celebrations of same-sex marriages and asserts that the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."

While Schaefer's defrocking may have been meant as a warning to silence rogue pastor's who disagree with the UMC Book of Discipline, it has arguably had the opposite effect: The church now faces a legitimate uprising by clergy members and laypeople within the denomination who passionately disagree with the church's stance on homosexuality. The internal debate has been waging since 1972 when the first language condemning homosexual practice was introduced in the Book of Discipline. 

Schaefer is now an outspoken activist working to change Methodist policy on gay marriage. This movement within the UMC prompts the question: How do voluntary, private organizations change—or refuse to change— policies about matters that are central to their missions?

Religious practices change all the time—just ask Catholics who celebrated mass in Latin until the 1960s or Protestant groups that started ordaining women as ministers in the 1970s. But are there certain core beliefs that can never change? 

Conservative theologians within the church argue that Schaefer's defrocking was justified because church law, by definition, must be upheld—otherwise, it is not a church law. They maintain that homosexuals are welcome in the church, but that one should abstain from the practice of homosexuality. 

"The ultimate debate is not over sexuality—it's just one battle flag issue in the current culture wars that's been going on in the last 150 years between traditionalist and liberal revisionists," says Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative Christian think-tank in Washington, D.C.

UMC is experiencing a split in opinion on gay marriage

However, liberal theologians are a sizeable minority within the church and have been pushing back against the restrictive language every step of the way. Hundreds of Methodist ministers have publicly rejected the doctrine and, like Frank, some face punishment by trial for performing same-sex weddings. 

Fellow mainline protestants have already moved toward accepting gay unions. These include the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church of America. However, the Methodist church seems to be going in the opposite direction. The margin of vote against changing the church's stance on homosexual unions was 61 to 39 percent at the 2012 General Conference, which meets every four years to vote on changes within the church. This was a wider disparity than in 2008.

The explanation has to do with the structure of the Methodist church. The UMC is very centralized—the General Conference makes rules for everything by way of a majority vote. This is very different from the other mainline denominations who operate as a loose federation of congregations with a shared tradition but not necessarily the same doctrine or rules. The loose federation allows the different congregations across the world more autonomy, a structure that has helped them maintain their unity even in the midst of disagreements on issues such as gay marriage. 

Some UMC congregations believe gay marriage should be allowed in the Church

Congregations in the UMC have less autonomy and a significant portion of the church lies outside of the U.S. While membership in the U.S. is declining, overseas branches are increasing—and these tend to be more conservative. The growing African Church has provided the votes at the General Conference to block any changes to the Book of Discipline liberalizing the stance on gay marriage. 

"If the Church abandons its teaching on sexuality, there will in fact be a much deeper division and a formal schism," says Tooley.

Schaefer agrees. "But sometimes a division has to happen so that both parts of the Church can minister with integrity," he says.

"Certainly that's not happening right now. We're saying we're the United Methodist Church, but we're not. It's a fake union, it's not real. It compromises ministers' and people's integrity."

Schaefer has appealed the Church's decision in an attempt to have his credentials restored to the Church and his appeal date is set for June 20, 2014.

About 8 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Todd Krainin, Joshua Swain, and Winkler. Narrated by Todd Krainin.

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  1. At least I get a ringside seat to watch this sort of thing kill the PCUSA. Get ur popcorn.

  2. Libertarianism has been hijacked by those trying to normalize perversion. Just because it isn’t and shouldn’t be illegal doesn’t mean we should be cheering it on.

    1. Oh, define “perversion”! This should be fascinating.

      1. I believe this explains his objections.

        1. Sounds about right to me.

      2. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $500 a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. http://www.Fox81.com

    2. As the old saying goes, one man’s vice is another man’s habit. Who gets to define perversion, vice, et al?

      1. Um, if you’re saying you’re a Christian church, maybe the Bible?

        1. Mr. TeaBaggins was not talking about a Christian church unless Libertarianism or Reason became one while I wasn’t looking.

      2. I suppose anyone capable of thought. People’s sexual desire to procreate are innate. It’s essential to the species. Therefore someone who has sexual desires to procreate with children too young for reproduction, or animals, or those of the same sex have abnormal desires that cannot meet the purpose for which they evolved. Therefore it’s perverse. What you do with that piece of reality is up to you (we can still live and let live), but I have trouble imagining that we’re all incapable of defining some things as abnormal or perverse.

    3. It hasn’t been hijacked, there are great and growing numbers of we Bible-believing libertarian Christians around. You should see some of the leftist hysterical rants against Gary North!

      Just look for them.

      It’s just that some libertarians can’t tell the difference between the non-aggression principle and the promotion of hedonism, as in this article.

      Just think. This Schaeffer guy could go do his own schism, right now, bug out already guy, the right of free association with whoever you want to applies to the current majority.

      Heck, nobody even needs the state to marry their neighbor, their dog, or a jackass. In fact there are plenty of people living with jackasses across the country.

      Nope, this is a thought-police operation where you are supposed to conform your thought to the current thought-police commands.

  3. If it is enough of an issue to join a denomination, take an oath to follow its discipline, and then decide you cannot – then maybe it is a good idea to leave. That is the great thing about not having a state church or apostasy/heresy laws. Voluntary association is a great thing.

    1. Or maybe people who have invested time and effort want to change the denomination. The denomination can also kick those people out, at its own peril, if the bylaws allow it.

      1. In this case, the denomination seems to be moving further away from the stated position of the person wanting to change it. Do they try harder, disobey more flagrantly? Do they burn the discipline before the bishops? When do they decide they need to destroy the church to save the church?

    2. This organization is not a government, and has no territorial monopoly of force claim.

      It is a voluntary association, and you voluntarily dissociate, and if you don’t but demand it all conform to the way you think, then you are the tyrant and the people who continue in voluntary association with this church are the victims.

      Do like I did. Quit, get out, and preach the Gospel to every creature your own way. Though the guy is not preaching the Gospel, I won’t join the “Metropolitan” whatsit and demand they all go straight. Sheesh. Get a grip on REASON, guys.

  4. But are there certain core beliefs that can never change?

    The beliefs don’t change, it’s the adherence or subscription to them that does. And there are core beliefs without which we stop being civilized, human, or both.

    When I stop believing in the NAP, you’ll read about it on the news. If everyone suddenly stops believing in the NAP aspects of the social contract, there will be no news to read it from.

    1. “it’s the adherence or subscription to them that does”

      Andrew Sullivan style Catholicism?

      1. And all those nominally catholic people who use birth control, etc. etc.

    2. At some point, you can’t say that you hold a belief that you don’t “adhere or subscribe” to.

  5. Whatever. Join the Unitarians.

    1. There are Christian options too, as outlined in the article.

      1. And Unitarianism can be christianity, or not, depending on your views.

  6. Being a Lutheran, I am glad we put this issue behind us a couple of years ago. The church split, and the members who didn’t want to recognize gay marriage left. And I am all for religious and other private institutions creating their own rules with respect towards issues like this – just like it would be silly to force the KKK to recognize gay, Jewish, or black members. Another thing entirely for the government. It was only a few short years ago that Congress was about to add the 28th ammendment to the Constitution – Thou Shall Only Marry A Person Of The Opposite Sex.

    1. Just like it would be silly to force the KKK to recognize gay, Jewish, or black members.

      Oh, I don’t know.

    2. They are already doing this in some universities. Blacklisting Christian student groups unless they allow atheists, gays, or anybody to join and even hold office.

      Needless to say, it is very doubtful they enforce such a thing against a Muslim group. As a matter of integrity, a Christian would not attempt to join a club whose membership required agreement with atheism.

  7. Trigger warning: Homophobic and (probably) racist themes

    Gary marriage has never affected me directly. It’s affected some of my family, but not me personally. It’s an important issue for gay people. It’s a civil rights issue.

    But I’m beginning to get gay marriage fatigue. I mean, I don’t want to diminish the importance of this civil rights issue for those it affects, but really, some of this stuff reads like “Two dudes you’ve never heard of have spat over gay marriage”.

    1. Gary marriage has never affected me directly.

      The judges don’t believe in it yet…

      1. But the divorce lawyers do.

    2. I am waiting for Reason Magazine to do its “Gay Bride” issue with questions answered like

      Who wears the wedding dress?

      Should your former wife or husband from before coming out be invited to the wedding?

      How many times is it appropriate for you to drive around your former church/synagogue /mosque after the wedding, blowing your horn and giving them the finger after they refused to let you get married in their building?

      1. Listen. Let me ask you something. If you and Mona were ever to… dance, how do you decide who leads? I mean… do you take turns? Do you discuss it beforehand? How does that work?

      2. Should your former wife or husband from before coming out be invited to the wedding?

        Been there, so I can answer that.

        I lean ‘no’.

  8. One thing I don’t get – why would gay guys want to get married in a church whose book says that for the crime of fucking each other they must die?

    1. The new testament doesn’t say that.

      1. Sure, Jesus made the old laws no longer apply, but it’s still in the book. And didn’t Paul have some nasty things to say about homos?

        1. Paul said homosexuality was a sin. I am not going to argue with him other than to say, so are a lot of other things.

          1. I said no such thing.

            1. *peers at Paul*

              You don’t look 2000+ years old either. OK, you get a pass….. this time.

          2. And besides, I gave a trigger warning.

          3. Certainly, lots of other things are sins by 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. However, in my experience, very few people think it’s a reasonable idea to suggest that Methodist ministers should preside at ceremonies endorsing fornication, idolatry, adultery, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander, or fraud.

            1. Exactly. It is just as unreasonable to endorse homosexuality as it is those things.

              1. Why is homosexuality just as unreasonable to endorse as theft and fraud?

                1. If you look at the list of what is considered sinful, it is there – if you start endorsing sin, you start endorsing sin. Why should one sin get a pass, and others not?

                  1. Well, it seems clear to me that somebody stealing or committing fraud is much worse than two guys or two ladies having sex.

                    Endorsing homosexuality seems much more reasonable to endorse than stealing or committing fraud.

                    1. “Endorsing homosexuality seems much more reasonable to endorse than stealing or committing fraud.”

                      It is not an either or situation. Its more a “these things are no nos, please do not do them – if you do, repent, don’t do them again and you are forgiven.”

                    2. And if you keep doing them you’ll burn forever.

        2. Jesus expressly dumped the dietary restrictions, which is why Christianity is a more popular religion than Judaism and Islam. I mean, come on, pork rules.

          1. I once read an essay arguing that the reason Islam never caught on in China is that they love their pork too much. It made perfect sense.

            1. Plus its hard to pronounce.

            2. They put pork in broccoli and tofu. And it’s fucking delicious.

          2. I for one like a little milk in my morning glass of blood.

            1. Any religion that denies the cheeseburger is doomed to failure.

              1. Much less the bacon cheeseburger.

                1. Used by some religions as proof of the deity.

          3. You know who else lived by strict dietary restrictions?

            1. You know, Jesus must not have been a vegetarian. I mean, fish, right? At a minimum. So vegetarianism has Hitler and, I guess, Gandhi, meat-eating has Jesus.

              1. Eh, fish is really more like a vegetable.

              2. Pro Libertate|5.20.14 @ 3:44PM|#

                You know, Jesus must not have been a vegetarian. I mean, fish, right? At a minimum. So vegetarianism has Hitler and, I guess, ”

                Goodwins Law foul. 15 yards and loss of post.

            2. Robert Atkins?

        3. Jesus used Sodom and Gommorah as the most extreme examples to date of sin and depravity in history. SIX times.

          He also didn’t say it was bad to explode a nuclear bomb, but he would have told Truman not to do it (probably tried to).

          By the way, he called Matthew the tax collector to drop it all and follow him, but later on in Matthew 17 he taught his disciples how the ones who collect taxes are “free”, meaning the rest are not.

          Remember he also manifested the only occasion of physical punishment against the thieving money changers. Imagine what he’d do to the Federal Reserve and the rest of government today.

          “My kingdom is not of this world” He was the first libertarian!

      2. It does say there’s a hell, though. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s a hell on the OT. At least in the OT its straight death, not eternal punishment.

        1. Sure it does. But we all do things that, absent grace, will put us in hell. A homosexual’s sodomy is no worse or no better than the 20 or so sins I seem to commit daily.

          1. Sure what does? Is there a hell in the OT?

            1. Is there a hell in the OT? Not really. The Jews always had a pretty vague view of the afterlife. There is both a heaven and hell in the NT. It is just less clear about what those things actually are than most churches like to pretend.

          2. 20 sins a day! A follow up for 3 felonies a day?

            1. I am pretty sure 20 is being easy on myself.

              1. I think the felonies are up to 20 or so and the sins 2 or 3 nowadays.

    2. They’re Protestants, which means they can think for themselves. Oh, and once you accept that Jesus died to save liars, murders, thieves, adulterers and gay people, too, the idea that the government needs to get involved in prohibiting gay relationships doesn’t make any more sense than throwing people in jail for committing adultery.

      I would think Catholics would have an easier time changing such things. They think their church can rewrite the ten commandments to suit themselves (so they can celebrate the sun god and worship idols), so why can’t they rewrite the rest of the Bible to suit higher purposes?

      I guess the best explanation is because they don’t want to.

      1. “I would think Catholics would have an easier time changing such things. They think their church can rewrite the ten commandments to suit themselves (so they can celebrate the sun god and worship idols), so why can’t they rewrite the rest of the Bible to suit higher purposes?”

        *smooches*

      2. Hey, the magisterium recently decreed the worship of Louis XIV to be acceptable. Also, I’m a Catholic, and couldn’t give two shits whether two guys/girls get married. I just don’t want the government anywhere near defining/endorsing/licensing marriage, period. Let whatever religious/irreligious institutions worry about that shit.

      3. Oh, intramural feud. [goes to make popcorn]

    3. Warty|5.20.14 @ 2:38PM|#

      One thing I don’t get – why would gay guys want to get married in a church whose book says that for the crime of fucking each other they must die?”

      Bingo.

      Gay jihadism. That’s why.

      Also why would gay guys want to force someone to bake a cake for their wedding ?

      If I were the baker I would bake them a cake they would never forget.

  9. Hmmm. Being an English religion, how are such clashes resolved? By swords? Pikes?

    1. Actually, since they’re Methodists, it’s by who can go the longest without drinking.

      1. Why are they called Methodists, anyway? Is it from the rhythm method? No, that’s Catholics, isn’t it? I guess I should know, going to a Methodist church as a kid (which is interesting in itself, seeing how my dad was raised Baptist and my mom Presbyterian).

        1. Wiki says, “The fellowship were branded as ‘Methodist’ by their fellow students because of the way they used ‘rule’ and ‘method’ to go about their religious affairs.”

          1. Okay, so just like Shaolin monks then?

            1. I was thinking more like Poirot.

              1. He’s great and all, but I’m not sure about his ass-kicking skills. I mean, he’s Belgian.

                1. You know what those fuckers did in the Congo, dude. Who knows what sick weapons are hidden under that waistcoat.

                  1. Poirot needs rebooting. With Van Damme.

                    1. ^This^

                    2. “Ah, you are not accused. . .you are excused! Thank you both for your help and cooperation.” [Jumps up and does that Van Damme split thing, kicking off both people’s heads.]

                    3. I’d watch it.

                    4. I’d produce it! Starting with Murder on the Orient Express. Which is a zeppelin instead of a train.

      2. I think Methodists can drink.

        It’s we Baptists who ( burp0 can’t drink.

        Or dance, and I’ve got that can’t dance part down pat.

        I mean, even if I tried, I can’t dance.

  10. This is not a dilemma and Reason pretending that it is just aids and abets the left’s totalitarian culture war. Everyone in America is free to form their own church if they wish and free to leave any church whose beliefs they find objectionable. The solution is for the people who want to recognize gay marriage to split with those who don’t and form a new church. It sounds nice to say “well shouldn’t organizations change” except that the left is relentless and won’t leave any organization it finds objectionable alone.

    The Boy Scouts are a good example. The Left, with Reason cheering it on, spent decades trying to force the Boy Scouts to accept gays. Well finally they did and those who disagreed were forced to leave the organization and form their own new organization. That sounds like a happy ending except that give it ten or fifteen years and let the new organization be a success and you watch, the left will be demanding it accept gays and the aging hipster Nick Gillespie will be cheering them on.

    There have been Christian churches in this country since its founding. The country has an incredibly mature and varied religious tradition. There is no need for anyone to demand that a religious organization change on such a divisive issue as gay marriage. If you think gay marriage is great, there are any number of churches that will agree with you and if those don’t suit you, you and other like minded people are free to form a new one.

    1. The people who want to change this are not people who will change this church and then give up. They will move on to other churches. Their goal is not a Methodist church that accepts gays. Their goal is to ensure every church accepts gays whether their members want to or not.

      1. Their goal is to ensure every church accepts gays whether their members want to or not.

        Well, yeah. Tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance.

      2. What’s more, this change is largely egged on by the sort of people least inclined to go to church or to participate in the life of a church at all, and most inclined to impose intolerance in the spheres they occupy (academia and media, especially). This is about destroying the independence of the church and suborning it to leftism, not “tolerance”: it is about making Christian pastors either perform gay weddings against their consciences, or leave the priesthood.

        It will also serve to push away church members who have an otherwise libertarian stance on gay folks’ rights in a free society, as it serves to confirm suspicions that these rights and privileges are a stalking horse to force people in their church to act contrary to their conscience.

      3. John, you may want to actually read more than the headline whenever you see “gay” here. Winkler basically describes the rift and quotes from the opposing viewpoints. That you view the article as spun says more about your own pre-conceptions than her writing.

        1. I did read it. And she portrays it like this guy has a point when he doesn’t.

    2. There is no need for anyone to demand that a religious organization change on such a divisive issue as gay marriage. If you think gay marriage is great, there are any number of churches that will agree with you and if those don’t suit you, you and other like minded people are free to form a new one.

      I say this as a completely irreligious person, but I think it severely discounts the extent to which a clergyman might not want to leave the religion he not only practices but preaches. It doesn’t make sense to me to criticize people like him, or involved lay church members, for trying to get the church to change. If it were about outsiders, what you’re saying would make more sense. But there are certainly people who take it seriously that they are, in fact, Methodists, want to continue being Methodists, etc.

      1. Create your own Methodist breakaway church? They aren’t Catholics after all.

        1. Yes, but who gets the house in the divorce? That’s the real problem. Like most churches, the Methodist church owns a lot of stuff. Starting a new church requires money for the new building, bibles, paying staff until you’ve got a large enough congregation to be self sustaining. Ultimately, if the church is split everyone in the majority keeps everything while everyone in the minority has to start over from scratch. As far as I know, when leaving a church like that, you can’t sue for divorce. If you could, it would solve a lot of these problems very quickly.

          1. Yes, but who gets the house in the divorce?

            Thats why you start with a decentralized congregationalist denomination. When you split, the local church goes with you.

            As I said somewhere below, baptists have a lot of experience with this.

      2. I see your point and normally it would make sense. I am loath to endorse the idea that all organizations must remain static and cannot evolve. They shouldn’t and should. The problem is that leftists take that idea and pervert it and use it as a tool in their totalitarian culture war.

        If this were just an issue about the Methodists and nothing else, I would agree with you and say “let them fight it out amongst themselves.” Thanks to leftists it is not just about Methodists. They won’t stop with Methodists. When they are done making it conform to their politics, they will move on to the new group those who disagreed with them formed and start the process over again.

        I think we have reached the point on gay marriage where there is no point in having the discussion anymore. Some people love it and some people loath it. I think both sides, if they think it is that important of a moral issue, stick to the institutions on their own side of the issue and leave the other side alone.

        Think of it this way, what if a group of fundamentalists joined a really liberal domination and started demanding that it change and go back to strict teachings? I seriously doubt Reason would be writing such a sympathetic article about the dilemma their demands have created.

        1. I’m just saying, pull out of the fucking KULTURWAR for a minute and read this story. It’s about a Methodist pastor. Not a carpetbagger. I am fine with him having beef and wanting to change the rules of his organization.

          1. I am actually not fine with that. Again, there isn’t a case to be made that they should endorse gays. He just doesn’t like. Well, if you don’t like it, leave. Act on your conscience rather than demand everyone else change to sooth it.

            To me this minister is no different than a Rabbi one day deciding “hey Jesus had a point” and demanding the local Temple change to suit him. And again, if it were going the other way and some pastor were trying to get a church to stop endorsing gay marriage, you and Reason would tell him to go fuck himself and leave if he didn’t like it. You only think otherwise, because you agree with this guy.

            1. Schaefer is obviously wanting create a fuss to rally others in the church to accept gay marriage. Everyone going to church goes voluntarily. As long as these rebellious ministers do not solicit the government to forcefully impose gay marriage, John, I don’t see how this qualifies as a cultural war issue. War implies forcing people– commonly using the government as your agent to do so.

              I’m usually with you, John, but not on this issue.

              1. The culture war is a metaphor. Call it what you like but it is just another example of Leftists demanding that institutions change and conform to their beliefs.

                This argument has been going on for 20 years. There are plenty of Christian churches who accept gay marriage. If the issue is that important to him, he should leave and go join one of them.

                The people who object to gay marriage are doing nothing but asking the church stay with what they joined. Why should they have to leave and go find another church? Shouldn’t the guy wanting change have to do that?

                1. Yes, he has the option to leave. But maybe the church brings other values to his life that outweigh its rules on gay marriage to him. He just wants to influence the church to be closer to his beliefs so he can value his association more.

                  You say war is a metaphor, but you accuse leftist of waging a totalitarian culture war. This terminology is correct when you are talking about their efforts to impose an ever increasing welfare state, regulations, etc., etc.

                  It just does not seem to apply to voluntary organizations like a church. It seems inappropriate and dilutes the meaning of truly evil totalitarian actions by leftists.

                  1. I wonder if this man’s own son wasn’t gay if he would still feel the same about the church changing it’s laws to suit his new beliefs ?

          2. There’s little point in arguing with a theocrat about this.

            1. “a theocrat”

              Someone here is advocating religious rule?!

          3. I don’t have a strong opinion on change/no change not having a robust doctrinal background. But, the church shouldn’t change because the people in the general population in this country are wising up and not allowing the state to create a second class of citizen. The church should change if the doctrine before was in error. Not because we know some very nice gay people and we don’t want to offend anyone.

        2. It won’t stop with Methodists, and it won’t stop with gay marriage. I’m not a Christian but Jewish, as I have stated many times. But there are pushes to get Christians to support more social welfare by the government. The leftists, often who have no interest in religion or are Unitarians, think that Jesus commanded Christians to support the welfare state. They honestly conclude that the personal act of giving up your money to help the poor should be compulsory to the population at large. But if you mention bringing about a law condemning homosexuality, or pornography, or adultery, or other sins… they would be frothing at the mouth and talking about how Christian radicals are trying to take over, and to keep their religion away from the politics and the law.

          1. So true. Don’t support the welfare state and you are a bad Christian. Don’t support abortion and you are a theocrat.

          2. So true. Don’t support the welfare state and you are a bad Christian. Don’t support abortion and you are a theocrat.

      3. There are also people who “want to continue being Methodists” who would rather not believe in Christ’s atonement, in salvation by grace, and other doctrines definitional of Methodism, just in the same way that assholes like Shreeeek want to identify as “classical liberals” without a shred of ideological affinity. I guess if you think *Methodist* is defined by any person who darkens the door of a steeple with that name, that would make sense — but I don’t see it. I’m not a Methodist, but I see the clergy pushing this and they don’t seem to respect any aspect of their denomination’s foundational creeds. Why should they be the arbiters of doctrine which dates back hundreds of years?

        1. The doctrine dates back to 1972.

          1. No, it dates back 2000+ years. They didnt bother to specifically list it until 1972 because it wasnt necessary.

            1. I think what dates back 2000 years is that gays should be put to death. I doubt many Methodist believe that today.

              1. Ummm…no.

                I think Jesus made it pretty clear that that wasnt the case. At least with adultery, but it was a general position.

              2. You think wrong David.

                At least on that statement.

        2. I am a United Methodist too.

          This is my biggest complaint – we are a fairly easy going bunch – but there are some rules of behavior being go/no go on the sin list as provided by Moses and amended by Jesus. They are fairly simple to understand, but can be awfully hard to follow (ie. I have been struggling for a decade to love my enemies, considering the people I fought/killed and who fought and tried to kill me) but I am not going to say to the heirs of the Wesleyan church “this is unpleasant to me and doesn’t fit my lifestyle – CHANGE!”

      4. Nikki,

        The Methodist denomination has a book of discipline that is pretty explicit about what goes and what does not. If you simply decree you shall not follow it, and the rest of the denomination has to follow what you want….that should have you really ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. Methodism is really not too far from some other Protestant denominations, and there are also other denominations besides the United Methodists – Free Methodists, etc.

        1. He’s a political activist within his denomination. He’s trying to get them to change a policy. BFD. If he loses, he can either keep trying or leave. He’s already been defrocked, which I think is perfectly legit. But it’s also perfectly legit for him to campaign for a rules change.

          1. It is legit in the sense that he has every right to do it. I do, not however think it is the right thing to do. If gay marriage is this important to him, he should leave the faith. Leaving the faith would be him admitting that while he disagrees with the Church’s position he understands that others do not and he is fine with that, he just doesn’t want to be associated with it. Staying and demanding change is him saying the people who don’t agree with him either must agree with him or find a new church. That to me is assholish.

            This is not some small issue. This is a huge issue that people on both sides feel strongly about. If you are a minister and decide your church has come down on the wrong side of it, you should leave and go join a church that is right. Why tear apart the church trying to force your views on everyone else?

            1. Okay, but this is kind of what Protestants do. They disagree and vote on shit. And if they ultimately can’t live with the vote, they split. I don’t really “get” saying it’s assholish to campaign for something like this within a Protestant denomination, where voting on rules is actually a thing that you do.

              1. This is true Nikki. It is why I manage to both be a bad Catholic and a bad Protestant. Yes you can vote on everything. But if the Methodists vote this guy down, he needs to give up and leave.

                1. Why should he feel compelled to leave? There may be many other aspects of his membership in the church he values–friends, other church programs, causes, etc. If he chooses to agree to disagree, but stays with the church, what’s the big deal?

          2. “He’s a political activist”

            Precisely. Hence he should shove off, and leave us alone. This isn’t the Rotary Club or the Kiwanis.

            1. Protestant churches kinda are, though. I mean you could call him a theological activist, but I don’t see a huge difference when your organization votes on things and goes with the results of those votes.

              1. Not going to see a vote on whether Jesus was the Son of God or such – this ain’t a vote on whether the Northern Illinois Conference should use Wintrust Bank to refinance any open building mortgages.

      5. Yeah, the “just leave” thing is unrealistic. Those people have invested in it. If the offer is “take your marbles and leave” it’s different.

        1. But isn’t it equally unrealistic for both sides? Someone has to leave don’t they? Given that the denomination has never endorsed gay marriage and there are plenty of others that do, why should the people object have to leave? They signed up for a denomination that rejected gay marriage. Why should they have to leave when they are not the ones demanding change? All they want is the deal they got when they joined.

        2. Why is it unrealistic?

          See the large number of baptist denominations because of things like this, on much smaller issues.

    3. I’ve read plenty of history that has shown that Protestants have always been splitting off for various reasons. Why do you think there are Southern Baptists after all?

      This is not a dilemma and Reason pretending that it is just aids and abets the left’s totalitarian culture war.

      Cuz they delusionally think that the Progs will stop hating them if they show how much they love gays, blacks, women, immigrants, trannies, etc. Nevermind of course that the progs hate libertarian economics and think any opposition is ipso facto intolerant.

      1. Cuz they delusionally think that the Progs will stop hating them if they show how much they love gays, blacks, women, immigrants, trannies, etc.

        Yep. They want to have proggy friends.

        1. Can’t tell if sarcasm.

          I do think Reason’s attitudes towards Eich and Sterling bring to mind that famous Martin Niem?ller quote.

          By the way the “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” quote was uttered by an American Trade Unionist.

          1. Well it would be accurate to say he uttered something very similar that has been turned into that quote

            1. That post refers to the American Trade Unionist.

          2. Eich and Sterling are comparable to victims of the Nazis? And I don’t even get why you included Eich in that, wasn’t there are an article here by Cathy Young that explicitly stated that Eich shouldn’t have been fired?

            1. I was obviously referring to the fact that Reason (minus Cathy Young apparently) seem to think they won’t get their turn to be ostracized for having intolerant views. Also you are aware that Barton Hickle has an article here in favor of carbon taxes?

              And considering how close the progs are to advocating violence against their opponents I’m not sure if comparing them to fascists is inappropriate.

    4. “This is not a dilemma and Reason pretending that it is just aids and abets the left’s totalitarian culture war.”

      In the progressive’s world, these sorts of conflicts are unpossible.

      Being a Christian means hating gay people, forcing other people’s children to pray in public schools, and denying science.

      The fact that millions of Christians support gay marriage, vote against fundamentalist school board candidates for being fundamentalists, and don’t want their children being taught creationism in public schools either?

      None of that is worthy of consideration–because it’s unpossible.

      1. There are tons of uber liberal churches. What is the point of fucking with the ones that are not other than because you want all churches to be uber liberal?

        1. And there are tons of religious people who support gay marriage–and don’t see why their church should be forced to abandon its insistence that gay marriage is immoral.

          Even in conservative churches, there are plenty of people who think the government shouldn’t get involved in prohibiting gay marriage.

          I knew lots of fundamentalists, growing up, who thought that abortion was fundamentally evil–and that the government shouldn’t get involved. A lot of it had to do with fear of the End Times and a one world government imposing itself on Christians…

          They thought that if they didn’t use the government to impose their religious beliefs on other people, then other people would be less likely to use the government to impose worldly values on fundamentalists.

          Something about do unto others…

          That’s probably the beginning of my libertarianism right there.

  11. I am a member of the Methodist Church.

    It is wonderful for Gays to be members of the church. Drug addicts, gigalos, alcoholics, in fact ALL sinners are welcome in the church.

    HOWEVER, this is fundamental in that Gays want the church to SANCTION sinful behavior.

    If this happens, then I will no longer attend, or contribute to a Methodist church.

    Nothing prevents the gays from starting their own church with doctrines to please them. Why is it that they INSIST on taking over everyone elses?

    I am a tolerant person. It is not necessary for anyone to follow my beliefs, or to obtain my permission to live as they please. However, leave me alone, stop DEMANDING that I endorse your life choices or it is going to end in gunplay dammmit.

    1. I am a tolerant person. It is not necessary for anyone to follow my beliefs…

      That’s not what tolerant means anymore. It used to mean that, but no longer. Now it means not tolerating intolerance. Additionally it means using force of government to make others conform to your tolerant beliefs.

      Unless you want to force others to think the way you do, you are not tolerant.

      1. “Unless you want to force others to think the way you do, you are not tolerant.”

        As long as you think the correct way, of course. /derp

    2. That is the entire point. You can’t make a case that Christianity sanctions gay marriage or gay relationships. It just doesn’t. If you don’t like that, be a Unitarian or something.

      To me demanding that the Methodist accept gay marriage is like me showing up at the local synagogue and demanding they accept Jesus as the Messiah and stop othering me by constantly telling me he isn’t.

      It goes back to my point above, this is not about acceptance or gay rights. This is about the Left’s totalitarian insistence that every institution embrace and endorse their politics.

      1. You can’t make a case that Christianity sanctions gay marriage or gay relationships. It just doesn’t. If you don’t like that, be a Unitarian or something.

        Or, be a Christian at a Christian denomination that sanctions gay marriage and gay relationships. Like the UCC. As outlined in the article.

        Please, guys, stop acting like there are no Christian churches that sanctify gay marriages. Bringing up Unitarians all the time is making these threads sound even stupider.

        1. I am not acting like that at all. I know there are. And I think they are WRONG. I view the UCC as not being a legitimate Christian Church. I pretty much won’t join any church. But I would probably join the Mormons before I joined the UCC, and that will happen someday the week after never.

          And again, since those churches do exist, why don’t these people just join them? Why do they feel the need to force the majority of the people in the Methodist church to either accept it or leave?

        2. Bringing up Unitarians all the time is making these threads sound even stupider.

          Unitarianism is the church for progressive liberals. So when people demand that a conservative church embrace progressive politics, I refer them to the Unitarians.

          1. The UMC is an interesting example of a “conservative church.”

            1. By comparison it is.

              1. Everyone is “conservative” compared to Unitarians.

                I mean, most Christians are so backwards they actually believe in a God!

                1. In case my point is not getting across, I am saying it is fucking retarded to act like the alternatives are “Unitarian” and “conservative Christian.” John can say the UCC isn’t Christian all he wants, but they sure as hell think they are, and actually believe in God and the divinity of Jesus and frankly everything I can think of off the top of my head in the Nicene Creed.

                  1. John can say the UCC isn’t Christian all he wants, but they sure as hell think they are, and actually believe in God and the divinity of Jesus and frankly everything I can think of off the top of my head in the Nicene Creed.

                    Sure they do Niki. And they are free to think that way and I am free not to join them. What I shouldn’t do, is go join them and then demand that they change to my views. That would make me an asshole who can’t just leave people alone.

                    I don’t understand why you have such a problem with that. All I am saying is that if you don’t agree with an institution, leave and join one you do agree with instead of demanding that they change to suit your views.

                    1. So are you going to stop voting and just move to Somalia now, or what? I mean, come on. This is political activism about church bylaws. Again, BFD.

                    2. This is political activism about church bylaws. Again, BFD.

                      It is a BFD because gay marriage is a BFD. Again, what happens when evangelicals start doing the same thing to liberal churches?

                      Wouldn’t it be better to just leave each other alone for a while rather than constantly invading each other’s institutions and waging war over this shit?

                    3. No one invaded this institution, dude. Not in this story, at least.

                    4. It doesn’t matter if they “invaded”. What matters is this guy is just another leftist pissed some institution isn’t sufficiently leftist.

                    5. What if the institution you were part of was participating in something you found profoundly immoral? Would you just leave and let it continue to do something you thought was wrong? Or would you say the problem must be you and your commitment and leave?

                      I don’t have a stake in this at all. But I think that’s what the issue is here, not a culture war thing. BTW I completely agree with you on the left’s culture war.

                    6. If he is going to pick and choose what parts of the Scripture he is going to follow and what parts he is going to consider “profoundly immoral” and not bother with, he may have made a career choice mistake.

                    7. It does sound like he changed his position once gay marriage became ‘acceptable’ doesn’t it?

                2. I went to a Unitarian service once. They had a coven of witches praying to “the spirit of light”.

                  I left in the middle.

        3. Nikki,

          What makes this thread sound stupid is you acting like this Pastor is some real conflicted dissident when you and I both know if you didn’t like his views you would totally tell him to just join another church.

          1. Dude, I don’t like his views. He’s a fucking Christian pastor. I just have the ability to realize that people other than me take their own religion seriously, he’s probably serious, and this is the type of shit that Protestantism is fucking built around.

            Do I personally think there is a meaningful difference between being Methodist and Methodist II: Gay Weddaloo? No. But I believe this guy sincerely does, and I don’t think he’s a carpetbagger, so I don’t think he’s personally a dick.

            1. I don’t care if he is a carpetbagger. I think he is a self absorbed dick who thinks the organization he joined owes it to him to change to suit his views. If he thinks the church is that wrong on gay marriage, he should go join a church that he thinks is right. I don’t see any reason why the people who agree with the Methodist church’s view owe him anything other than showing him the door.

              Again, if a UCC minister changed his mind and decided marrying gays was wrong, would you blame the UCC for telling him he can no longer be a minister if he refuses to do gay marriage? I wouldn’t. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t associate yourself with the UCC.

              This guy gets to one of the biggest problems we have in our society. We can never just leave each other alone. Everyone thinks every institution owes them conforming to their views. They don’t.

    3. IANAM, but I’ll pretty much sign onto the sentiment. A willingness to compromise on foundational teachings regarding homosexuality indicates a willingness to compromise on even more fundamental issues for the sake of appeasing fallen man — the Atonement, for example, or what scripture says about forgiveness or being self-sacrificial (neither of which is natural to humanity).

    4. The left has made a fetish of forcing their opponents to do things they hate.

      When it was issues like Jim Crow, during the civil rights movement, I suppose it made more sense. You don’t like black people living in your neighborhood? Too bad! Now you’re prohibited from refusing to rent to them.

      But they’ve taken the same sort of logic and applied it to so many other culture war issues. From the Boy Scouts to who is allowed to own a basketball team, once you’ve been identified as a discriminator, the progressives don’t give a damn about your rights anymore.

      Listening to progressives talk about Cliven Bundy, you’d think there was a constitutional amendment stating that stupid racists don’t have any rights. You’d be half right–the progressive don’t believe anybody has any individual rights if they conflict with whichever one of their cherished principles.

      “Progressive” is most concisely defined as the idea that individual rights should be sacrificed for the common good. No, you shouldn’t be allowed to have a church that discriminates against gay people. And opposing them by asserting your association and religious rights is the very reason why they denigrate all of those rights–every chance they get.

    5. Will you be OK with refunding those peoples contributions if they leave?

      1. Did they tender them with the caveat – “unless you support changing the church in the way I support, I get this back”. Seems a lot to fit on the memo line of a check or the front of the envelop.

  12. Question for Reasonoids: Would you rather live in a Christian capitalist society or a secular socialist society?

    1. It depends on what is meant by “Christian,” “capitalist,” “secular,” and “socialist.” Are we talking about “Christian” just in that most people consider themselves Christian, or a theocracy? “Secular” like the USSR or modern Western governments? How capitalist? “Socialist” as in North Korea or Sweden?

      1. Christian capitalist society: In economic terms, a libertarian paradise: You have the right to sell whatever you want, to whomever you want, at whatever price you want. However, most people are conservative Christians, and many practice their right to discriminate against people they don’t like.
        -Vast majority of people are believing, practicing Christians
        -Vast majorty of women choose marriage and child-rearing over careerism and self-actualization
        -Vast majority of people see homosexuality as immoral or abnormal
        -Popular entertainment reflects traditional values (Father Knows Best) rather than Hollywood values (Twerking)
        -Sexual freedom, casual drug use, and the hook-up culture are confined to “red light districts” or driven “underground.”
        -single mothers, deadbeat dads, gays, Muslims, Jews, and atheists face stigma, ostracism, and sometimes discrimination.

        Secular socialist society: Something like Scandanavia–high taxes, many regulations, and huge public sector. However, vast majority of people have secular worldview and tolerant attitudes toward sex, drugs, porn, family structure, etc.

        1. Are the societies fixed? Or is the secular socialist society going to continue down the slippery slope of statism?

          1. Fixed.

        2. It would depend on how severe those last two bullet points are. Regarding the sexual freedom, drug use, etc. are those things illegal or just highly ostracized? Do those groups you mention in the last bullet point face legal discrimination, explicit or implicit (i.e. homosexuality is legal, but cops don’t give a shit if someone beats up a gay person)? I consider myself more of an agnostic Deist than an atheist (I know, kinda odd, but I don’t care), but it seems clear that I would fall on the unfavored groups list in that last bullet point, and I certainly wouldn’t be happy with the treatment everyone else on that list would be getting regardless. I would probably have to actually experience both societies first-hand before making a decision.

          1. Non-Christians would participate in society and get treated with respect. However, they would have a clear feeling of being “outsiders.” They might get bullied or teased as kids. They would hear Christian prayers at public events and “Merry Christmas” during the Holidays. They would have a hard time getting admitted to country clubs or winning election to public office. Also, if they criticized Christianity in an aggressive or public manner, they would probably lose their jobs and many friends.

            1. Other than losing my job, that pretty much sounds like life in Arkansas now. And even that one might be true; I haven’t pushed the envelope yet.

            2. That sounds a lot like 1950’s America.

              Mostly good, but some clear bad points.

              What’s the relative GDP per capita? What’s the average expected growth rate of GDP capita? What’s the cost of owning a car in both? What’s the cost of a big home?

              1. I don’t know! Jeez! My question is a thought experiment.

                Libertarians often describe themselves as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” What if you had to choose between them? What’s more important?

                Thought experiments are fun. Too many details ruin the fun.

                1. Hans-Hermann Hoppe: “…restoration of private property rights and laissez-faire economics implies a sharp and drastic increase in social ‘discrimination’ and will swiftly eliminate most if not all of the multicultural-egalitarian life style experiments so close to the heart of left libertarians.”

                  The cultural Left has triumphed by dominating elite institutions like the courts, the media, and the schools. They enforce tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism through propaganda, intimidation, character assassination, speech codes, affirmative action, and lawsuits. In a libertarian America, many universities would go bankrupt without government subsidizes. More children would attend religious schools. The Silent Majority would discriminate against militant secularists, radical feminists, the gay mafia, and anyone else they didn’t like. Gays would pay higher health care premiums, corporations would fire leftist agitators, blacks would be excluded from certain neighborhoods and apartment complexes..

                  End result: What conservatives describe as the “natural order” (traditional gender roles, the nuclear family, sexual restraint, homogeneous communities, religion) would quickly reassert itself.
                  Many fans of Reason Magazine seem to love the cultural Left as much as they love economic freedom. What if economic freedom brought about a socially conservative society? Would they be willing to make that trade-off? Just curious. I hope all that made sense.

        3. “However, most people are conservative Christians, and many practice their right to discriminate against people they don’t like.”

          What does this even mean ?

          does it mean they don’t have to bake a cake for someone they don’t want to work for ?

          If so, I’m in. How would you feel if the the government told you you have to work for corporation x even if you don’t want to work for corporation x because you prefer to work for corporation Z ?

    2. Christian capitalist. I can always conceal my true personal beliefs–really that’s between me and the Gods anyways. It’s a lot harder to hide my business and wealth.

  13. “sometimes a division has to happen so that both parts of the Church can minister with integrity”

    Of course, then at least one of those parts ministers with blasphemy/ignorance/impunity/….

    It’s *religion*. It’s *faith*. To debate rationally about this stuff is a fool’s errand.

    1. Of course it is. It is not like there isn’t a 4000 year history of Judeo Christian philosophy and rational discourse or anything.

      Do you have to prove that you have a an utterly laughable cartoon view of religion before they give you your atheist card?

      1. a 4000 year history of Judeo Christian philosophy

        What is this “philosophy” of which you speak?

        1. I don’t know Rich. Try googling Aquinas or Augustine sometime. Considering your level of ignorance, I wouldn’t advise you try to read them since I seriously doubt you will understand any of it.

          Seriously, are you that fucking stupid or are you just trolling or both?

          1. I’m trolling a bit.

            Seriously, my point is that some matters of religion philosophy whatever are *inherently* impossible for people to agree about.

            Gun control, for instance. Utterly laughable, isn’t it?

            1. Religion is just metaphysics with applied ethics and some epistemology thrown in for good measure. The reason why religious thinkers like Aguinas or Spinoza are so important in metaphysics is because they examined and gave answers to metaphysical questions.

              1. The lines blur, and life goes on.

                At the risk of conjuring up Heroic Mulatto, are you aware of Buddha’s parable of the arrow?

                1. Whattyoumean “risk”??

                  I SUMMON THE HEROIC MULATTO!!!!

                  *frantically waves arms*

  14. I’m having trouble finding any fucks to give about a private denomination’s internal squabbles.

    1. I generally am like that too. The only thing that makes me care is that this is just another example of the Left’s march through our institutions. They will force the Methodists to marry gays today and be on to something else tomorrow. Nothing can exist that doesn’t further their politics and all institutions must be taken over and converted into a tool for the furtherance of their politics.

      1. No you aren’t, you get very butthurt about private actions. This sentence itself is telling:

        They will force the Methodists to marry gays today and be on to something else tomorrow.

        There is no force involved. Unless you are a Methodist why would you care one way or the other what the organization decides to do whether it be split up or change their rules?

        1. That’s kind of where I am. I’m not in love with the over-the-top tactics used by some of the gay rights crusaders (not all, of course, and they do have some valid issues), but it only really bothers me when the force of law is employed, like with the wedding services cases. That seems a bit much. Then again, the door is open to that sort of thing because of the growth industry of anti-discrimination laws.

        2. There is no force involved.

          There are no guns but there is certainly pressure. I am sick and tired of every institution that doesn’t toe the liberal line being constantly berated to do so by leftists.

          There is no force involved. Unless you are a Methodist why would you care one way or the other what the organization decides to do whether it be split up or change their rules?

          I care because it will just be another example of leftists taking over an organization and forcing out anyone who disagrees with them. Does that mean I think the government should step in and stop it? No. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with Reason’s sympathetic treatment of this asshole.

          1. I just don’t see how, if you aren’t a Methodist, why you would care if the Methodist church becomes a “leftist” organization, it doesn’t affect you at all.

            And your take that people should leave the Methodists alone cuts both ways, you should leave them alone to work it out themselves.

            1. I just don’t see how, if you aren’t a Methodist, why you would care if the Methodist church becomes a “leftist” organization, it doesn’t affect you at all.

              It affects me because it just furthers this idea we have that the solution to you not liking a voluntary institution is never just to leave but always to crusade to change it and ensure your views get shoved down the throats of the people who disagrees with you. I don’t like that. I don’t like the KULTURE War and I am sick of it. And to me the way to end it is for people like this fuck head to leave the insitution if they don’t like it. Otherwise, we end up with the Boy Scout example above where every organization is forever invaded by various leftists trying to turn it into something it is not.

              And since when does something have to affect you personally for you to be entitled to have an opinion on it? I am not going to go out and do anything about this. This is the Methodist Church’s fight not mine. But I can sure as hell make a judgement about how I think should win.

              1. People and institutions that think gays should be less than full citizens and/or less than full humans deserve to be shamed and mocked and forgotten.

                1. Yes Tony,

                  We know, you are a fascist who thinks any institution that doesn’t agree with your politics should be destroyed. We already knew that but thanks for reminding us.

                  1. It’s not politics, it’s treating people with the most basic form of decency. If we were talking about black people and this were the 60s I wonder which side you’d be on.

                    1. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

                      BTW, Christ was a descendant of a mixed marriage (a Moabitis named Ruth).

                    2. But that standard, EVERYONE is a descendent of a mixed marriage (which I argue all the time anyway).

                      At least 28 generations from David to Joseph, and another couple back to Ruth.

                      Also, Ruth’s husband was the (great?)grandson of the whore of Jericho. So another mixed marriage in the lineage.

                    3. Yes Tony to you it is not politics. It is life because everything in your world is politics. That is what makes you a fascist. You can’t distinguish between politics and the private sphere.

                    4. All I read is “I want this church to continue to be bigoted, and anyone who disagrees with me is an evil fascist.”

                    5. Then you cannot read.

                      This is a story of someone attempting to change a religious denomination to his point of view, and the denomination has quite firmly indicated back – “no thank you”.

          2. Why don’t you try making conservative values appealing? Liberals are not taking hostages dude, they’re just changing people’s minds.

            1. Conservative values are very appealing to a lot of people. The problem is fascist evil assholes like you can’t accept that and leave anyone alone.

              You are a fundamentally evil person tony. You don’t realize it but that is part of being evil. You are not evil because of your religious views. You are evil because you hold a set of horrific and evil political views and are dogmatic and hateful towards anyone who doesn’t share them.

              1. I’m evil because I believe in equal rights for gay people?

                You don’t see that you’re being a much bigger busybody than I am, and for a cause that deserves to lose? From what I can gather from your incoherent whining, you want gays to sit down and shut up and let institutions continue treating them as subhuman, because you, personally, are annoyed. Well fuck you very much. Nobody is pointing a gun at anyone. Society is changing and you’re acting like a baby about it.

                1. I’m evil because I believe in equal rights for gay people?

                  No Tony you are evil because you don’t think anyone has a right to disagree with you and be left alone.

                  1. Tell me more about what I think. You’re always so spot-on.

                    I don’t think institutions in modern society should treat gays as subhuman and those that do deserve all the social pressure in the world to change or die. Thinking gay people are sinners or evil or less than full citizens is an incorrect and vile opinion and it needs to die. I am not victimizing you by calling your beliefs bigoted and harmful. The victims are the ones being treated as subhuman.

                    But telling a conservative white heterosexual male that anyone but him is a victim is like explaining calculus to an infant. You do understand that nobody, including me, is advocating for goons with guns to go into churches and make people change their minds about anything, right?

                    1. The culture war shows the failures of multiculturalism and diversity. People with fundamentally different worldviews cannot peacefully co-exist and cooperate in a democratic society. Not only is there perpetual conflict over flashpoint issues like abortion and discrimination, both sides are in a constant struggle for cultural dominance.

                      This is why I’m a secessionist. Groups with irreconcilable differences should separate into distinct societies where the majorities can preserve their identity and way of life. If you don’t like living in a conservative society, you can move somewhere that has orgies and abortion clinics on every street corner.

                    2. So when the conservatives try to come over to our orgy and abortion district in vast droves (on the down low, when their own airport bathrooms fail to satisfy), do we get to build a dang fence to keep the moochers out?

                    3. No fence could keep me out!

                    4. There is no Biblical basis for claiming that “gay people are sinners”. The claim would be that those who engage in homosexual activity are committing a sin, and thus are “sinners” in the same sense as someone who looks at someone of the opposite sex lustfully, or tells a white lie. Is it also “incorrect and vile” to believe that people should not have sex outside of marriage? If you tell your teenager that they should wait to have sex till they’re married, are you treating them as “subhuman”?

                2. Tony,
                  YOU want to send people who simply DISAGREE with you in jail to get raped and stabbed,
                  and JOHN is the bigger busybody?

                  ppfffff

                3. What does the Methodist Church’s rules for clergy have to do with “equal rights for gay people”?

                  1. What does it have to do with whatever the fuck John is bitching about?

          3. But John, you are the one saying he should leave the church. You site the authority of the church, not reason and influence. It sounds like you are one step away from saying he should be forced out of the church and give up his cause for gay marriage. You don’t beat your enemy by adopting their vices that make them your enemy.

        3. apatheist,
          you’re missing the point.

          This situation is sort of like the often-cited conjecture that if a society were really full of die hard racists, it could never be truly libertarian, and eventually would politically oppress the hated minority

          same situation with liberals. Sure, they CAN’T do anything politically about this situation, but you KNOW that they would IMMEDIATELY do so the second they could. They’d march every Christian to the gulags; though of course not themselves, they’d pay other people to do it for them, they’re too big of pussies to actually engage in the enforcement of their totalitarianism.

          Right now liberals are stuck bitching. The problem is if their culture spreads more people will have this view that they have to crush their political opponents by any means necessary, and eventually we won’t really have a libertarian society.

          Libertarianism has a cultural element to it. Or at least some bottom bar of libertarian cultural beliefs that the society must have in order to continue the [classical] liberal tradition

        4. Apatheist ?_??|5.20.14 @ 3:33PM|#

          “There is no force involved. ”

          Whaaaat ?

          There is force in all the gay jihadists.

          Look around at similar issues and give this one time. Some aspect of authority will influence this at their first opportunity.

      2. John|5.20.14 @ 3:30PM|#

        I generally am like that too. The only thing that makes me care is that this is just another example of the Left’s march through our institutions. They will force the Methodists to marry gays today and be on to something else tomorrow. Nothing can exist that doesn’t further their politics and all institutions must be taken over and converted into a tool for the furtherance of their politics.”

        What John said !

        This is worth repeating multiple times over. It is succinct to what is taking place in this country as we speak.

        History isn’t always something we read about that happened to some other people who’s name some little old lady teacher tried to make us remember in the 6th grade.

        The Presidents declaration of fundamentally changing this country was a real threat and discussions like this are evident of the effort and support behind it.

        Just today I saw a headline that decreed, ” many more executive actions coming”.

        Communism has been “defeated” several ties in History is what I was taught by that little old lady.

        But it never seems to go away, it may change it’s name and intensity from age to age, but die it won’t.

        1. The Drudge Report doesn’t make “decrees.”

    2. You Know Who Else thought that a private denominations internal squabbles were important news?

      1. The Spanish Inquisition?

          1. I expected that.

      2. The USPS?

      3. The Boy Scouts ?

    3. THEN OUT YOU GO – NONE OF THAT FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE AROUND HERE, MISTER!

    4. I’m having trouble finding any fucks to give about a private denomination’s internal squabbles.

      It’s an interesting story to me. It feels like watching history happen. I wasn’t around for the Reformation, so this is the closest I’ll ever get.

      Now, I don’t really have a dog in the hunt, so to speak, but I still find it interesting to watch.

      1. With no dog in the hunt why have you preconceived that it is the Reformation ?

        Could it not be, to an open mind with no dog in the hunt, the Inquisition ?

  15. Schisms arent a problem, see the large number of baptist denominations.

  16. The term “Christian” was coined in Antioch, it means “Little Christ”, we’d better understand it as “Christ follower”.

    “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”
    Jesus

    “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Jesus

    “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” The Law

    While this person is free to believe what he likes, and “churches” may believe what they like, I have a hard time calling them “Christians” as they don’t follow Christ. If anyone questions further why Jesus didn’t speak out against homosexual acts (again) in the New Testament, why would he when he was preaching to those who knew the Law? But he does mention it more generally here:

    “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come–sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” Mark 7:21-22

    And just in case anyone questions the internal logic of my POV…

    “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    A Church that endorses the world’s (govt’s) version of marriage is also wrong.

    1. And Jesus was an incredibly radical teacher who turned Jewish law on its head. If he intended to reject the law on homosexuality, he would have had no problems doing so.

      1. True dat.

        1. He said that he did not come to change the law but to uphold it.

      2. And Jesus was an incredibly radical teacher who turned Jewish law on its head.

        And yet god is unchanging.

        1. Yep. He didn’t withdraw any of God’s (his) commands; he simply showed that the “religious” people of his day had applied them all wrong. They had also made up their own rules and held them as high as they did what God had said.

          1. Well, according to the bible god said the following in Exodus 31:15, “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.” Yet nobody does that today, nor does it seem very Jesus-like.

            I don’t see why anybody would put stock in the bible if nonsense like that is in there.

            1. I could explain the difference between civil, ceremonial, and moral Law if you like. Suffice to say, the rules judging a “proto-Church”/country hybrid is different from the rules for the “Kingdom of Heaven”.

              Any Israelite who didn’t like God’s rules could leave.

              “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?
              …If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Jesus

              Apparently “work” wasn’t that strict a definition to God.

              1. the rules judging a “proto-Church”/country hybrid is different from the rules for the “Kingdom of Heaven”.

                Where in the bible does it say that, and why would some laws not apply at all today (according to the bible)?

                Any Israelite who didn’t like God’s rules could leave.

                Would a person who was to be stoned get to decide if they wanted to leave before the stoning? If they left, would they then risk getting slaughtered or raped by the Israelites in one of god’s rampages?

                Even if some outlandish things are not the case today for some reason, having it be the case at any point in the past is bewildering.

                1. Squirrels!

                  Galatians and Hebrews. Some wanted to go back to being ruled by the Law… Which was unnecessary. Though the Law does show right and wrong, as Christ died to take our place, we are no longer under the punishment.

                  If you wanted to live in God’s proto-Church/country, you live by the rules.

                  As for those condemned to die, there were none innocent. They were on God’s land and could be killed as any trespasser in Texas knows.

                  Your assertion of rape looks baseless… though I suppose you could point to what God said about marrying captives. He said that so they wouldn’t simply rape them!

                  1. Galatians and Hebrews. Some wanted to go back to being ruled by the Law… Which was unnecessary. Though the Law does show right and wrong, as Christ died to take our place, we are no longer under the punishment.

                    Care to share any specifics? Are the ten commandments just useless remnants too? In any case, the point still stands that this nonsense (such as stoning for working on the Sabbath) was enforced in the past, and supposedly righteously so. That sounds like a barbaric, imaginary god of ancient peoples.

                    If you wanted to live in God’s proto-Church/country, you live by the rules.

                    Does stoning homosexuals and people who work on the Sabbath seem fine and dandy with you?

                    Your assertion of rape looks baseless

                    In Numbers 31, it was not god but Moses who ordered that all the virgins be kept for themselves after successfully slaughtering the Midianites as god commanded. My mistake. At least my assertion of slaughter was right on the money; all that slaughter does not seem very Jesus-y.

                    1. Eric you seem to be in way over your head here. All I see from you is extremist hypotheticals and then one paraphrase from the Old Testament.

                      Eric is trying to explain to you the difference between the two and which one is most important to a Christian today.

                      And he’s doing a damn fine job.

                    2. Specifics in Galatians and Hebrews? Not really. The entirety of each of the books is that argument, that we are no longer “under the Law”, but that doesn’t mean that the Law is no good for showing us right from wrong. Romans 7:7-25 and 8:1-8 are helpful in understanding the purpose of the Law to a Christian.

                      The Law isn’t “useless” as it does point us to right and wrong. While adultery is still wrong, the punishment was taken by Christ on the cross and death should not be dealt.

                      “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

                      While it may seem “barbaric” to kill a person for not honoring the Sabbath, that person had the choice to leave (the proto-Church) if they didn’t want to follow God’s Law. As the verse shows, even the smallest sin, even lust (Matthew 5:28) deserves death. Was it just? Yes. Would God striking me down right now be just? Yes. That is why his Son paid the price, because we had no hope for ourselves.

                      As for slaughter not seeming “Jesus-y” (I like the word), he did drive the money-changers out of the temple (twice) with a whip of cords. And read Revelations for what slaughter looks like.

                      Going to bed soon. If you’d like to keep discussing, I will gladly do it tomorrow.

                    3. I’ll drop the issue with the observance of the Law since your explanation seems fine and because there’s a bigger problem.

                      There are so many absurd things in the bible that get an entirely free pass from Christians. Is it unquestionable for god to have slaughtered whole civilizations? Was it perfect for god to order that women’s hands be cut off if they tried to save their husbands from a fight by grabbing the other guy’s balls (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)? Was it perfect for god to send two bears to devour over 40 children for teasing Elisha about his baldness (2 Kings 2:23-25)? The answer from many Christians would be a yes if I’m not mistaken. All these things are just absolutely ridiculous, and they get a free pass.

                      That’s probably what I should have begun with and stuck with. This is also where we probably agree to disagree. Many of god’s actions in the bible seem abhorrent and ludicrous to me, but they are perfectly just according to you, unless I’m mistaken. That’s one of the largest nails in the coffin for Christianity for me.

                    4. “Was it perfect for god to order that women’s hands be cut off if they tried to save their husbands from a fight by grabbing the other guy’s balls[?]”

                      Apparently even God thought hitting “below the belt” was never called for. Again, if you don’t like it, you leave. I don’t think (personally), given the context, that this is a deadly fight, but no-one forced them to live there.

                      “Is it unquestionable for god to have slaughtered whole civilizations?”

                      Oh, no, you can question it all you like. So do I. Was it righteous? Look to Revelation for your answer, we all deserve death.

                      BTW, I don’t think there is any case of the Israelites actually obeying and killing all of the people in the civilization. The judgments against certain civilizations were later done, but by other nations.

                      “Was it perfect for god to send two bears to devour over 40 children for teasing Elisha about his baldness[?]”

                      I guess “don’t make fun of the prophet” is a good lesson to learn. I doubt anyone else tried it after that.

                      Again, all your charges depend on the assertion that the people didn’t deserve the punishment. Now in a human court, no they didn’t. But as no-one is righteous in God’s court (save for what Christ did), then they did deserve it.

                      (Continued)

                    5. I deserve death for the sin I’ve done. I deserve death for putting myself above God. Everyone has committed this sin. When God said “if you eat of the fruit of the tree you shall surely die” it wasn’t hyperbole, it just wasn’t immediate.

                      Remember, (most) Christians don’t believe this life is all there is. Most don’t even believe that anyone truly “dies”, simply ends their life here and begins their life in another place, either with God or without him (the best way to explain what hell is is “the place where God isn’t”).

                      If you look only at this life, yes, it is “nasty, brutish, and short”. There appears to be injustice everywhere. But if the evil people REALLY get what they deserve at the end of their life, then perhaps there is real justice. But as all of us have sinned and hurt others, we all deserve the punishment. The only hope is what Christ did, to pay our debt fully and allow us back into a relationship with him uncondemned.

                      All can accept it and at any time. That is the only fair way there is.

                    6. You missed my point entirely. I know the whole story–idea that god can do whatever he wants cuz god and that Jesus saves–I used to be a conservative Christian. The point is, why did god do such bizarre things, and why do you so uncritically accept it? Because primarily you’re afraid of going to hell I imagine, and I can’t blame you much for being terrorized by the thought especially if you were indoctrinated as a child, but you can get over it. I don’t see why god shouldn’t explain the seemingly crazy actions he reportedly did.

                      Remember that if you choose to accept the bible as inerrant and inspired, you think the most supreme entity of everything told people to stone many people for many things (homosexuality, disobeying parents, committing adultery, working on the Sabbath), annihilate entire cities and peoples (for example the Canaanites), take foreigners as slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46), cut off women’s hands as punishment for “going below the belt” to save their husbands, and a ton of other things that to me seem obviously to be the product of primitive peoples with a primitive conception of what a god was who wrote down their own ancient morals. And it was also Jesus who did all those things.

                      I hate to do this because I know you would have a ton of things to suggest, but I watched clips of The Atheist Experience on youtube which got me thinking. If you haven’t heard of it, take a look if you want. If anything it’ll make you stronger in your faith.

                    7. “why did god do such bizarre things, and why do you so uncritically accept it?”

                      A fair question, though not quite accurate. I don’t uncritically accept it. I critically accept it.

                      Remember, either God is who he says he is or he isn’t. We weigh evidence and come to a conclusion. He is faithful and good in everything he does to me, and everything he did with his Son. Some of this looks quite bad, but I do remember all the good he has done and have faith (backed up by evidence) that he is no liar.

                      I also know that I am by no means smart enough to see everything and for me to judge a god (of any kind) is severely limited. The ant can’t comprehend the human and the human can’t understand everything God does. When I take my dog to the vet, she doesn’t understand why I’m being so mean to her but the humans know why it must be done. It is similar here.

                      Why shouldn’t God explain to you what he did? First of all, you have no “standing” to demand such a thing from your Creator. Second, he already has explained it, and I tried to make that clear (once again, read Revelation). He is Holy and we are sinful. You exist now due to his mercy and grace (otherwise we’d already all be dead).

                      (Continued)

                    8. As for your further (by no means invalid) problems with what God said, I see them through this light, that I don’t have enough information to judge properly. But I do know of all the good he has done and have faith that he is who he says he is. My explanations of why are often incomplete but the way my brain deals with these seemingly inconsistent facts.

                      For other reasons to believe that it was God speaking, look at the health regulations the Jews were required to follow. The Sabbath was for rest, something that is counter-intuitive to production but does work in practice. They were banned from eating pork and various “unclean” things that are much more likely to make you ill (or dead) than the things they were allowed to eat. They were required to go to a “health official” for mildew in a house or skin diseases. It is possible that “Top Men” had discovered the correlation between these things and good health, but we libertarians know how unlikely that is.

                      Another few points against your assertion that it was “primitive people” and their view of morality that was codified into Law, look at how much of the Law deals with the PRECISE way to do the sacrifice. The ones who did it wrong were said to have been killed. Why? How did that help the “Top Men”? Why was the minarchist/anachist times of the Judges allowed if the Law was meant to codify their morals (when “every man did as he thought was right”)? How did that strengthen the power of the “Top Men”?

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  18. if they can’t figure out how to compromise on the issue of gay marriage.

    How does a church “compromise” on gay marriage. Either you perform them, or you don’t. Its pretty binary.

    I guess they could say they’ll marry gay men, but not lesbian women, or vice versa.

    1. Or they could agree to marry gay men to lesbian women.

      But I feel like there’s a flaw in my logic somewhere…

  19. “How do voluntary, private organizations change?or refuse to change? policies about matters that are central to their missions?”

    You make a major mistake here. Marriage is not central to the Church. It was not even a sacrament until the 11th century, when property issues and political command-control needs for the hierarchy made it important.

    This said, your key point remains: how to private organizations change? The church must change in areas which are not central (like who can marry), in order to remain relevant to the central mission, which is God and salvation.

    Our Lord noted in the Gospels: the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Current church leaders ignore this at their peril, and the peril of the church.

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