Christian Churches Confront Homosexuality ; United Methodist Meeting This Week Is One of Several This Summer That Will Decide Churches' Rules on the Issue

By Jane Lampman, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2000 | Go to article overview

Christian Churches Confront Homosexuality ; United Methodist Meeting This Week Is One of Several This Summer That Will Decide Churches' Rules on the Issue


Jane Lampman, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


United Methodists from around the world are poised to set global policy on one of the most divisive issues facing Christianity today: How far should churches go in accepting homosexuality?

After more than 25 years of debate, the Methodists will vote at a conference this week on whether to change the church's stance on homosexuality as incompatible with Christian teaching. Two other mainline Christian churches - Presbyterian and Episcopal - will take up the issue this summer.

Those on both sides of the debate are aware that the decisions not only will affect the future of their denominations, but are likely to reverberate throughout society, given religion's role in shaping cultural norms. At the turn of the millennium, "It is clear that no single practice - and the theory or law behind it - troubles religious groups more than this," says theologian and author Martin Marty.

While mainline churches have struggled with the issue for years, it is now reaching a decisive moment.

One reason is simply the calendar: Several major denominations are holding conferences this summer that convene only every three or four years.

Another is the gathering momentum of the gay-rights movement in many segments of society, including state legislatures and the courts. Within churches themselves, members of the clergy, bishops, and congregations have taken public stands in defiance of orthodoxy on homosexuality - forcing the governing bodies to confront the issue.

Protests at the meeting

An interfaith advocacy group called Soulforce was staging protests at the Methodist conference in Cleveland yesterday to urge church leaders "to end their 'holy war' against sexual minorities." Leaders from the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi are also joining in the nonviolent action.

Delegates will vote on several topics, including whether homosexuality is incompatible with Scripture, and whether the current prohibitions against same-sex unions and ordination of homosexuals should continue. Already, earlier this week, delegates rejected a proposal to require pastors to sign, in effect, a "loyalty oath" to follow the church's decisions.

The internal turmoil in the denominations has continued to grow. Methodist clergy, for instance, have been put on trial for presiding over same-sex unions. Some unions and ordinations have also been conducted in Episcopal dioceses, leading to dissension within the church.

Some Anglican leaders in the developing world in January signaled their outrage by taking an unprecedented step: They consecrated two conservative American priests as "missionary bishops" to help remedy the situation.

Views in the churches range widely, but the main split is between conservatives, who feel the authority of the Bible is at stake, and liberals, who say scriptural references are misunderstood and homosexuals deserve "full participation in God's house."

Divergent views

Conservatives, says the Rev. James Heidinger, executive director of Good News, say current policy is "compassionate and faithful to Scripture and church tradition." Along with the prohibitions, the church does commit to "being in ministry with all people," supports basic rights and civil liberties for homosexuals, and condemns violence against them.

On the other side is the Rev. Tex Sample, professor emeritus at St. Paul School of Theology, who served on a committee that carried out a four-year study on homosexuality and edited a new book on the subject. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Christian Churches Confront Homosexuality ; United Methodist Meeting This Week Is One of Several This Summer That Will Decide Churches' Rules on the Issue
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.