Stay and Fight?

November 18, 2010

In this blog, I’ve made it plain how I feel about the way the Church (universal) treats gay people.  But, in case you missed that little tidbit, I’m disgusted by it.  A couple of days ago, I commented on another blog about this very subject.  The post itself had nothing to do with the homosexuality but, somehow, the suicide of gay teenagers came up.  One comment said “it’s quite a leap to blame the church for those suicides”.  My response went:

“I don’t think that blaming the Church (universal) for teen homosexual suicides is much of a leap at all. Not when you consider that the Church has, for years, been the main purveyor of hopelessness for gay people. Imagine you’re born into a deeply religious family. Then, imagine you’re gay and have felt that way as long as you can remember. All you hear in church is that you’re an abomination and should be put to death. At the same time, you hear that “God made you just the way you are”. How would you react to that? Oh, but, wait, it gets better! After all that, you finally screw up the courage to come out to your family and what happens? They disown you, tell you you’re disgusting and want nothing more to do with you. It’s a wonder to me that more young gay people don’t commit suicide with the way we’ve stacked the deck against them. I’m straight and a Methodist and our stance on homosexuality is so two-faced, it makes me sick. It has me considering whether to remain a member of the UMC.”

Even more than the overall religious community’s stance on homosexuals and faith, I’ve struggled with the United Methodist Church’s lack of a position.  I lay it all out in a post called “What Should We Do?“.  What we’re doing is cowardly.  We don’t want to bring on a split or, even worse, see contributions go down and our answer is no answer at all.  That has changed a bit.  Recently, the Legislative Council (I think, don’t quote on the who part) decided that pastors could exclude gay people from membership.  While our leadership still displays a mile-wide yellow streak up their back, they have taken a step on the matter, ruling that pastor’s can exclude openly homosexual people from church membership.  It’s a step all right, in the wrong direction.  There is cause for hope, however slight.  I was speaking with my pastor about this very subject recently and he told me that the last vote on overall policy (back in ’08) was much closer than it’s been in years.  The basic thrust of his comments were to just hang in there, it’ll get better.  Maybe it will, but, right now seems to be getting worse . 

My feelings on the subject were bad enough until this weekend.  That’s when I heard Bart Campolo talk about fulfilling Jesus commandment to love each.  On Sunday, he specifically said, if you’re going to love people, then one of those groups has to be gay people.  He also told us that if we stood by and let someone get bullied, we were just as wrong as the bully.  As he said it, I realized that I’m a silent partner in the church’s bullying of people who are different from us and I’m not comfortable with that.  I’m beginning to believe it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and do something.  The question is what?  Do I stay a member of the UMC and work for change from within?  Or do I tell them I can no longer be a party to the abuse of our LGBT brothers and sisters?  What do I do?


8 Responses to “Stay and Fight?”

  1. larry g.gust said

    You leave that church…..there many other churches that are very exacepting….the methodists are not about to change…….whaat kind of church would exclude ANYONE of Gods children for any reason….Who do they think they are???????
    Episcopalian,,Lutheran, Sciene of Mind, Congragational, Catholic,Presbitarian all Accept and welcome Homosexuals as members to their congregations….even tho some may not agree with the practice of homosexuality they do value the person as a spiritual seeking individual………..Methodists are losing many many menbers over this issue……be one of them.

    • fireboy48 said

      There is a part of me that agrees with everything you say. The rest tells me that if I leave, I give up my voice and any chance to make this right. Things are improving, as I mentioned in my article. There is a very possibility that, in 2012, the next General Conference will finally do the right thing. The question is, can I wait that long for it to happen?

  2. JohnnyB said

    It is a sad thing when anyone takes their own life. That being said Homosexuality is a mental disorder and should be treated as such. No one is born gay. Something happens in your life that makes you that way. The reason it isn’t is because it is not PC to tell the truth anymore.

    The church does not hate gay people. The church and God hates the sin. And yes it is a sin to be gay. If you read your bible you will see for yourself. The Bible specifically speaks out on Homosexuality. I can’t recall the exact verse but the Bible talks about men with men and women with women being an abomination against God. Sad but many so called Preachers will not preach on this in fear of offending someone. The truth should never offend someone. What ever happened to honesty? We have become a nation of liars.

    When the doctors start to treat gay people for this mental illness you will see less and less suicides. And spare me the BS about Homophobes. Having a phobia means that you are scared of something. I am definitely not scared of someone just because they are gay.

    • fireboy48 said

      You have no idea how much this comment (and attitude) saddens me. Having known more than a few gay people, I do not believe they made a “choice” to live this way or that “something happened” that made them gay. More and more, biblical scholars are revisiting this subject and the scriptures that surround it and interpretations are changing. As you say, the church may not hate gay people, but they aren’t loving them either. If we did, we wouldn’t deny them the means of grace. If God hates anything, it would be any of his children being excluded from the Church family.

    • kennym said

      You are correct in saying that a man lying with a man is an abomination unto God. It says that in the old testament. However, it also says in the old testament that planing corn(i think) and wheat in the same field is an abomination unto God. Go figure. It says “love your neighbor as theyself”. This commandment does not exclude gay people. It also says “let everything that has breath praise the lord”. Neither does this exclude gay people. It also says “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”, “call on me and I will answer”. Nowhere in the new testament does it exclude gay people from being treated any differently from anyone else. You either believe the bible is the truth or you dont. You cannot believe some parts, and not others.

      • daril said

        Romans 1 24:27

      • fireboy48 said

        Romans 1:24-27 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
        26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

        Taken by itself, the above passage appears to condemn homosexuality. But, if you back up a bit, to say verse 19, you realize that the problem is not what they were doing, but why they were doing it. They had strayed from God. Most probably, they were worshipping Aphrodite, a fertility goddess whose cult practices included temple prostitution (male and female). Rome was a major center for this group.

        I love the Bible and I’m tired of seeing it used as a tool for persecution. Or, to bludgeon someone into a certain way of thinking.

  3. Tina said

    Hi, fellow UMCer with the same struggle.

    I ran across your comment on a Jason Boyett post.

    The official UMC stance on sexual orientation makes me heart-sick.

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