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 UMAction Director Comments Hits "Sensitive" Pro-homosexual "Nerve"

CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE

Choice of Pro-Homosexual to Methodists' Lobby Group Angers UMC Committee AgapePress (American Family Association)
By Chad Groening
http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/82000f.asp 
"The United Methodist Committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy is not happy with the appointment of a pro-homosexual to the United Methodist Church's lobbying agency."

CORNET MODERATOR COMMENTARY NOTES: This article contains a lot of loaded and misleading language. It also quotes Mark Tooley as making some statements that undercut what it means to be United Methodist. Go to the URL above to see the whole article. The following is a running commentary. I have not crafted this into an organized article.

In the first sentence the description of Jim Winkler, the new top executive of the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), is limited to calling him a "pro-homosexual." Sounds close to calling him "homosexual," not to mention an implication he is concerned about one issue only. It's also incorrect to call GBCS the UMC's "lobbying agency" -- that label distorts what GBCS does, not to mention it suggests GBCS is not a Christian or religious group but rather a political lobby. (See http://www.umc-gbcs.org/ and the UM Discipline among other sources).

In the next paragraph Mark Tooley, top staff person for IRD says "and this is just one more example of how the permanent bureaucracy of our church continues to promote beliefs that are at odds with the official doctrines..." What is "permanent bureaucracy"? Staff are changing all of the time at our national agencies and also boards of directors. Not to mention the broad inaccurate statement about "promoting beliefs" (sounds like the expression "promoting homosexuality" doesn't it?). First of all, United Methodists are allowed to express opinions that differ from official statements and to work toward changing statements they agree on. To silence statements of opinion would be profoundly anti-United Methodist. In addition, just because a person holds a certain opinion does not mean they "promote it."

In addition, Tooley gives the inaccurate impression that the UMC statements about LGBT people are "church doctrine." They are not a part of our "Doctrinal Statements" the original versions of which come from John Wesley. (We have former Methodist and EUB versions in our Book of Discipline).

The article quotes Tooley as saying, "Winkler will muddy the waters in Washington, where his views will run counter to those of traditional values groups like the Southern Baptists".... Let's first state the obvious. United Methodists are not Southern Baptists. United Methodists most certainly have Christian values also, dating from our founding. From a historical (traditional) perspective, the UMC even has a longer history than the SBC. So what does this statement mean? I don't think United Methodists want to become Southern Baptists and stand for positions such as refusing to ordain women and telling women that they must defer to the husband who is head of the family. Again there is an implication here by Tooley that diversity of opinion, even a diversity of Christian opinion, is problematic; not only that all Christian denominations should hold the same opinions as the Southern Baptists!

Tooley complains (apparently in reference to same gender covenant services) about giving "a false impression [in Washington, D.C.] that America's religious community is divided." Obviously, the religious community in the USA is divided on this and other concerns. If we weren't, we would have one megadenomination which keeps people together by mind control and/or other dictatorial tactics. That's just not what Protestantism is like, or even Roman Catholicism for that matter. Tooley's statement as quoted suggests he believes Christians are not allowed to have differing beliefs and values, at least in relation to lesbian and gay people.

The concluding sentence in the news release says that Mark Tooley said that it will take a long time to get rid of the "liberal bureaucracy" in the UMC. He is talking about people (not a political "thing") who are our national staff and directors and who are not all "liberal" in the first place, not the mention he implies there is something very wrong with being "liberal" -- it is so bad "liberals" should be gotten rid of.

Does the United Methodist Church want to go the way of the Southern Baptist Convention? I don't think so.

If this article by AgapePress is accurate, it appears that Mark Tooley is advocating precisely that. ______________________________________________________

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