United Methodist Schools Join Homosexuality Debate
Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2006 Posted: 9:19:24AM EST
An association of United Methodist schools expressed ''deep concern for the
pain and alienation'' of those affected by a recent church court decision to
reinstate a pastor who denied membership to an openly homosexual man.
"As United Methodist-related college and
university leaders, we embrace the church's affirmation: 'Open hearts, Open
minds, Open doors.' We affirm the core humanistic and religious value that
all persons are of sacred worth and equal standing," the resolution, issued
by the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist
The resolution was affirmed unanimously during the United Methodist Board of
Higher Education’s spring board meeting in Nashville, Tenn., last Saturday,
and was released in response to a Methodist Judicial Council decision that
upheld a Virginia pastor’s denial of church membership to an openly gay man.
The association also expressed concern for the pain caused by the “ongoing
conflicted discussion” over a separate Judicial Council decision that upheld
the removal of ministerial credentials from Beth Stroud – a Pennsylvania
pastor who was in an openly avowed lesbian.
The 16-million-member UMC officially holds that the practice of
homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings but that homosexuals
are people of sacred worth. At that light, ordained United Methodist pastors
are expected to refrain from engaging in homosexual relationships and
celebrating homosexual unions.
When the rulings passed earlier this year, conservatives applauded the
Judicial Council for upholding denominational regulations regarding
homosexual behavior. However, liberals and gay-rights groups charged the
church of discrimination.
While the association did not chime directly into the discussion, the group
of schools called on the United Methodist Church to express its “commitment
to inclusiveness” and continue walking the path of “construction tension.”
"We affirm the church in its decades-long struggle to balance an unqualified
commitment to sacred worth, sacred identity and sacred practice," the
resolution stated. “We encourage the church to resolve this issue in a
manner that upholds the sacred worth of all human beings.”
The Christian Post