August 2018 – The Book of Discipline, the United Methodist Church’s book of law, states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching and maintains that a self-proclaimed, practicing homosexual cannot be an ordained minister. Yet, the denomination’s Council of Bishops recently proposed a “One Church Plan” that ignores denominational law and would allow individual pastors and regional bodies to make their own decisions regarding same-sex weddings and LGBT clergy. Set for a vote by delegates at a special 2019 General Conference, the One Church Plan would also remove controversial language about sexuality from The Book of Discipline.
As the UMC weighs the issue of whether to formally accept homosexuality, some in the denomination have already abandoned established church law. For example, Dr. Karen Oliveto is the first lesbian to be given the title of bishop in the UMC and has officiated several same sex ceremonies at the UMC church she previously pastored. In August of last year, she wrote a sermon, also posted on Facebook, in which she calls Jesus a bigot and a changing, flawed human being.
“The wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting one, prince of peace, was as human as you and me,” Oliveto said. “Like you and me, he didn’t have his life figured out. …We might think of him as the Rock of Ages, but he was more like a hunk of clay, forming and reforming himself in relation to God.” She concludes, “If Jesus can change, if he can give up his bigotries and prejudices … then so can we.”
religionnews.com, 5/4/18; pjmedia.com, 9/26/17