Friday, the United Methodist Church’s judicial council is implementing a new plan which bans on LGBTQ inclusion. including refusing same-sex weddings and the ordination of LGBTQ pastors.
The nine-person council ruled in favor of the the policy, called The Traditional Plan following a four-day meeting in Illinois. It could go into effect by January 1, 2020.
Conservatives of the UMC welcomed the council’s ruling, there are opponents within the church. This is fueling speculation that the largest mainline Protestant church may split.
The Washington Post says that liberal and centrist elements of the UMC have vowed to increase their resistance to the policy.
Most of the US-based delegates opposed the plan and supported LGBTQ-inclusive options, but conservatives got delegates from Africa and the Philippines to vote through the policy, two Methodist strongholds with strong anti-LGBTQ beliefs.
Opponents of the Traditional Plan will have the chance to overturn the policy at the UMC’s next general conference in May next year. This is not likely as UMC’s conservative base will have become even stronger by then.
The church has 12.6 million members around the world, with over half –almost seven million– living in the US. It has largely been anti-LGBTQ but bans have been inconsistently enforced with several UMC churches performing same-sex marriages, and flying rainbow flags in support of LGBTQ rights. A number of pastors have also come out while at the pulpit.
The conservatives base will likely remain, while the liberal and centrist factions will break off from the main church.
I grew up with my grandmother, now long gone, taking me to her church. She was Methodist and a religious person. I wonder where she would stand on the issue if she were here today. She had two gay grandchildren.
(Photo, Wikimedia Commons; via Gay Star News)