The Methodist Church has long experienced internal divisions over its rejection of openly LGBT clergy and same-sex marriages; in fact, in 2014, a retired Methodist minister even set himself on fire to protest the Church’s anti-LGBT policies. Yesterday, 111 United Methodist ministers who are also members of Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), “an LGBT advocacy group within the United Methodist Church”, signed a letter coming out as LGBT just days before the Church’s General Conference, a gathering where the Church will decide on its policies moving forward.
Although these 111 ministers represent a small percentage of the Church’s 44,469 U.S. ministers (0.24 percent, to be exact), this is still a huge deal because it will force the Church to do one of three things:
a) begin an unseemly process of defrocking these ministers, further cementing its anti-LGBT public face,
b) silently (and hypocritically) allow these ministers to continue serving, potentially angering conservative elements within the General Conference (which includes U.S. and international clergy) or
c) vote in the General Conference once again on whether to change the Church’s view of same-sex relationships as “incompatible with Christian teaching”, a vote that will more than reaffirm the Church’s anti-LGBT stance due to the aforementioned conservative conference members.
According to Think Progress, the RMN website crashed after a traffic-surge following the coming out letter’s release.
(feature image via Darrell Miller)