In lopsided vote, what remains of UMC hits bottom of slippery slope

In lopsided vote, what remains of UMC hits bottom of slippery slope

A homosexual-supporting button is shown on the shirt of someone attending the United Methodist Church General Conference on May 1. 

In lopsided vote, what remains of UMC hits bottom of slippery slope

Meeting this week at their General Conference, rainbow flag-waving United Methodists claim they are freeing their denomination from sexual sins in the name of tolerance and progress.

In an overwhelming and expected decision on May 1, UMC delegates voted 692-51 to strip a rule about “practicing homosexuals” from the Book of Discipline.  

UMC delegates lectured about rules of progressivism 

American Family News staff, AFN.net

What is left of the United Methodist Church denomination and its congregations was sadly lampooned on social media this week.

In clip after clip, Twitter account “Woke Preacher Clips” followed a male and female leader of the UMC General Conference lecturing attendees about being diverse and inclusive. The leaders warn about using “exclusively male language for God,” discourage people from using only English, and tell attendees to not use words such as “hearing impaired” and “handicapped.”

On the first day of the conference, the two speakers excitedly announced females make up 51% of the legislative committees. "We've been working a long time for this!" the woman excitedly announces. 

On the second day of the conference, a “report card” shared with attendees said 77% of floor speakers were male and only 21% were females. A tiny percentage, 1%, identified as nonbinary.

“Church, we can do better,” the woman scolds.  

“The United Methodist General Conference is, over this week, deleting all of the language, the rules that have governed the church regarding sexuality,” advises Mark Tooley, president of Institute on Religion and Democracy and himself a UMC member.

Tooley, Mark (IRD) Tooley

Going back decades, Tooley and the IRD have documented how the slow rot of liberal orthodoxy has divided and decimated the United Methodist denomination. The roots of the UMC denomination can be traced back to 1968, when it affirmed women as clergy. The first openly lesbian bishop, Karen Oliveto, came out in 2019.  

“Pride means living in a world that has said many lies about who you and your community are,” Oliveto told NBC News at the time. “It means not believing the lies.”

Millions of fellow Methodists disagreed, however. Four years later, when 2023 came to an end, 1 in 4 congregations had voted to disaffiliate from the 30,000-congregation United Methodist Church to meet an end-of-the-year deadline.  

At this week’s meeting, Tooley says the UMC’s slippery slope rolled into sexual anarchy. Not only did the General Conference cast votes to approve of homosexual activity, he says, “but also adultery and extramarital sex.”

What that means, Tooley warns, is if a UMC pastor commits adultery with the church secretary – breaking the seventh commandment – he or she did not violate the revised and updated Book of Discipline.

That warning from Tooley was explained further in an article he wrote for World, the religious news website. The sin-defending change at the UMC comes after a committee  recommended deleting language that currently allows punishment for single clergy who are not celibate or for clergy who are "not faithful in a heterosexual marriage." 

"This United Methodist General Conference was widely expected to delete church disapproval of homosexual behavior," Tooley wrote. "But most people likely were not expecting the church to delete opposition to adultery and extramarital sex." 

Despite the lack of opposition at the General Conference, Tooley says, the good news is the UMC is breaking its remaining congregations into regions. That means some defiant churches will have some autonomy to hold on to their biblical beliefs and their own version of the Book of Discipline.