Sexual Ethics and the Liberal Church

June 19, 2011

From the AP:

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A growing number of pastors in the United Methodist Church say they’re no longer willing to obey a church rule that prohibits them from officiating at same-sex marriages, despite the potential threat of being disciplined or dismissed from the church.

In some parts of the U.S., Methodist pastors have been marrying same-sex couples or conducting blessing ceremonies for same-sex unions for years with little fanfare and no backlash from the denomination. Calls to overturn the rule have become increasingly vocal in recent weeks, ratcheting up the pressure for the Methodist church to join other mainline Protestant denominations that have become more accepting of openly gay leaders.

While trials of pastors who conduct same-gender ceremonies have only occurred once every several years, the threat is indeed real. The Rev. Amy DeLong of Osceola in western Wisconsin faces a three-day trial starting Tuesday in Kaukauna on two charges: violating a church prohibition on the ordination of “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” and marrying a lesbian couple.

The jury for the church trial will be selected from a pool of Wisconsin United Methodist clergy. A total of 13 clergy will be chosen to serve during the trial and penalty phase.

John Calvin said that one of the ‘marks of the church’ are discipline. Let’s see if the Methodists can resemble a church on this and follow through with the discipline to enforce their own rules.

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