In the wake of the horrific violence of the Orlando shooting, countless United Methodist pastors and bishops have put forth lukewarm prayers for the suffering of the LGBTQ community, if they even name us at all.
Many of these church leaders do so without acknowledging the hypocrisy of how their actions supporting the status quo in The UMC also deny us life. These same leaders have voted in favor of upholding the Book of Discipline, which deems LGBTQ persons “incompatible with Christian teaching” and seeks punishment for prophetic and LGBTQ clergy, and denies equal rites to LGBTQ persons.
Some of the same bishops who denounce this violence have promised to put pastors on trial for marrying same-sex couples. They speak out of both sides of their mouths.
On the floor of General Conference, delegate Dorthee Benz was silenced and called out of order for naming LGBTQ persons. Yet when it came time for a biblical opportunity of repentance from the leadership who shut her down, a meek prayer was substituted.
Prayer and condolences mean nothing without repentance.
Prayer without action and justice is idolatry. Jesus named oppression and understood that true solidarity requires both humility and repentance. That is something many leaders of The UMC are lacking.
The words of the Book of Discipline have real impact on the well-being and safety of LGBTQ persons. So much hatred and violence towards LGBTQ persons has been justified with Christian teaching.
It is long past time for The United Methodist Church to end the harm and repent for the role it has had – and continues to have – in promoting violence towards the LGBTQ community.
Featured photo from Pulse Memorial in Orlando, FL via Reconciling Ministries Network
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