Methodist Church Divided

By: Associate Editor Alec Dent

Out of boredom earlier today I was looking through stories on the Buzzfeed app. I was scrolling pretty quickly, when suddenly I saw a word that caught my eye. “Methodist.” Now, I am a Methodist myself, and, unlike the Catholic Church, we don’t really get put in the crosshairs of liberal news outlets like Buzzfeed frequently. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued. So, I scrolled back up until I found the story, titled, “This Methodist Church is Marrying Two Gay Men In An Act of Civil Disobedience.”
Apparently my fellow North Carolinian Methodists Bishop Melvin Talbert and Pastor Val Rosenquist are the ministers in question, and they’ve decided to marry a homosexual couple in a church in Charlotte this year. What they are doing goes against the longtime stance of the Methodist Church in regards to marriage. The Book of Discipline (the Methodist book of rules and bylaws) presents the United Methodist Church’s view of homosexuality quite clearly, saying, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” It goes on to say that “Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

Bishop Talbert and Pastor Rosenquist’s act of rebellion comes at a crossroads for the United Methodist Church, as homosexual marriage has been a hot issue as of late for the church body. In the General Conference (the quadrennial meeting of international Methodist leaders) of 2008 and 2012, the issue was brought to a vote. Both times the traditional stance was retained. This year it will undoubtedly be brought to a vote again. Bishop Talbert and Pastor Rosenquist are free to express their views on gay marriage. It’s a controversial topic and a conversation that needs to be had. However, until gay marriage is voted on and passed, their decision to marry a homosexual couple is not in accordance with the bylaws on the United Methodist Church and the two could, and should, be defrocked for their actions.

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