Bishop Peggy Johnson: United Methodist Church laws are discriminatory against LGBT people

Bishop Peggy Johnson of Eastern Pennsylvania responded to a petition she received from the "clergy of the Philadelphia Episcopal area who stand in support of all LGBT members within the world-wide United Methodist Church." In Bishop Johnson's response she named specific laws in The United Methodist Church as discriminatory towards LGBT people.

Several statements in our Book of Discipline are discriminatory (forbidding ordination of homosexual persons, forbidding the performing of same-gender marriages, and considering the practice of homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching). There appear to be contradictions between the many affirming statements (mentioned earlier) and these statements. This has led to confusion by many from outside of the church wondering how we can talk out of two sides of our mouth. (Read the full statement here.)

Rev. Frank Schaefer is under the supervision of Bishop Johnson who will be appearing before the Board of Ordained Ministry today, December 19, where they will decide the fate of his future as a clergyperson in The United Methodist Church. Rev. Schaefer was found guilty last month for officiating the wedding of his gay son, which is a violation of UMC law. Schaefer was very clear in a statement to the press on Monday that he refuses to denounce his actions, and he will not voluntarily surrender his credentials.

By not obeying the Discipline’s discriminatory rule, Schaefer was obeying the Discipline’s call to inclusiveness:  

Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination. Book of Discipline, ¶ 140 

By not obeying the Discipline’s discriminatory rule, Schaefer was practicing Biblical Obedience and obeying Jesus’s call to love one another and followed Paul, Philip, and the example of other apostles who broke church law and practices to offer the ministry of Christ to all—even to gentiles, eunuchs, and others against whom the early church discriminated.

Reconiling Ministries Network has more about Bishop Peggy Johnson's statements.

GLAAD will keep you updated on how Rev. Frank Schaefer's appearance before the Board of Ordained Ministries turns out.