The First Openly Lesbian Bishop’s Job is in Jeopardy

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The first openly lesbian bishop in the United Methodist Church can stay on the job for now, but she is subject to a disciplinary review that could lead to her removal, the top church court ruled Friday.

Bishop Karen Oliveto’s civil marriage to another woman violates church law that bars clergy who are “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” the Judicial Council said. However, a decision over whether she can remain in the position must come from a separate disciplinary process, the court ruled.

Oliveto was elected last year to lead a Denver-area church region that is part of the Methodist Western Jurisdiction, which has rejected the denomination’s position that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Within minutes of her election, a challenge was filed by the Oklahoma-based South Central Jurisdiction, leading to Friday’s ruling.

What I find fascinating is the so-called leaders of the churches of Christ who have little to no similarities to his teachings. They find homosexuality an abomination but are perfectly gracious to the LGBT communities especially at tithing time. The community’s money is always welcome and their sins are mysteriously forgiven as long as it is out of sight and kept appropriately in the shadows where it resided for centuries.

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This case of discrimination is the latest chapter in an intensifying fight over LGBT recognition that is fracturing the 12.8 million-member denomination – the third-largest faith group in the U.S.

Earlier this week, bishops announced a special 2019 meeting of its top legislative body, or General Conference, expressly to address church law on sexuality and find ways the denomination can avoid schism.

LGBT advocates in the church have stepped up pressure to lift prohibitions on gay clergy.

Bishops have conducted same-sex weddings in defiance of church policy and dozens of LGBT clergy have come out, risking being defrocked.

Evangelical Methodists, who have gained strength in the denomination in part through growth of Methodist churches overseas, have responded by pushing to enforce church policies.

The court said Friday that bishops who consecrate an openly gay bishop were considered in violation of Methodist law and also subject to church discipline.

The sexuality of a clergy is nor more important to his or her duties as is his or her personal preferences on where to have dinner. It does not affect the ability to teach or promote church dogma and propaganda. Let us be honest here the church is a sales organization and the product known as salvation is nothing more than an elaborate after life insurance policy. Some say you’re paying to stay in contact with the supreme imaginary friend.

In any case, love should be the theme hymn of the day instead of bigotry and control.  Nothing in the universe is more powerful than love. Humans will never find true inner peace until they can come to terms that despite church policies we are not all alike. There is no need to fear what you do not understand nor condemn it. Celebrate Bishop Karen Oliveto and her choice to love..

oliveto-1080x554The Methodist policy-making body has upheld the church’s stand on same-sex relationships since 1972, even as other mainline Protestant groups, including the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), have approved same-sex marriage.

It wasn’t until a savvy perisher pointed out at the church’s congress that if all the LGBT worshipers left the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) the church would lose millions upon millions of donations.

The amount was staggering. Many of the LGBT church goes are two income householder earners and tend to give generously. The loss would be devastating. In order for these religious institutions to survive, they must adapt.  Alienating a large part of your fellowship is not going to secure those funds needed to survive and go forth and multiply.

It became more about survival than acceptance but in the end, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) acquiesced and allowed the LBGT worshipers to take a pew and pass the donations plate.

The Methodist ruling Friday was made on a 6-3 vote. Oliveto said she felt “grateful” for the chance to remain as bishop as she and other church leaders study what the decision means for her future.

Bruce Ough, president of the Methodist Council of Bishops, said the decision would not ease “the disagreements, impatience and anxiety” in the church, but he appealed to church members to stay unified.

Our advice to President Ough is while ministering to the church members and telling them to be unified is not exactly dealing with the current issues we think during these trying times he should seek a higher power and ask what would Christ do? I think based on his teaching he would embrace all, condemn none and lead everyone into the light. Now the choir will sing.

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Lou Ceffer

 

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