This Is One Reason Why We Cannot Remain One Church

Many U.S. religious leaders have spoken on the the moral decadence of the New York abortion law. Here are excerpts from just a few followed by the latest communications from United Methodist leaders.

President, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
“Life, not death, is the goal of humanity. History testifies that death is never the means through which justice and human rights prevail. We do not advance on the graves of our children. Germany, which sought eugenics as the solution to problems, now has strict abortion laws. To defend and support life is the goal of every just government, and the right to life is the hallmark of a good society.”

Archbishop Foley Beach, Anglican Church in North America
“One of the foundational responsibilities of the State is to provide physical security to the vulnerable, and none are more vulnerable than babies. I am profoundly saddened by the blatant disregard for the value of life exhibited by the politicians who have done this and by the evident celebration exhibited in the New York City skyline. They have not only abdicated their responsibility to protect the vulnerable but have facilitated their destruction and murder. Pray for them, that God by His goodness will lead them to repentance (Romans 2:4).”

Catholic Bishops of New York
“Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress. This is not progress. Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death. Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?”
So what is our UM leadership saying? Silence.
While I was reviewing these statements of various religious leaders and waiting for some comment from our Methodist bishops, I received a Twitter notification from our South Carolina Conference on an important article in the United Methodist News Service. What was it that Bishop Holston thinks needs my attention at 7:30p.m. on a Tuesday evening? Here is the first sentence:
“President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall could destroy a piece of Methodist history and disturb sacred burial grounds in this small rural area just a mile or so from the Rio Grande.”
Not to be too critical of one bishop, none of our bishops have made a statement on killing full term babies. But, they usually do not speak one at a time but through a common letter from the Council of Bishops. So I went to the Council’s website for their latest statement. It begins, “To our Global LGBTQ Kin in Christ, The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church recognizes the ways in which the convening of the Special Session of General Conference creates a time and space of harm for you and members of your family. To be the focus of attention, discussion and debate is hurtful.”
However, it is our General Board of Church and Society which is charged with communicating our church’s message regarding the sanctity of human life. They would reasonably be the first to speak. What is the first article on their website a “Pass the Dream Act Now”.
The majority of the Council of Bishops is on record to change our definition of marriage to read “between two people” instead of “between a man and a woman “ and are simultaneously opposing any accountability provisions that would require clergy to uphold our doctrinal standards. This, they say, is for the sake of maintaining our common mission.
Is this the common mission you want to maintain?
For many of us it is not. We cannot remain one church.

After this post was published,  on January 31 the NY bishops of the UMC made a statement. Using many words, they reaffirmed their commitment to our Social Principles and made no comment about the NY law.


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