Thoughts and Comments


Letters to the Editor

The sky is falling! Really?

Laity and clergy alike have quietly been wondering what would happen when the issue finally went public: What to do about the church’s stance on homosexuals? While the Discipline uses the word ‘homosexual,’ I believe the issue encompasses all people in the LGBTQ community.

First, my applause to the Advocate for a well-balanced article on the pros/cons of the issue.

Then come the fear mongers: pastors and laypersons.

Pastors of several of our major churches warn of the dangers of changing the wording in the Discipline. They claim the Discipline reflects “the scriptural authority … that has guided us for 2,000 years.”

What about the scriptural authority that guided approval of owning slaves or that denied women places of leadership (including ordination) for so many years? It’s time to change our stance on homosexuality just like we did on slavery and women’s rights.

One comment that fascinated me was from a layperson who said we are all against bullying, but questioned why we would pass the resolution on “bullying” when it is really about homosexual behavior. Do they not realize that the language in the Discipline is used by the church to “bully” and condemn homosexuals/ LGBTQ persons?

The writer prophesied that should the resolution not pass, the Reconciling movement will be crying that The United Methodist Church is in favor of bullying homosexuals. As a supporter of Reconciling Ministries, I believe that will not be the case. Reconciling Ministries urges people to show Christian love to all of God’s children, so why would we stoop to that kind of tactic?

As the proud father of a transgendered daughter and a pastor who has known and worked with LGBTQ persons, I believe it is time to acknowledge that being homosexual or LGBTQ is neither a sin nor a choice. Unfortunately, loving discussion will never be possible as long as critics hold the Bible aloft and cry that the church will not be the church if we admit we are wrong on this issue.

No matter which way our conference votes, I doubt we will be united. What I pray will happen is that we become more loving and accepting toward each other and toward LGBTQ persons around the world.

The Rev. Warren Ashmore
Retired UMC pastor, Liberty

Publication: South Carolina United Methodist Advocate; Date: June 2015; Pages: 4 and 5