Petition 81130

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Speaking for the Church (81130-CO-¶509)

   Add new subparagraphs 509.3 to 509.5:
   509.3 If a member, minister, official, agency staff member, or group of members shall quote from General Conference pronouncements from the Discipline or the Book of Resolutions to comment on an issue of public policy, they shall quote all statements in those documents that pertain to that issue.
    509.4. If an agency, annual conference, or other body accountable to the General Conference votes to take position on an issue of public policy and the vote is not unanimous, the group must publish any and all minority positions taken by their members that are consistent with our present and existing standards of doctrine. They must distribute these minority positions to the same extent as the group’s position.
    509.5. As long as The United Methodist Church describes homosexual practice as “incompatible with Christian teaching” (¶¶ 161G, 304.3), and forbids the ordination or appointment of self-avowed practicing homosexuals as ministers (¶ 304.3), ministers, bishops, and agency officials or staff members shall not voluntarily testify before legislative bodies against employment discrimination against homosexuals in other areas of public life, while quoting General Conference pronouncements to support their position.


Rationale

These paragraphs should curb perceived abuses by zealous clergy and agency staff who quote the Social Principles, etc.,  selectively. Requiring agencies to publish minority reports would encourage them to seek a broader consensus. Any testimony against homosexual employment discrimination, while ¶ 304.3 is active is deceptive and hypocritical.