A Divided Nation Cannot Stand

      The schisms in the Anglican and Methodist churches over homosexuality seems small compared with the gulf between the Democrat and Republican candidates, who are polar opposites.  The media, in my attention, still gives too much attention to the “talking heads” that only search for notoriety by making outrageous statements, and the LGBT media overplays them as well.  I am reminded that someone once told me that Jesse Helms was our best fund-raiser. In my blog, I refuse to acknowledge any of the nut cases who rant and rave about how homosexuals are destroying the world.  They are to be pitied but not promoted, and some institutional setting would be preferable.

            Coming off the very successful conferences of the Reformation Project and the Gay Christian network, I was somewhat dismayed at the anti-Semitic riot at the Task Force’s “Creating Change Conference” that seemed to ignore any LGBT US political activism that supposedly is the “grassroots” orientation of the organization. 

      The United Methodist Church gave a “preview” of coming attractions at the upcoming General Conference in May with a recent briefing for delegates on human sexuality.  I can’t see that the discussion has shown any discernable movement in 40 years, and the haggling about dogma continues. Meanwhile the denomination continues to lose members because it has lost its focus on the Wesleyan traditions.  Of course, homosexuality was not an issue in his time.  The big issue was slavery, which split the American church for almost 90 years.

      So many of my LGBTQ friends decry the hypocrisy of organized religion, and it is hard to defend it, particularly in light of some of the outrageous homophobic, anti-immigrant, racist, and misogynistic statements from the radical right.  A lot is written about the splits in Islam, but it seems that we have even more fundamental divisions in the Protestant Church, which is probably why we have 700+ denominations.

      I was born and raised a Methodist, and in spite of my frustrations at time I still consider it “my church.”  Aside from a few paragraphs in the Book of Discipline, I find that it matches my personal theology more than most other denominations.  I’ve been in a Bible Study class for 12 years, and I’m amazed how much that myths, traditions, and cultural mores have diluted the Good News of Jesus Christ into a diaspora of localized fringe elements that focus more on exclusion than inclusion.  Where did we lose sight of his vision?

      When people tell me that we will never elect a socialist Jew, I remind them that we celebrate the birthday of one every December 25th.