HYPERLINK "http://www.umc.org/decisions/61961/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyJ9" http://www.umc.org/decisions/61961/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyJ9
IS ENCOURAGING REFRAINING FROM OBEYING THE DISCIPLINE ASPIRATIONAL?
The Council provides a decisive and yet nuanced response to a resolution passed in the Detroit Annual Conference asking church bodies to refrain from church trials, investigating LGBT possibilities in candidates for ministry, and prosecuting those conducting same sex marriages.
A question of law about the legality of the resolution was seen by the bishop in her ruling as not aspirational for the most part. She did get support from the Council in her noting the opening part was okay but the rest of it, especially where called for “refraining” from obeying the Discipline was no longer just encouragement or support but a call for violating the Discipline.
The Council’s nuances come in noting two things. There is no law in the church against transgender candidates or pastors nor against homosexual pastors who are not self-avowed and practicing.
However, to “strongly encourage refraining from following the Discipline” is prescriptive and not aspirational.