A Slick “Deferral”
The Council of Bishops sought another ruling on the constitutionality and other issues related to the Traditionalists’ Plan passed at the 2019 special General Conference. This was their third shot at it.
They asked for a ruling when its petitions were first sent to General Conference. The Council deferred because it hadn’t any real legal context like being on the floor with other petitions at General Conference.
The Bishops asked about it after all the petitions were in and the Council fastidiously went through identifying the unconstitutional parts.
The TP was revised before it came to the floor. Many observers felt the revisions had not met the Council’s judgments but it passed anyway so the Bishops decided to challenge it again through the instant case.
The Council polled its members about the constitutionality of the TP and there were not enough who felt there was an issue on that. I do not know if that polling was before or after the Council’s preliminary reviews of the request. This is not the first time I vaguely recall such a polling and the Council then not taking jurisdiction. I’m not sure about the qualitative value of any action that occurs before full discussion of the body together. But it does save time.
The Council recognized that the Bishops’ concerns are not without merit. They softened their decision by saying it would take up challenges to constitutionality as cases were brought about specific passages.
Note: While everyone else calls the TP the “Traditional Plan,” I am not comfortable with it. As noted in past blog postings here, my tradition is Arminian and in that, I am strongly traditional. So when I use the whole name of TP, I feel “Traditionalists” is more appropriate because it is a plan brought by people who call themselves “Traditional” as if their Calvinist theology is the only real Wesleyan tradition. You probably didn’t even notice but in case you did, now you know why I “misspelled” the term.