Commentary from Affirmation's Co-Spokesperson

For Immediate Release
May 4, 2006

Contact Ken Rowe

Commentary - from Affirmation's Co-Spokesperson, Ken Rowe

The United Methodist Church never ceases to surprise me. From the Open Minds,
Open Hearts, Open Doors public relations campaign to our willingness to always
reach deep in our pockets for mission and disasters. The most recent Judicial
Council decision to not reconsider it's earlier decision to allow stand the
right of a pastor to deny church membership to LGBT Christians is, well,
amazing. The majority on the Judicial Council, and they imply they represent
the majority of United Methodists, insist they are following the letter of the
law and that it's time to put the matter to the rest. Amazing. The law wins
over the gospel. The majority decides for the minority. Somehow, I don't think
this is put to rest.

What it has put to rest is what big picture the "Majority" of the Judicial
Council is operating under. They seem to be so fearful of non-heterosexuals in
the church, that they are willing to go against the very core of Christianity
and the Methodist movement.

Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters in the United Church of Christ have been
trying to run advertising to show that not all churches are narrow minded,
exclusive, judgmental and puritanical, as the media tends to show. The UCC
commercials show a sanctuary full of people, then unexpectedly a mother with a
crying baby are sprung up in the air with an ejection pew, followed by a gay
couple, a single man, a person in a walker, and then person after person are
ejected. The commercial ends with "God Doesn't Reject People". What a powerful
message that the secular media has rejected by and large because it's viewed as
too controversial.

And yet here in the UMC, the people who brought us Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open
Doors campaign, have mandated closed minds, closed hearts, and closed doors.

The decision of the Judicial Council was not unanimous. There were four voices
of dissent. The fact there is dissent and truth telling on the Judicial Council,
and by the grace of God, allows me to stay in the UMC.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Concerns continues to witness, act and testify to the lives and ministries of
LGBT United Methodists. This ruling makes it clear the level of fear and
intolerance in the Church. The Judicial Council apparently now allows pastors
to deny membership to LGBT people, but it is not much of a prophecy to declare
that God will rise up LGBT children born of Heterosexual members. The UMC can
continue to eject us, but God doesn't reject us.

Affirmation's Mission Statement: As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation radically reclaims the
compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing
full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's
beloved community.

Since 1972, Affirmation has been an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit
organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

Rev. Ken Rowe is an Elder and Clergy Member of the Minnesota Annual Conference
and is co-spokesperson for National Affirmation. Located in San Francisco, he
is on the steering committee for United Genders of the Universe and is community
co-chair of the city's anti-syphilis campaign.

How to Contact Us:
Affirmation email: umaffirmation@...
Affirmation web:
Snail-Mail: Affirmation, P.O. Box 1021, Evanston, IL 60204.