A Call to End Bullying

For Immediate Release, Monday October 18, 2010

By Affirmation: United Methodists Co-spokesperson Tim Tennant-Jayne

Various news media carried a number of reports lately of teenagers bullying their peers.  Some of the bullied teens found ways to resist the torment while others ended the abuse through suicide.  The common factor is that their peers harassed these persons for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).

Unfortunately, this is not a new activity.  Nor is the current level of bullying greater than normal.  What we are witnessing is an increase in news reports about it.  Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns mourns those who died as well as the needless suffering endured by their families, friends and by all bullied.  This activity is wrong whether it occurs because of a person’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, their weight, their race, their height, their religious beliefs, their national origin or for whatever cause.

It seems to be in the nature of humans since the Fall and the Expulsion from Eden, that people like to feel they are somehow superior to, or better than, someone else.  It becomes easy for us to pick on the person who is different than the majority.  We can bully other people when we somehow see them as being inferior to us.  Yet Jesus reminds us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Affirmation: United Methodists opposes bullying in all its forms and purposes.

We must also call out our own United Methodist Church for its tacit support of anti-LGBTQ bullying.  While The Book of Discipline may include statements opposing bully-like behavior, as long as the denomination continues to claim that our lives are in any way “incompatible” with our lives as Christians, the denomination is giving support to those who hate and would harass us.  Affirmation: United Methodists encourages the next General Conference of The United Methodist Church to change this statement in The Discipline and to begin to really care about the lives of all young people.

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As an independent voice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people, Affirmation: United Methodists 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.

Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns is an activist, all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization with no official ties to The United Methodist Church.

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