The United Methodist Church upheld its understanding that homosexual behavior is “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
At Thursday’s convention, delegates voted 61% to 39% to retain their interpretation of the Bible.
From the UMC General Conference:
After more than an hour of passionate debate and clear disagreement, two items stating Christians have different opinions about homosexuality were not approved by the 2012 General Conference, leaving the original language in the Book of Discipline intact.
The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 161F states: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Love means never having to say a lie
Church leaders urged members to love their neighbors without lying to them.
“We disagree, and we do need tolerance, but for some, tolerance means all beliefs are equal, and that is not true,” said the Rev. Jim Cowart, delegate from South Georgia Annual (regional) Conference. “We love you just like you are, and we love you enough to tell you what scriptures say.”
Respect for tradition and Scripture was boosted by a growing number of global members of the Christian church who attended the conference.
The New York Times reports:
An influx of non-American members has even bolstered the conservatives. The United Methodist Church is the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States, but its American membership has declined to about 7.8 million in recent years. Meanwhile, its membership abroad has grown to about 4.4 million, mostly in Africa and the Philippines, where homosexuality is not accepted.
This year about 40 percent of the nearly 1,000 delegates to the Methodist general conference are from outside the United States — an increase of more than 10 percent from the last conference, in 2008.
Gay rights activists disrupted the meeting. When they refused to leave, the meeting ended early.