Resolution Affirming Current Language in Book of Discipline Regarding Human Sexuality

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part V: Social Principals regarding Human Sexuality, paragraph 161.G, states:

“We affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons. We call everyone to responsible stewardship of this sacred gift.

Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of children and for adequate protection, guidance, and counseling for abused children. All persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation, are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured and to be protected against violence. The Church should support the family in providing age-appropriate education regarding sexuality to children, youth, and adults.

We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.

We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration regarding the Ministry of the ordained, paragraph 304.3, states:

“While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration regarding Unauthorized Conduct, paragraph 341.6, states:

“Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration regarding the Conference Council on Finance and Administration‘s Responsibilities, paragraph 613.19, states:

“To ensure that no annual conference board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of The UMC “not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends” (¶ 161G). The council shall have the right to stop such expenditures. This restriction shall not limit the Church’s ministry in response to the HIV epidemic, nor shall it preclude funding for dialogs or educational events where the Church’s official position is fairly and equally represented.”

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration regarding the General Council on Finance and Administration‘s Fiscal Responsibilities, paragraph 806.9, states:

“It shall be responsible for ensuring that no board, agency, committee, commission, or council shall give United Methodist funds to any gay caucus or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality or violate the expressed commitment of The United Methodist Church “not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends” (¶ 161G). The council shall have the right to stop such expenditures.13 It shall not limit the Church’s ministry in response to the HIV epidemic.”

Whereas the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline, Part VI: Organization and Administration regarding Judicial Administration and addressing Chargeable Offenses and the Statute of Limitations, paragraph 2702.1, states:

“A bishop, clergy member of an annual conference (¶ 370), local pastor,9 clergy on honorable or administrative location, or diaconal minister may be tried when charged (subject to the statute of limitations in ¶ 2702.4)10 with one or more of the following offenses: (a) immorality including but not limited to, not being celibate in singleness or not faithful in a heterosexual marriage;11 (b) practices declared by The United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings,12 including but not limited to: being a self-avowed practicing homosexual; or conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions; or performing same-sex wedding ceremonies;13 (c) crime; (d) disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church; (e) dissemination of doctrines contrary to the established standards of doctrine of The United Methodist Church; (f) relationships and/or behavior that undermines the ministry of another pastor;14 (g) child abuse;15 (h) sexual abuse;16 i) sexual misconduct15 including the use or possession of pornography, (j) harassment, including, but not limited to racial and/or sexual harassment; (k) racial or gender discrimination; or (l) fiscal malfeasance.”

Whereas there are United Methodist Church ordained pastors and bishops who disregard the solemn covenant they made at their ordination to abide by the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline and who violate the sections of the Book of Discipline cited above;

Whereas there are church leaders—United Methodist Church lay people, ordained pastors and bishops—who ignore scripture and attempt to redefine it, thus placing the United Methodist Church in peril; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, the members South Carolina Annual Conference affirm all persons are individuals of sacred worth and we commit ourselves to share the good news of Jesus Christ and to be in ministry for and with all persons so that we all gain eternal life at last for Christ’s sake; be it further

Resolved, we are in full agreement with our current biblical position on human sexuality as stated in our Book of Discipline; be it further

Resolved, the members of South Carolina Annual Conference challenge the leaders of the United Methodist Church—lay people, ordained pastors and bishops—to rely on scripture and not societal pressure to determine the way forward for the United Methodist Church and to abide by the Book of Discipline’s governance of the denomination; be it further

Resolved, a copy of this resolution will be delivered to the Secretary for the South Carolina Annual Conference, the Secretary for the Southeast Jurisdictional Conference, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church, and the Secretary for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.