Demonizing African United Methodists

on May 25, 2012

Recently United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano of Phoenix chastised the just concluded governing General Conference of her church for failing to overturn United Methodism’s biblical teachings about marriage and sexual ethics.

“Our homophobia was blatant as we heard delegates compare homosexuality to bestiality, and voice other dehumanizing expressions against our LGBT brothers and sisters,” she complained in a column ( She targeted the African delegates specifically. 

“Delegates from Africa once again proclaimed that their anti-homosexual stand was what U.S. missionaries taught them. I sat there wondering when our African delegates will grow up. It has been 200 years since U.S. Methodist missionaries began their work of evangelization on the continent of Africa; long enough for African Methodists to do their own thinking about this concern and others. Our conservative U.S. United Methodists continue to depend on the conservative vote of African and Filipino delegates to maintain our exclusionary position on homosexuality, a position I believe would be changed for the inclusion of our LGBT sisters and brothers if a U.S. vote for a U.S. context were taken. The manner in which we deal with the concern of homosexuality affects all of ministry in the U.S., and we are the poorer for it. It is time for us to let go of our wrong position and be the church of Christ Jesus, a church that excludes no one.”

As to the “bestiality” allusion, Carcano was echoing the New York Times report ( on General Conference, which said:   

“Several Americans begged delegates to ‘hear the pain’ of gay church members. Moments later, a delegate from Africa said in Swahili that saying that a homosexual person was created by God was like saying “that God created me to live with animals.”

The New York Times then quoted a gay advocacy caucus spokesman:

“The Rev. Troy Plummer, executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network, which advocates full inclusion of gay people, said in an interview: ‘I’m tired of being compared to beasts in our church. Even if our world understandings differ, it’s just horrendous. That our perspectives differ is the truth, and we just voted 61 to 39 percent that we can’t tell that truth.’”

The ostensible beastiality quote that Carcano and Plummer cited is based on a Congolese delegate who said:  “I rise to stand against this reasoning for the following reasons. First, the theme of our general conference is to make disciples for the transformation of the world. If we accept homosexuality, it means that the world transforms the church on homosexuality. You say a homosexual person is created by God the way he is or she is. I stand to say that that is not true. If we say that this is the way that God created them I refuse to accept that when they say ‘I am homosexual, I was created like this.’ Because God is a loving God, He cannot create a person with something that makes him or her suffer. If another person would come to the church and say, ‘God created me to live with animals,’ if we say ‘No’ it doesn’t mean we don’t love that person. I stand to say to say that the grace of God is for all people, but the grace of God does not allow us to sin. I ask to not accept this petition.”

The African delegate was not comparing homosexuality to beastiality, as Bishop Carcano claimed.  Nor was he comparing homosexuals to “beasts,” as the caucus group spokesman claimed.  Instead, the Congolese was saying the church’s mission is to “make disciples for the transformation of the world.”   He noted that affirming homosexual behavior would be to allow the world to transform the church. 

Allowing the world to transform the church has been the seeming mission for liberal bishops in America for many decades.  The result is 3.5 million lost members in America.  Carcano’s own Desert Southwest Conference is now down to under 39,000, having lost nearly 17 percent in the last 10 years alone.  Meanwhile, there are over 2.2 million United Methodists under the 3 bishops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The African churches are growing because they believe in transformation through the Gospel.   Their success sadly earns them condemnation from some liberal, declining areas in the U.S. that are making their churches irrelevant by endlessly seeking accommodation with American secular culture.

  1. Comment by Karen Booth on May 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Carcano implies that if United Methodist Africans would just “grow up” then they would be like us enlighted 21st Century Americans. She needs to be soundly chastized for her “cultural colonialism.” If anyone made similar comments about past or present Native Ameicans or Hispanics, she’d be all over it. Progressive hypocrisy is indeed stunning to behold.

  2. Comment by Karen on May 27, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Simply follow and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for He excluded no one yet was able to teach His Father’s Commands. To follow the teachings of our Savior does not mean to exclude but to teach righteousness according to our Lord God. Our African Methodists have this right.

  3. Comment by Stephen on May 30, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I thank God for the prophetic voice of our brothers and sisters overseas who are holding fast to the authority of Scripture.

  4. Comment by Rev. Eriberto (Eddie) Soto on May 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I am saddened to read the comments of a bishop who is suppose to uphold biblical and not cultural teachings. We do not hate homosexual people nor do we approve of homophobia but just want to be faithful to biblical teaching according to creation before the Fall. Bishop Carcamo should know better (but i guess she does not!)

  5. Comment by Don (@don6828) on May 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    The Methodist church lacks biblical leadership. This Bishop with a shrinking flock, pursues growth by inviting the wolves to join, then has the impudence to refer to those growing by converts to Christianity as children! I can not speak for our African brothers but I’m sure they understand that we must come to Christ as children, and proudly wear the moniker. I am shamed that we do not hear from bishops that challenge these outrageous sentiments. If biblical leadership would prayerfully assert its self this satanic foothold would flea our fellowship.

  6. Comment by Andy Oliver on May 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Your defense of the Congolese delegate is just as grotesque as his original words. It is also a poor defense. How else are we to interpret “God created me to live with animals” than bestiality? The only plausible defense would be for you to argue he was talking about farmers or maybe cat people. He drew a direct comparison to homosexuality and bestiality. He was saying “just like we are to say no to the man who lives with animals we are to say no to a man who lives with a man.” There’s no other explanation. Furthermore, your “we can’t allow the world to transform the church” argument is nothing more than a straw man. I am for full inclusion of the LGBTQ community because of how I have been formed in the church by the love of God in Jesus Christ. Sadly, the world has taken the lead on this prophetic edge… Sort of like the whole “the world is flat” belief the church held onto for so long. God is still using prophets from the most unlikely places. Thank God.

  7. Comment by Sigi on May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Homosexuality isn’t wrong because the church says so, but because God declared it so over and over again in His word. The bottom line on sexual morals in the OT which were fully upheld by the NT is that every sexual union apart from marriage, and that defined as one man with one woman, is sin. If the Congolese delegate were comparing bestiality and homosexuality, he would be correct in that they are both expressly addressed and forbidden in scripture, they are both sin, and neither are valid forms of marriage.

    This standard of life-long heterosexual marriage was upheld by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who stated in Mathew 19:4-5: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

    It’s fashionable (read world-pleasing) to cast out the teaching of the Old Testament as though Christ nullified it, but He said Himself in Matthew 5:

    “18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    The world is and always has tried to press Christians into its mold- that is not a straw man but a fact of life. The world is not prophetic if what it demands is in contradition to the word of God.

    The inclusiveness of Jesus is that He calls anyone to follow and He demands that all who follow die to sin and to self. None of us remain as we were when He called us- His love will not allow us to remain in sin, to remain out of His will, and definately not to remain in rebellion to His word.

  8. Comment by Rev. Eriberto (Eddie) Soto on June 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I think it would be of help to those who want to accept homosexual practice as something normal should read what some key theologians and biblical scholars have written about the subject. Two of these, who are highly respected are:
    Robert A.J. Gagnon, a Presbyterian Church USA scholar who teaches at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, whose book The Bible and Homosexual Practice (published by Abingdon Press of the United Methodist Church) treats every passage in the Bible dealing with the subject and has not been adequately rebuffed by the revisionists such as Carcanol The second author and scholar is Richard Hays, a United Methodist who taught at Yale and is now at Duke who wrote, The Moral Vision of the New Testament published by Harper and Row. Both Gagnon and Hays are NOT fundamentalists yet they use the critical method and come to the conclusion that homosexual practice is NO WHERE allowed in the total Biblical witness. I believe that the revisionists should be honest and admit that from a biblical perspective homosexual practice is not accepted and just admit that they have other reasons for wanting to overturn the biblical witness. Honesty is much better than exegetical manipulation of the biblical texts!! In other words, they need to grow up.

  9. Comment by night owl design works on May 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    The Bible speaks of homosexuality and beastiality in like terms. They are both symptoms of the same problem, a perversion of the sexual nature that God designed and intended. The Congolese delegate simply knows the Bible’s teachings on this matter and believes it as truth. You disbelieve.

    To say that God is wrong about his intentions for sex and the clear evidence of the design of men’s and women’s bodies to engage one with the other in the sexual act, is irrational and to stand in opposition to Him. God designed it all to bring the man and woman into complete oneness – two becoming one – and so that they might procreate.

    The Congolese fears God and respects and reveres God’s words to man as holy and perfect and without error, as the Bible claims about itself. I stand with him because I too fear God and know His Word to be infallible. To argue with God about anything He calls sin, is simply to sentence oneself to misery. In doing so, there is never resolution nor peace and one is prone to develop bitterness toward God and others on account of it. If I was to say I accepted the sin of a practicing homosexual as right in God’s eyes, it wouldn’t give peace to the homosexual. It would be a false and short-lived relief. God’s Spirit will continue to wrestle with that person until the sin is rooted out. If we are not wrestling, we have turned a deaf ear to God and, thereby, are in a precarious position.

    God redeems us from sin and He can rescue any man or woman from sexual confusion that leads to these sins, which are grave on account of they are sins against our own body. This because, for the redeemed, the body is the temple of the living God.

    The postmodern notion that love means total acceptance of the sins of a person is unbiblical. We love in spite of sin, because we ourselves are sinners, but we do not say sin is not sin. Christ’s love, which was demonstrated on the cross to redeem us from sin, reliably defines love. Love left its heavenly throne to stoop into the sin-mired existence of man in order to rescue man from sin. Love willingly suffered and died a brutal death in its quest to free man from the power and the condemnation of sin.

    Freedom in Christ is freedom from sin – positionally. I am counted righteous but, because I am now more aware of sin (by way of truth and the Holy Spirit), to continue in it, according to Paul, is an error. Complete freedom and peace with God grows in my heart as obedience grows. Homosexuals who are believers rob themselves of freedom, just as does anyone else caught in a habitual sin. Sin is a grave problem. It is THE problem – before, and after, our conversion. We mustn’t redefine love nor sin. God told Cain he must master sin before it mastered him. He stubbornly refused and suffered God’s judgment. God is looking for us to agree with Him. We must agree with Him. That is the content of faith. My prayer for you is that the Spirit would move you to cry out to Him, “Help my unbelief!”

  10. Comment by Marco Bell on May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Andy Oliver.
    Firstly, we being human, are animals.
    Secondly, Homosexuals are born that way.
    Lastly, Get over it, and get on with serving the World the way Jesus wanted us to.
    With LOVE for all!

  11. Comment by Perry on October 21, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Don Potter sings the following in one his songs “It is time to enjoy the fences God put us in.” God knows the end result of sin therefore He gives commands to not participate in certain things. If you see a child about to insert a screwdriver in a wall plug you stop him because you know the end result. God commands us to avoid certain things ( sins ) because He sees the terrible results that come as a result of it. The penalty promised in scripture for the type of sin is clearly laid out in Rev. 21:8 . Do the ones who welcome lesbians and homosexuals also welcome unrepentant murders , thieves, liars a d faithless ones ? If they don’they are the epitamy of hypocrites. If they keep tearing pages out of their Bibles that they disagree with they will eventually have only a front and back cover. When an evil spirit helps a lost soul argue his point there is always scripture that contradicts that point but never scripture validating that point.

  12. Comment by Bob on May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Affirming sin as being acceptable is never loving. Liberals are doing great violence to the Gospel in this, and worse yet, to those they pretend to speak for.

  13. Comment by Rev. Eriberto (Eddie) Soto on May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I also agree with what you say Bob. We love people when we let them know what God expects of them in their personal as well as social lives!

  14. Comment by Karen on May 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Thank God someone is willing to stand up for what is right. We can not keep anyone from worshiping God. Marriage is for man and woman just as God created us.

  15. Pingback by Covenantal Individualism & UMC Clergy | Uniting Grace on August 4, 2015 at 5:39 am

    […] likely face few consequences from their superiors (and in some cases, outright support, like Bishop “Grow Up” Carcano wearing a Love Prevails pin to Connectional Table meetings) and will be lauded by their […]

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