Hillary Clinton, Methodism, and Same Sex Marriage

on March 20, 2013


By Mark Tooley @markdtooleyhttps://mobile.twitter.com/markdtooley

Yesterday The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton has endorsed same sex marriage, declaring “gay rights are human rights” in a new video from a prominent gay advocacy group. No surprise there, of course.

It’s not clear to what extent Hillary Clinton remains a practicing Methodist since she and her husband left the White House in January 2001, both having regularly attended Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. across 8 years. Its then pastor, J. Philip Wogaman, was a prominent advocate for overturning United Methodism’s official disapproval of homosexual practice.

But Hillary by all accounts was deeply shaped by the Methodism of her youth, especially one particular youth pastor and a radical magazine for Methodist youth called MOTIVE, which shut down in the early 1970s after controversially declaring itself for homosexual liberation. Hillary as First Lady recalled having still kept every issue. Liberal Methodism of the 1960s almost certainly helped to shift a once conservative suburban teenage girl who supported Barry Goldwater into a dedicated religious and political liberal.

In my book TAKING BACK THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, I recount personally watching First Lady Hillary Clinton address the 1996 United Methodist General Conference in Denver. She was effusively introduced by United Methodist Bishop Richard Wilke of Arkansas, who had worked with her during her Arkansas days, and would himself shift from an evangelical favorite to an advocate for church affirmation of homosexuality.

At that particular General Conference, 15 retired and active bishops for the first time publicly opposed the church’s teaching on sexual ethics. Even the Episcopal Address, delivered by Bishop Judith Craig, one of the 15, pointed in that direction. Many of the 15 spoke at rallies outside the convention hall. Liberal and sexual caucus groups heavily lobbied the convention to liberalize the church’s standards. Growing African churches were not yet a strong factor, and many traditionalists were apprehensive about a potential church collapse.

Liberal activists that year pushing for change touted their theme of “Open Doors” for the church, meaning affirmation of homosexuality. Their activists smilingly opened convention hall doors for delegates to illustrate their point. After reciting her own history and appreciation for United Methodism during her address, Hillary exclaimed in conclusion to the crowd of clergy and laity: “Throw open the doors of our churches!” There were loud shrieks of excitement from liberal activists who appreciated her seeming, not so coded endorsement.

That particular General Conference, after tense debate, reaffirmed the church stance on sex and even added a new specific prohibition on same sex unions by clergy or churches. The growing African churches have ensured that United Methodism has not since liberalized.

But liberal United Methodism had indelibly helped shape the future U.S. senator, presidential candidate, and Secretary of State. And maybe her views on same sex marriage are rooted in her church experiences.

  1. Comment by Marco Bell on March 20, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Open the doors! Yes, that is what should be done regarding Marriage Equality.
    Thank God for Hillary Clinton’s declaration of fairness. That yet another milestone to full freedom and equality might be realized.
    The Church will survive in spite of it’s patriarchal prejudice.

  2. Comment by ericvlytle on March 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I love to watch the liberal knee-jerk reflex in action. When in doubt, blame it all on “patriarchy.” Who will you blame for the rather obvious fact that a male or female “couple” cannot actually produce children together? Blame that on God the Father? But if God is actually “Mother,” can’t blame her, right?

    I wish liberals would get their story straight – first they said marriage was a meaningless piece of paper based on an outmoded view of the sex. Now all of a sudden they think marriage is important for gays and lesbians. Oh, wait, there is a consistency: contempt for marriage. People in the “creative” sector have been rather notorious for that, and their contempt for all standards of decency, which is why they end up in mainline churches, where morality is not even on the radar screen.

    Marriage (as in one man plus one woman) doesn’t exist because of “patriarchal prejudice,” nor on Christianity. It exists because this is the way things are. Two men or two women don’t form a “complete set.” This isn’t patriarchy, this is plain old anatomy, something a 3rd-grader understands. You can call a square a circle till you’re blue in the face, it’s still a circle. Two men are not a “couple,” physically or otherwise, because a “couple” can blend their genes and create human beings together.

    I wish the people with all those stupid = sign bumper stickers would be honest and get a bumper sticker that says “I hate Christianity.” This isn’t about equality or justice, it’s about giving the finger to people who have moral standards.

  3. Comment by skotiad on March 20, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Back when I was still connected (loosely) to the UM church, the gay activists’ bumper-sticker phrase was “Let the church be the church,” meaning, if the church is really Christian, it ought to accept and ordain gays. I tended to agree with “let the church be the church,” except I came at it from a different angle: a Christian church ought to have moral standards that are non-negotiable, and if the society is changing, then “let the church be the church” by showing that are fellowships of godly people in this ungodly world. I don’t know if Hillary was one of the “let the church be the church” advocates, but it certainly fits her view of the church as a gang of stooges for the political Left. She and the UM bishops deserve each other. I must admit it’s comical to see a “liberated” and “modern” woman tolerating a philandering husband and using him as her springboard to political fame. You can see how someone in her position takes a “so what?” attitude toward sexual behavior. She has proved in her own life that marriage is not a committed relationship but a convenient way to gain fame and power.

  4. Comment by Mike Oles on March 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

    maybe you should be writing about George W. Bush’s united methodism and his decision to go to war under false pretenses 10 years ago.

  5. Comment by Marco Bell on March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Well said Mike Oles.
    Methodism, or any religion for that matter should be focused on truth, peace, love and justice. And certainly, George W’s decisions weren’t based on any of those virtues!
    Today ,marks a sad milestone in our Great country’s history. Perhaps God will again (someday), bless America?

  6. Comment by cleareyedtruthmeister on March 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Mrs. Clinton, in continuing her quest for power–she almost surely will be a candidate for President in 2016–realizes that getting the Democratic nomination requires endorsing same-sex marriage. Democrats supportive of traditional marriage, just like pro-life Democrats, are now known as EX-Democrats.

    Liberal Democrats (now, more than ever, a redundant word pairing), most of whom have previously shown little interest in marriage as an institution, are currently obsessed with same-sex marriage. Using their reasoning, assuming the people involved are of legal age, there should be no restrictions on marrying one’s sister, brother, mother, etc….even at the same time.

    Liberal Dems have no interest in traditional Judeo-Christian understandings on this subject, and they seem unbothered by the fact that they are opening a huge Pandora’s Box.

  7. Comment by Marco Bell on March 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Dear EricVLytle,

    Your points are reasonable, but not necessarily sound.

    I respect that nature requires an X and a Y chromosome to be fully reproductive, but under that assumption, you seem to think that marriage is only for reproduction of the human species.
    There are plenty of heterosexuals that are still practicing that standard of reproduction, and there will always be enough of them.
    And the many orphans that need a good family can be made whole in a family of committed parents, be they male or female.

    Further more, many opponents of LGBT marriage are consumed with the subject of SEX. Sure, sex is a blessing and a joyful experience, but many marriages are composed of individuals that are simply wanting to make a professed commitment to a loved one, sex or no sex.

    Life really isn’t as black and white as you have portrayed it to be. Most of humanity exists in the Gray area of that spectrum, and that’s not a bad thing, it’s actually good, because that’s called moderate. The Middle. Neither extreme….Right or Left, but Middle… Balanced!

    My complaint regarding “Patriarchal” prejudice is based upon the fact that much of societal rule, has (and still seems to be) determined by men, who lay claim to everything, and write the laws to preserve their rule. I think the world would be better managed if women had more authority. Something that has been so poorly demonstrated by men over the centuries.

    I find it interesting that you see people in the “Creative” sector, to be lacking in some moral commodity. How do creative people differ from you, when it comes to anything we are discussing?

    Much love and respect to you, my Christian brother.
    Marco Bell

  8. Comment by ericvlytle on March 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I am not a liberal, hence I don’t feel guilty about being a heterosexual white male. If you surround yourself with people who think just like you do, you probably have trouble with the concept of an individual human being feeling guilt for his own sins, not for any collectivized “isms” or “phobias.” In the group-think that dominates the liberal churches, I am prima facie a bad person for being white, male, and hetero – but I don’t accept that worldview, and it certainly isn’t a Christian one. God will not judge me for my “isms,” only how I actually interact with real people, not the ones who choose to sanctify themselves with the “victim” tag. The liberal male puts on the mantle of righteousness by saying (pretending, I think) that he feels such guilt over his maleness. It’s all phony, of course, just striking a pose. The mainline denomins substitute this posing and faux guilt for actual Christianity, even trying to instill guilt in people for having a, God forbid, negative atttitude toward anyone warped enough to try to change the gender they were born with. This faux guilt hogwash is marketed as “sensitivity.”

    “Gray areas” is the usual liberal dodge in any argument. Depict the other side as people incapable of nuance or complexity, then you can brush off anything they say. I did not create the human race, God did – male and female, not “other” or “not sure.” Call that “black and white” thinking if you like, but we’re born one or the other, not just in our reproductive capacities, but mentally, emotionally, etc. There is no “gray” in our DNA, and for that reason a male couple cannot be the same as a man-woman couple, whether children are in the picture or not. A child cannot have “two dads” or “two moms,” not biologically, and not emotionally. It is cruel to put any child into such a situation.

    Regarding the “patriarchy” nonsense: One of my kids works part-time at Home Depot. He assures me that, on an average day, women do more selecting and buying of products than men do. That is true for everyone else I know who ever worked in retail, also home sales and auto sales. Women, not men, drive the economy, and women definitely drive the churches, even churches where all the pastors are male. This is not opinion, this is hard data, also hard for the feminist mind to accept, but it’s true nonetheless. Men do not rule this society, but obviously the feminists have a vested interest in continuing to scream “I’m oppressed!” The mainline churches have caved in to every demand that the loudest, shrillest feminists make, so when you see male bishops waving the white flag in every situation, how exactly is Christianity even remotely “patriarchal”?

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  10. Comment by apcroft33 on March 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Given that her own marriage is a joke (and a very public joke, at that), why should her opinion on marriage be taken seriously? Marriage for her has been strictly a matter of convenience and a means to power, hardly a matter of “soul-mates,” so she really has no clue what a genuine committed relationship is all about. When you have such a low view of marriage, naturally you’re willing to extend it to anyone who asks for it, especially if it wins some votes. I can’t see into Hillary’s soul (not sure I would enjoy the sight, frankly), so whether she is a Christian or not is not for me to say, but it’s pretty obvious she can hardly be a representative of any Christian view of marriage. We should take to heart the opinions of decent married couples who understand what it means to complete each other and find rich fulfillment within marriage. Those people are not making their voices heard.

  11. Comment by Marco Bell on March 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Dear APCROFT33,

    We’ve all heard (former Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, profess to being a Christian, so we have to take her word for that.
    I would agree with you that her marriage is not a model for anyone looking for marital guidance, but my concern with your post is that marriage takes place in many more religions than just Christian, and each may have differing standards, so let’s not judge too narrowly, the institution of marriage. I personally think Celebrity marriages should be banned. LOL!
    Peace be upon you.
    Marco Bell

  12. Comment by apcroft33 on March 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    No, we do not “have to take her word for that.” I certainly don’t. She strikes me as fake as her husband posing with his enormous pulpit-sized HOLY BIBLE at a rather low point in his presidency (and marriage). There are plenty of faux Christians in the world. Crack your Bible now and then and peruse Paul’s letters, he devotes a lot of space to hypocrisy, so do the Gospels. There are so many suicides and dubious “accidents” associated with people who have crossed the Clintons’ paths that even if they had a perfect marriage, they still make the Sopranos look like amateurs. I take back what I said about those two being “soulmates,” for there is bound to be a bond between two predators like them, that godlike feeling that the rules don’t apply to divine beings like themselves.

    The Methodist pastor who taught Hillary that Christianity was merely a tool to use for political purposes – in other words, to wield worldly power – has a lot to answer for. Instead of “live a life that brings honor to God,” he gave her “bend the world to your political will and drag the gullible along by assuring them that God wants it that way.” I can imagine Hillary laughing that robotic, feminist-caucus laugh of hers when she hears Jesus’ words “My kingdom is not of this world.” Her reaction: Great, that leaves the world it to political hustlers like me!

  13. Comment by Marco Bell on March 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Dear ericvlytle,

    Who feels guilty for being a heterosexual white male?
    I’m one, AND a Liberal, but I don’t see where that has anything to do with the conversation. Me thinks you might be uncomfortable around gay people?
    And gray areas DO exist in Life and Science.
    It has recently been discovered that in the binary world of 0’s and 1’s (Off and On), that there is a fractional deviation just ever so small, on both ‘sides’ of polar opposites, that physicists are estimating this molecular-level spectrum to be able to increase computations on an exponential level. Like broad-band fiber-optics on steroids! Now THAT’S exciting! And it’s been in nature forever, just like there are nuances to human life forms called men and women and every nuance in between. Life is Beautiful, whether one believes God had anything to do with it, or not.

  14. Comment by apcroft33 on March 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Your “binary world” analogy has zip to do with the the issue. I’ve showered in a lot of locker rooms in my day, never noticed these “gray areas” you speak of. There are men, and there are woman. So where are these “gray” undecideds you refer to? You may find this “exciting,” but why? There are men – there are women – you may not like such simplistic black/white thinking, but the categories exist whether you like them or not. I am not an artist, so I don’t live in an imaginary world, I live in the real world – male, female – that’s pretty much it.

    “Life is beautiful.” True, but so what? thats a pretty lame and stupid basis for supporting marriage of two people with the same set of sexual organs. If life is beautiful, stand back and watch two men create life – and don’t hold your breath. On the bright side, at least the blending of their own DNA is not an option. I do pray daily for the children raised in such deplorable surroundings, exposed at an early age to the promsicuity of two “dads” who openly cheat on each other and who stay together purely for financial reason. Every child brought into this world deserves to grow up in a home where monogamy is honored and commitment is seen as a value. No child should live in a home where promiscuity and drug abuse are everyday occurrences. Children need to be loved, not used as mere toils in their “parents'” social radicalism. I don’t think these peopleeven regard children as human beings, they are merely tools to use in breaking down the family.

    I have nephew who is an artist. He is a nice guy but cannot think rationally, just can’t grasp that mode of thinking that makes for rigorous logic. I gather these art schools emphasize “passion” – if you FEEL deep, you trump those horrid people who rely on logic and commonse sense, poor slobs. My nephew is OK as an artist, as a thinker he comes up really short. He likes to dwell on the usual folderol: nuance, complexity, gray areas, etc etc, one stupid cliche piled on top of another. I pray he will embrace Christianity instead of this intellectual mishmash he gets at the Episcopagan congregation that rolls out the red carpet to every sexual minority group loud enough to form an obnoxious, pushy pressure group. Something as serious as faith should not be at the whim of the most immoral and least intelellectual types. I pray he may eventually find the true God and not confuse the liberal social agenda with th will of God since the two are at polar opposites

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