Institute on Religion and Democracy Media Advisory
May 9, 2016
Contact: Jeff Walton Cell: 202-413-5639, E-Mail: jwalton@TheIRD.org
Portland, OR—Methodist clergy engaged in a campaign of ecclesiastical disobedience for marrying same-sex couples could face a roadblock this month as the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States gathers here for a meeting of its top legislative body.
Delegates from across the global 12.1 million-member United Methodist Church will consider proposals at General Conference allowing clergy to be openly-partnered homosexuals and to perform same-sex weddings — or to impose mandatory minimum sentences on those clergy who defy the church’s policies.
A majority of elected conference delegates have consistently upheld the denomination’s teaching on marriage and sexuality in a series of votes going back to 1972. The existing policy states “self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
Sexuality, abortion and proposals uniquely targeting Israel for divestment are among the hot button issues dividing the denomination, with U.S. church leaders being more theologically and politically liberal than their overseas counterparts who represent areas with strong numerical church growth. IRD/UMAction supports a conservative perspective that affirms traditional church teachings.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy is sending a team led by UMAction Program Director John Lomperis to the 2016 General Conference.
What: The United Methodist Church’s General Conference
Who: 864 Delegates of the United Methodist Church
Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, Oregon
When: Tuesday, May 10 through Friday, May 20
Available for Interviews:
Mark Tooley—President of the Institute on Religion & Democracy. A lifelong United Methodist, Mark is the editor of Faith & Freedom and Providence: A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, The Washington Examiner, The Chicago Tribune, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christianity Today and World. Mark’s third book, The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference was recently released by Thomas Nelson Publishers.
John Lomperis—Director, The United Methodist committee (UMAction). John is an elected delegate to General Conference and the editor of UMAction Briefing. Among the publications that have published his articles are The Washington Post, Christian Post, Good News magazine, OrthodoxyToday.org, National Right to Life News, LifeNews.com, and The American Spectator. John is co-author of Strange Yokefellows: The National Council of Churches and Its Growing Non-church Constituency.