MC Judicial Council Rejects Liberal Plea to Reverse Ruling against Lesbian “Bishop”

July 7, 2017

BREAKING: UMC Judicial Council Rejects Liberal Plea to Reverse Ruling against Lesbian “Bishop”

Today, I and others received official notification that our denomination’s supreme court, the Judicial Council, had unanimously decided to reject the request from the Western Jurisdiction bishops to reverse their April ruling against the attempt by this increasingly schismatic, numerically tiny region of the United Methodist Church to elevate an openly partnered lesbian activist to be bishop.

We have earlier reported on how the Judicial Council’s complex ruling ultimately took away any foundation in UMC church law for Dr. Karen Oliveto of San Francisco to indefinitely remain a bishop in good standing, and how more broadly, this ruling fundamentally reshaped our church law to remove what had previously been major barriers to defrocking clergy unwilling to abide by our denomination’s biblical standards for sexual self-control.

I also posted online the “friend of the court” legal briefs I submitted to the Judicial Council ahead of their ruling on this case.

Dr. Oliveto is on-record as embracing a bizarrely non-Christian worldview that draws on New Age inspiration and includes directly rebuking Jesus Christ’s own red-letter teachings while defending the supposed benefits of being possessed by demons. Her choice to not immediately resign has significantly hurt congregations in her assigned area and the regional headquarters, with one of her own conference offices publicly declaring a “FINANCIAL CRISIS.” In her short time acting as a “bishop,” Oliveto has used her office to launch a totalitarian intimidation tour of seeking out and taking names of any remaining orthodox congregations in the Mountain Sky Area of UMC and subsequently denouncing those she actually called “the bad churches.”

Yet none of this appears to matter to the bishops and other leaders of the Western Jurisdiction or to anyone of whom I am aware in liberal-caucus circles. It seems they are absolutely determined to stand behind their efforts to elevate Oliveto no matter how deeply and widely she and they hurt the church, because her being a partnered lesbian evidently trumps every other consideration.

I also reported on how every active and retired bishop in the UMC’s Western Jurisdiction jointly submitted a formal request last month for the Judicial Council to reconsider (i.e., overturn) their landmark ruling disallowing openly partnered homosexual bishops. Their five-page request was later posted online. But it did not really bring a stronger legal argument than this region’s bishops not liking how the ruling could limit the legal games they have been playing for years to avoid enforcing our denomination’s official rules against homosexually active clergy.

Today, the Judicial Council issued a formal notification that its nine members unanimously rejected the Western bishops’ request. This message was sent via email to the Western Jurisdiction bishops’ attorney, Richard Marsh, with copies sent to me and apparently every other individual the Judicial Council had listed as an interested party or a friend of the court for its previous ruling.

This means the Judicial Council’s landmark ruling to restore accountability stands as binding church law throughout our global denomination.

The key part of the Judicial Council’s statement is as follows:

Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!

I am writing to inform you that, after careful review and prayerful consideration, the Motion to Reconsider JCD 1341 of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops has been denied. Though usually not disclosed to the requesting party, the vote of the Judicial Council was unanimous. Consequently, your request for reconsideration will not be placed on the fall docket pursuant to Art. IX.C RPP.

The denial will be reported as a Memorandum at our October meeting.

45 Responses to BREAKING: UMC Judicial Council Rejects Liberal Plea to Reverse Ruling against Lesbian “Bishop”

  1. Jerry Avise-Rouse says:

    Could thus article be any more inflammatory, prejudiced and demeaning?

    • Joe M says:

      Huh and what? The court smacked down gay heresy. That’s not demeaning, but affirming.

    • Palamas says:

      Another liberal shaking his fist at reality. You lost. You’re wrong. You can deny the facts and the truth all day long and it won’t get you anywhere. Get over it.

      • Dawn says:

        What is objectionable here is not the simple facts of the case, which are that the JC prayerfully reviewed their previous decision and decided to let it stand. The inflammatory, demeaning, and prejudiced parts are in Lomperis’ commentary, and the dishonesty he fills this (and every other) article with to bolster his opinion. Y’all are smart people, you have got to see how this reeks of propaganda, right? Please don’t swallow it. Look into the outrageous claims he makes before believing them. Base your opinions on truth.

    • Scott Eckert says:

      Well, no, it is not prejudice, inflammatory, or demeaning. It simply states the facts. What has bewildered me for years is the idea that a faith must change the doctrines and dogma to accommodate those who disagree. If gays and lesbians are unhappy with the theological and moral positions of the UMC, leave and form your own church. I suspect one reason is the financial comfort that staying in an established church provides. Simply stated homosexuality is incompatible with Christian doctrine, teachings, and history. If those in the LGBT community do not like it, live out your convictions and leave. This type of polity is a major reason in the decline of the UMC (and other mainline denominations). The foundation of the Christian faith (for Protestants) is Scripture. When a denomination or church pays lip service to this but allows sin, God removes His blessings. Just as the beginning of the Protestant movement eventually left the Roman Catholic Church, so should those that hold to unscriptural and sinful lifestyle do. This statement is not just for gays, but adulters, murders, thieves, etc.

      • Kathy Fitzgerald says:

        Amen…she should step down and form her own church and leave the UMC in peace!! I am from one of her “Bad Churches” and will not conform to her way of thinking. The Western Jurisdiction seems to think all the people agree with her beliefs and that is not true. The scriptures and the Book of Discipline are what I believe in. the l conference is on shaky ground financially and that will continue until she is out of there. If you are not a bishop in the church you have no voice and if that means withholding funds to the conference to make our point so be it!!

    • Dawn says:

      Right?! The article reads like some ridiculous thing out of the National Enquirer.

  2. Trish McRae says:

    Thank the Lord!!!

  3. Tom Preslar says:

    Hallelujah!!! Get that lesbian UNGODLY person out if there!!!

  4. Bill says:

    The prelates want to become like Roman Catholic bishops so they can rule the church. We must continue to remind them that they are ordained elders who have been set apart to a special ministry on behalf of the UMC and under the guidance of the conference structure. The COB needs to be strongly checked. We should reorganize it, give give term limits, and require them to return to being elders when they leave the office of active bishop.

  5. Victor Chatham says:

    Geez , a bit slanted and contains obvious hate speech.

  6. ltremmel says:

    Praise Jesus! You folks are taking Christs Church back!

  7. Penny Bagby says:

    I pray daily that the Methodist church global will restore its biblical accountability. I believe that the “lukewarm” church referred to in Revelation is in actuality those who in the name of tolerance are neither hot nor cold. There is hope for our future as Methodists, praise God!

  8. June says:

    Being Gay is incompatible with church teaching. However, sexism, bigotry, racism, divorce, adultery, drinking; drug abuse are all compatible with the conservative hypocrites. We have no compassion for the poor and needy. No wonder people are leaving the church. May God have mercy on our souls.

  9. Larry Farris says:

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!! Thank you, Jesus!!

  10. William says:

    IDOLATRY: “her being a partnered lesbian evidently trumps every other consideration”. This succinctly capsules the schism in the UMC. It comes down to idolatry worship with the sexuality and marriage impasse by certain liberal parts of the church. ALL other things across the church are secondary to this idolatrous left agenda.

  11. Judy Bailey says:

    Praise the Lord! Finally after 46 long painful years
    some accountability from leadership in the UMC. Just when hope seemed to be fading! Let us continue on this path as we stand up for Jesus and His Holy Word lest we perish for Eternity. To God be the Glory! Amen!

  12. Glen Lyle says:

    Wow wright on Penny Bagby comment today . Good to see someone else realized that the UMC is the last church mention in Revelation chapter 3.

  13. William says:

    Another case of idolatry with an added outright mockery of God’s law by this clergy person:

  14. Sue Neff says:

    Amen Judy Baily, Paloma’s and Penny Bagby. I’ve been praying for this. I will continue my prayer for the UMC.

  15. If you had not allowed female “clergy” as God’s word also displays, this problem would not arise. Look back at all the changes the UMC made, each time getting closer to Apostasy. You brought it on yourself. Had there not been a remnant you would have been gone already.

  16. Betty A Meriwether , pastor says:

    Praise and glory be to our Holy God! He is still on the throne of our Methodist Church and denomination. May His spirit continue to lead us in Truth. And may we all respond in submission to His leadership and will.

  17. MarcoPolo says:

    So would the good Bishop be able to remain in office if she promised to never have sex with her partner?

    • John Smith says:

      No. Since this dodge has been used successfully in the past (Plenty of play in friendly press “I am a homosexual” but when in an official hearing “I never had sex with someone of the same gender.”) the ruling states same sex marriage is an avowal of homosexual practice.

      • Dawn says:

        I find that very interesting. Why is that, do you think? I mean, most of the time folks insist that their critique is not about her (or anyone) being gay, but about the sinfulness of gay sex. So why is it a “dodge” to be married but not have sex? Not that I am advocating that, but…are we saying that gay people are not allowed to have close, intimate, sex-free friendships? Where is the line here? I mean, considering that men and women (think David and Jonathan, or Ruth and Naomi) have had extremely close friendships throughout human history, even pledged themselves to each other for life?

        • Shane says:

          No one is saying gay people cannot have close friendships. What orthodox Christians are saying is that a woman cannot marry another woman and live with that woman and identify as a lesbian all the while claiming they are not in a same-sex marriage that violates the rules of their church.

          What the UMC Judicial Council decided makes perfect sense. If you enter into a same-sex marriage, then you publicly avowing that you are entering into a same-sex marriage and that is against Christian teaching.


          • Shane says:

            P.S. It makes no sense in claiming that marriage doesn’t mean sex. That is of course what it means. For Christians, marriage is the only proper relationship for sex among two people to take place.

            If there is no intention for 2 people of the same gender to engage in sex and become a family, then they would not need to be married.

  18. John Smith says:

    Before the PTLs and hallelujahs and victory dances get too far gone notice who is still a Bishop and notice the Western Jurisdiction has done absolutely nothing to even hint at action in that process.

    Riddle me this, if the Western Jurisdiction stands firm, what can the GC do? Would it even do that? Would the GC be able to make a decision and stand firm?

  19. Kevin says:

    The gay bishop is still there and will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Rulings without enforcement mechanisms will not achieve resolution.

  20. Dan says:

    To paraphrase Joseph Stalin, “The Judicial Conference! How many divisions have they got?” Or as my old law professor said, “it’s one thing to get a judgment in court, but entirely something else to get it enforced.”

    I predict that nothing will happen and Bishop Oliveto will remain a bishop for a long time, and continue to joyfully lead her flock astray with heterodox teachings.

  21. William says:

    Another reason the Western Jurisdiction has drifted away from the UMC. Just why the UMC continues to recognize this “seminary” defies all reason. It is obviously NOT a Christian school of theology.

  22. Dawn Blundell says:

    John Lomperis, I know that you likely won’t read this, but I will say it again anyway: the way you fill your “reports” with false, inflammatory garbage makes it evident that even YOU don’t believe what you are saying. The fact that you still have a job at all, after peddling so much easily-disproven nonsense, is evidence enough to me that the IRD’s goals and methods are dishonest and not of God.

    • Deborah Hyde says:

      Dawn you wrote that this “report” was filled with false and inflammatory garbage that can be easily disproven. I, for one, would be very interested in reading any factual rebuttal. Too many times debate cannot be had if one, or both, of the parties just throws out a statement with no follow up. One could almost think debate with truth is not wanted!

      • Dawn says:

        Oh gosh, this is over so many conversations about so many articles Mr Lomperis has written. The facts are simply that the judicial council unanimously and prayerfully stood by their original decision, and the appeal failed. That is a report. Lomperis could then provide some insight regarding what the implications might be, some statements from folks about their reactions to the news…that would be good too. From there, good debate could begin. Instead, he fills his writing with inflammatory statements, links to well-debunked claims from decade-old articles, twistings of the truth and outright falsehoods. It would take a long, long post to rehash it all…stand by and I will pull a few quick examples from this article to show you what I mean. My poor phone makes it a complicated procedure, need to get to a computer.

        • Shane says:

          This is a blog, not the New York Times. It says so right at the top of the web page, “The Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Blog”. They “report” but they also provide their opinion, which is one that affirmation of homosexuality is incompatible with biblical Christianity. Of course it’s gonna be his opinion.

          • Dawn says:

            I have no issue with his opinion. Of course it is a blog, and of course he will represent his own perspective. My issue is with a dishonest representation of facts, or of a person…misquoting people, misrepresenting statements and intentions, manufacturing outrage in order to bolster his opinion. Anyone, including John Lomperis, is welcome to express their opinion however they choose; they are not welcome to use lies to do so. The fact that he DOES so routinely misrepresent people in his articles tells me that this isn’t about his opinion at all, but rather some sort of game he is playing to “win.”

      • Dawn says:

        Finally at my computer now, and better able to respond. The part in question is in the paragraph that begins “Dr Oliveto is on record as embracing a bizarrely non-Christian worldview…” This is a paragraph that, in one form or another, he has included in every article he has written in the past 12 years. You may notice that every single link in this paragraph links to other articles by Lomperis or Walton, which in turn include link to more articles by the pair, etc. Extremely rarely is there any actual data that bolsters their claims attached to these links. Often there is Enquirer-esque silliness attached, which is easily enough disproven by quick Google searches.

        The first link, to supposed “New Age” inspiration, is a pretty basic description of a sermon she gave. In none of it is there anything “bizarrely non-Christian” or “New Age.” It sounds like a sermon anyone else might preach regarding the ways Jesus Christ brings us to spiritual (rather than physical) new life by being born again. In it is one quote by Ekhart Tolle, who — though I suppose some might call him New Age-y, whatever that means — is quoted far and wide by Christian people around the world. The quote itself supports her point that when one truly believes, their actions follow.

        The second link, about rejecting Jesus and advocating the benefits of demon possession, is just as ridiculously untrue as it sounds. You will notice that this link simply leads to another article by John Lomperis, about a speech given as part of a workshop given 12 years ago. In that article, as in the wording of this link, are a great variety of outlandish claims…which, of course, are all untrue. They aren’t even sort of true. You may notice that Lomperis quotes no one who was at the event, nor the speaker Karen Oliveto replaced that day by reading his prepared remarks for him, nor Dr Oliveto herself, nor her superiors, nor the organizers of the event, nor anyone else. He provides no transcript, no recordings. So, I went hunting for one myself, and received the word-for-word speech she gave from the author, Dr Jeffrey Kuan. In it, Dr Kuan (read by Dr Oliveto). In it, neither Kuan nor Oliveto, nor anyone else, advocate demon possession or reject the teachings of Jesus. The speech criticizes the fact that Paul exorcized a demon from a slave girl in Acts 16 and then left her to suffer rather than caring for her after the fact, making sure she was safe, surrounding her with Christian community, etc. By contrast, he shows how Paul and Silas cared for the prison guard (also in Acts 16) by convincing all of the prisoners to stay put after the earthquake, so that the guard would not be beaten and executed. That act of love and faith won the guard’s conversion.

        Somewhat different from how Lomperis presents it. Look for me on Facebook if you’d like, and I will be happy to PM you a copy.

        The next link is to yet another IRD article, which notes the financial crisis of the Yellowstone AC. That financial crisis is real, and part of the reason for it is protest about Oliveto’s election. The article, though, is fully of yet more untruth and half-truth. You might like to go to the source in Yellowstone, and find out what is truly happening: the area has been declining for years, with the historic but tiny rural churches there falling victim to declining local economies and rapidly shrinking towns. A plan has been in the works for years to combine the Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Annual Conferences; it is not new. It is true that there are also churches protesting her election, but that is not the source of this long-term problem.

        The final link is to yet another article by Lomperis (surprise), which has been fully and completely debunked as inaccurate, misleading, and dishonest. After weeks of requests, he finally attached a very garbled partial recording of the Q&A session he refers to in the article. I can send you a transcript of the first few minutes of that recording (all I had time to do), and a detailed debunking of his various other statements and links. Briefly:

        Bishop Oliveto is not seeking names of orthodox churches. Literally no one agrees with this statement, including the orthodox churches in the area.

        She is not on an “intimidation tour.” No one agrees with that statement either; not a single church she visited perceived her visits as “intimidating.” The worst critique is that they have been irrelevant. The best is that they have been transforming and inspiring.

        She called zero orthodox churches “bad churches.”

        And that is just one paragraph.

  23. Apriluser says:

    All quiet on the Western Jurisdiction front, unfortunately. They will do nothing.

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