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American Church Schism Due to Viewpoint of Homosexuality

by Redaktie in General , 16 February 2020

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Being unabele to agree among themselves on the position of the church on homosexuality, the leadership of the United Methodist Church (UMC) has proposed dividing the church. According to that proposal, the traditional part of the church will leave the UMC.

This creates room in the more progressive part of the church to bless gay marriages, for instance. The Methodists are one of the largest Protestant churches in the United States.

The debate on homosexuality within the UMC has been going on for decades. Until now their views were conservative. In the 1970s, the UMC had stated that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian doctrine. The discontent grew particularly in the American branch of the church that has 12 million members worldwide. This increased even further last year, when it was decided that the reins would be tightened from 2020 on: clergymen who bless gay marriages in one of the UMC churches could count on a one-year suspension and repeated deviations from that rule would mean they would face expulsion.

For a long time, the aim was to maintain unity, but the church leaders - both conservative and progressive - now say that a break is the only way to resolve the conflict. The plan was put together under the guidance of mediator and lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who also played an important role in the realization of the compensation scheme for victims of the September 11 attacks.

African churches in particular are separating. The traditional branch of the UMC receives 25 million dollars in ecclesiastical assets, but is not entitled to claim any other assets from the UMC. Local churches that decide to join the conservative branch may retain their church building. The remaining part of the UMC will hold a meeting after the schism to scrap strict LGBT regulations, so that afterwards, gay marriages may be officially blessed and homosexual clergy will be given a full place in the church.




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