"Predictably, the Judicial Council chose not to rule on the Baltimore transsexual case. But we expect the upcoming General Conference in 2008 respond with legislation that upholds traditional Christian teachings on the sacredness of the human body." -- Mark Tooley, Executive Director UMAction
Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Radio: Jeff Walton, email@example.com; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy
WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 /Christian Newswire/ -- Meeting in San Francisco, the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church declined to intervene in the recent re-appointment of a transsexual to be pastor of a church in Baltimore. Citing the lack of a formal complaint against the transsexual minister, the denomination's highest court said the minister still was qualified for a church appointment. The court said it was not ruling on the permissibility of transsexuality among the clergy because that specific issue was not before the court.
The Rev. Drew Phoenix, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Baltimore, professes to have changed from female to male.
The Judicial Council is the highest court in the United Methodist Church, which has 7.9 million members in the United States.
The United Methodist Church officially does not ordain into the ministry practicing homosexuals or others who are sexually active outside of marriage. United Methodism affirms God's love and civil rights for all people, while also affirming marriage as the lifelong union of man and woman. The church has no official policy in its Book of Discipline regarding transsexuality or sex change procedures.
Director of UMAction Mark Tooley responded,
"Predictably, the Judicial Council chose not to intervene in the Baltimore transsexual case. But we expect the upcoming General Conference in 2008 will respond with legislation that upholds traditional Christian teachings about the sacredness of the human body.
"Christianity's traditions strongly argue against any affirmation of transsexuality or sex change procedures.
"UMAction calls upon the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, which meets next April in Fort Worth, to address trans-sexuality and sex change procedures. Christian tradition clearly affirms the divine gift of maleness and femaleness, seeing sexual identity as an unchangeable gift from God rooted in physical reality, not fluid perceptions."
The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.