"Even if the Judicial Council cannot decisively rule on the Baltimore transsexual case, we expect the General Conference in 2008 will address it." -- Mark Tooley, Executive Director UMAction
Contact: Loralei Coyle 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, email@example.com; both with the Institute on Religion and Democracy
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church is deliberating this week over a series of controversial issues, among them the recent re-appointment of a transsexual to be pastor of a church in Baltimore. The Judicial Council is meeting in San Francisco to consider 19 different docket items, several dealing with sex and gender identity. The Judicial Council is the highest court in the United Methodist Church, which has 7.9 million members in the United States.
Among the groups present during the Judicial Council meeting, Reconciling Witness, a caucus advocating "full inclusion" of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual persons, is planning a series of events to oppose church teachings.
There is no specific mention of transsexuality or sex change operations in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the church's lawbook. However, 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.
IRD Director of UMAction Mark Tooley responded,
"Christian teaching across the centuries has upheld the sacred nature of God's gift of maleness and femaleness.
"Christianity's traditions strongly argue against any affirmation of transsexuality or sex change procedures.
"Even if the Judicial Council cannot decisively rule on the Baltimore transsexual case, we expect the General Conference in 2008 will address it."
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.