This past week, from the People's Republic of San Francisco, a story caught my eye.
Five years ago, in the fine city of Baltimore, a United Methodist minister named Rev. Ann Gordon decided she had had just about enough with the makeup and long lines for the bathroom; it was time for a “change”. A sex change, that is. Some people go to therapy, some people suppress their bizarre desires, and others have complete and total reconstructive surgery on their reproductive organs. To each his own, right? Wrong.
Ann Gordon not only swapped her gender to join the other team; she also moved to California and became Rev. Drew Phoenix at another United Methodist Church. The UMC's stance, in accordance with the teachings of the book that they, and most every Christian denomination, claim to believe in (the Bible), is that: homosexuals (the logical extension of someone changing their sex) are more than welcome to worship within Methodist congregations, but are not allowed to be the guy (or gal) up front teaching the Good Book (i.e. be a pastor, minister, reverend, or priest).
The teachings in, and teaching of, the Bible are a sacred, foundational responsibility and calling. We Christians believe that all humans sin, but that our leaders are held to different (higher) standards (another Biblical mandate).
Also found in the Bible, in the very first chapter of the very first book (Genesis) in fact, is this:
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.
Last week the United Methodist Church in San Francisco became the latest victim of a crippling epidemic spreading faster than trained professionals know how to combat it. Like a hidden band of termites, eating away at the very foundations of a once-sturdy home, our country's obsessions with ultra-tolerance and relativism will eventually land institutions, from the American Church to the American Constitution, on the trash-heap of history if something is not done, and done soon.
Seeking to avoid controversy, confrontation, and apparently ashamed of their own doctrinal beliefs, a council of United Methodist leaders refused to remove a trans-gendered minister from his/her post. Not only did the Rev. Drew/Ann Phoenix/Gordon not initially inform his/her parish of the recent change in wardrobe he/she had experienced, but he/she was indignant at the thought that the UMC's council might have a problem with his/her “special situation.”
Now before you dismiss my entire column as being typical close-minded Christianity, think about what I am actually saying, and in what context this situation in San Francisco occurred. We're not talking about a city or municipal job, but what is considered a holy calling to be a member of the clergy. This isn't about equal rights or discrimination. It's about the Bible and our fundamental belief as Christians that it is the Word of God, not just some arbitrary document that can be pushed aside to meet contemporary obsessions with political correctness. It is a Christian's duty to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”
If he/she were a real student of Scripture, wouldn't he/she have more of a problem with the Council (sworn to uphold the Bible's teachings) if it didn't remove him/her from the pulpit? A minister who is addicted to gambling or commits adultery would be removed from a United Methodist Church pulpit, or at the very least given a smaller assignment. Bibilically speaking, removing the gender God ordained you to possess is in every sense of the word just as much a “sin”, especially for a pastor or minister, as infidelity or intemperance is.
The Bible, that same document which gives the UMC denomination its purpose for even existing, is very clear that God created men and women separately and uniquely different. He (Yahweh) made us just the way he wanted us. We Christians believe that the Lord will one day correct the physical, emotional, and mental ailments that may plague our human bodies, and we will be given new and glorious ones.
Christians, a group of which United Methodists traditionally have been apart of, would consider this a core principle (doctrine) of their faith. While you may not agree with this stance, and see it is as regressive and oppressive, in the context of the Church body, it is taken as gospel…or so we thought.
In an American culture dominated by the fear of law-suits and negative press from overtly anti-Christian media outlets, the UMC abandoned its credibility as a bearer of God's Truth (again, the primary reason for its existence) in favor of appeasing a minister who, although capable of being forgiven by God and the Church, is not only living in open opposition to God and the Bible's teachings, but is putting his/her “happiness” ahead of the general welfare of his/her denomination. Does anyone else see a contradiction here?
We find this type of capitulation to political correctness happening every day, in all walks of life. Nowhere is it more readily apparent than in the world of politics. Every member of Congress in his or her $4,000 suit (or pant suit) knows full well that the original intent of this nation (as codified in the Constitution and found in countless writings by the Founding Fathers) was to be a de-centralized, un-theocratic, law-abiding, representative democracy.
The Framers believed that: our liberty is a gift from our Creator, our nation is culturally Christian, and our government is explicitly secular. The Federal government's role is to provide security for the nation, facilitate fair and open commerce between the states, and serve as a check-and-balance with the judiciary and executive branches in the making and passing of laws. One of the gravest insults men like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson could hurl at each other was to accuse someone of being more loyal to their political party than to the continued success and stability of the nation as a whole. (That should be an indictment on us all.)
These were rationally thinking men who valued science and logic as necessary tools to aid in the betterment of Mankind. They believed in Natural Rights that were self-evident, including divinely inspired ones, and saw no real barrier in combining their Faith and Reason. Most of them attended universities, like Harvard and Princeton that educated the best and brightest of Americans in an overtly religious environment.
The reasons I am a conservative politically are very similar to the reasons why I am an evangelical Christian theologically; and they also help to explain why I cannot support or condone liberalism in either realm as well. Newt Gingrich calls them “first principles”, but I call them objective truths.
While no human endeavor or collaboration is capable of being perfect, and “sins” are realities inside the Church just as much as in the game of party politics, it is unconscionable to me that any American who evenly faintly understands the basic concepts of our country's history, Constitution, and economy would ever, and I mean ever, vote for a liberal Democrat (not named Joe Lieberman). Please hear me: It's not that I think theological or political liberalism to be evil…they're just wrong.
In the Church, we combine Biblical teaching with Christian traditions passed down by our religious ancestors, with God's Word always superceding Man's translation of it. In America, we combine the Constitution with the historical and political traditions of our national ancestors, with the Law superceding Man's translation of it.
When a Christian sees his or her denomination's hierarchy failing to faithfully apply the Biblical standard they themselves promised to uphold, there should be outrage and dismissal of any and all involved with the debacle.
If you aren't willing to ruffle a few feathers to defend what you claim to believe, do you really believe in it? If you don't really believe in it, why should anyone else?
It is a sad day when a perennial denominational powerhouse like the United Methodist Church decides its “first principles” no longer require adherence; but their dereliction of duty only affects a few million parishioners.
What should worry every American, regardless of religious affiliation, is the rising tide of Constitutionally-subversive, culturally-secularizing, and economically crippling promises being made in stump speeches across Blue-State America, and the resounding approval of them in classrooms and lecture halls from Berkley, CA to Cambridge, MA.Tweet
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