Methodist Preachers Defy Church Authorities

Today I saw a newspaper account of several Methodist preachers who are thumbing their noses at the official position of their church.   They are not allowed to conduct marriages for gay couples.  Many are doing it anyway.  Many others have pledged to do it if asked.

There are consequences for these pastors.   Some have stood trial in the Church’s court system.  There is one going on right now.  Others have conducted these marriages and nothing seems to happen.

I suppose one possibility is the Church’s court system gets so overloaded it cannot deal with the rebels.  I don’t know what would happen then.

One thing is clear from what these preachers are doing and from the risks the other demoninations were willing to take when they allowed gay marriage.  There is a large group of Christian church officals who think the theology behind anti gay marriage is so flawed they simply are unable to tolerate it. It would be an interesting turn about if the liberal wing of the Methodist church walked away like the conservatives wings of the other Protestant demoninations have done.

The only period I’m aware of that mirrors this one was the civil rights era.  Churches, and church members, had dramatic differences they were not able to reconcil.  One would guess that most of the segregationist members look back at their stand then and see they were mistaken.

The rebel Methodist preachers will be seen as heros to Methodists at some point in the future.  Time is the friend of gay marriage.

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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43 Responses to Methodist Preachers Defy Church Authorities

  1. .E says:

    What is your definition of marriage? The personality tests label me a rationalist, so I tend to need precise definitions on discussion topics. Helps me understand the playing field rules!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      .E 10:57 “Precise definition”, good question. I’d say there is a “precise definition” for various purposes. The most important precise definition is the one that gives the same economic and social rights to gay couples as straight couples now have.

  2. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    My endless chatter on this topic has led me to believe we are talking about two completely separate topics.
    1. Is the contract couples purchase from their state government that grant over 1,000 civil and legal rights to couples in long term relationships. The people need not even know each others names as long as they’re opposite gender. Churches relaxed their stance a number of years ago and now allow brown people to enter this contract with white people, but again only if they’re opposite gender.
    2. Is the ceremony performed in a religious institution that celebrates the purchase of this contract combined with some words to ‘sanctify’ the event. To my knowledge, not all churches require the purchase of the document, but most do.

    A number of churches do not support allowing same gender couples to purchase this government document that provides legal and civil rights, blissfully unaware the separation of church and state law sword can and just might begin to cut both ways.

    For the record, as soon as Measure Three passes, I’m opening a church that requires same gender members to purchase a marriage license from the state of ND. Then the state will be required to present clear and compelling evidence on why they would have the right to interfere in our church’s beliefs.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Mac; I’m a little confused. Doesn’t ND require a state issued marriage license? Minnesota does, and I thought all states do.

      • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

        Wanna, I’m not sure. I chose to err on the side of caution and say ‘most’ rather than ‘all’. Common sense would suggest that states would not dare require churches to purchase a document from them before the perform a rite of their religion. (marriage ceremony)

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Mac; I may have mis-understood your first post a little. I just Googled the License topic, and all states require a license with varying requirement/ elegibilities, such as minimum age, previous marriage status, mental ability, cousins, etc.
          There are two documents involved with marriage. One is the state issued license, the other is the marriage certificate which is issued by the institution conducting the ceremony, which is signed by witnesses, the participants, and the officiant. The officiant, (Justice of the Peace, Judge, minister) are however licensed to perform the ceremony. If and when same sex marriage is made legal by the state, the involved couple are then free to choose where they will be married, providing the officient / institution is willing.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 2:13 The “institution” which “issues” the license to perform the marriage is part of the complexity. There was a story a week or so ago about the very issue in an Oklahoma county. I think it was the county were Tulsa, OK, is located. A local nonfaith group required of a fellow to study the organization’s creed, pass some test on it, perform another task or two, then issued him the license to perform weddings. (He may well have issued it to himself.) Some local church groups complained it was not a legit process to license a clergy for performing weddings. The county official in charge said it is kind of a “self-policiing” thing and he had no problem recognizing the fellow’s license. So, I gathered in that State it is a county official who determines if the clergy person is licensed–not a obstacle in that case, or perhaps, in all counties. I’ve never looked into it locally but intend to.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Evidently every state requires a license to get married. From the sites I found, the requirements as to who does the marriage are all over the place. I see that in ND, a license is required. (That would be a state license). In MN, evidently either a license, or a certificate of ordination will suffice. Others may be different. Either way, after the ceremony is performed, the officient is required to give a copy to the newly married couple, and to the clerk of court where the marriage is performed. I don’t see any of this a matter of church, rather it would be a state issue. If however, a particular church or denomination refused to perform the rite based on theological grounds, that would be a church issue only.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Re. “give a copy to the newly married couple, and to the clerk of court”: I meant to say a copy of the” marriage certificate”. Signed by the couple, witnesses, and officiant. This is not the license. This only declares the what, where, when, who , and who by.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Just for the sake of humor; Does anyone remember everyone having the Marriage license framed on the wall just above the bed? This was a common practice even into the 50s. I guess it would be handy to have there just in case the sherrif stopped by in the middle of the night, and pulled you over in bed. (I never thought of the humor of it, as it was so common), until years later. I guess there was more respect for the law then.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Sorry about this; mabey it was more like a deer tag. “Yup, I bagged her two years ago on a saturday night at the church”.

  3. If a child keeps hammering a square peg into a round hole after he’s been shown that the round peg goes into the round hole, we must assume that his intellectual abilities are somewhat diminished. Does it ever register with homosexuals that maybe God is telling them something when they get life-threatening diseases because of their sexual practices and can have no children no matter how hard they try? Like Dr. Frankenstein, homosexuals and clergy that promote their marrying take God’s design of marriage and manufacture an artificial monster from its parts.

    http://areavoices.com/members/michaelr/

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 2:58 Thank you for posting. We obviously have different views on this subject, but your comments are most welcome nevertheless. I must ask about “…life threatening diseases because of their sexual practices…” Are not there some life threatening diseases that are the result of heterosexaul activity, AIDS being one of them?

    • Avatar of Grandma Grandma says:

      You know, there are many married couples who cannot have children. And possibly some of them have life-threatening diseases. And since your god created them all, as well as gay folks, perhaps you should be a little kinder to your god’s creations.

    • entech says:

      In Australia ,where I live, we have an elected leader called the Prime Minister – She has declared herself to be an atheist, has a permanent male partner and remains without offspring. All of these things have been used against her but she has always come down against same sex marriage. Recently her own party has been having conferences and policy discussions and it seems that she may be being pushed in the direction of having to accept the majority position (I think this has some strange name like democracy).

      A long winded intro but it does make sense of the turmoil in the airline industry at the moment, flights cancelled etc. because of the volcanic activity in Chile. Reminds me of the words I learned as a child something about “mysterious ways his wonders to perform”.
      May one enquire that if the actions you decry are not permissible how is it that they are possible and apparently pleasurable. But I suppose if one can be punished for something called a sin that happened long before you (or any of your known relatives) were born anything is possible. Perhaps out new Rationalist friend E could help explain this queer anomaly.

      • entech says:

        PS. missed a bit about the PM and her male partner – “to whom she is not married”.
        And to E your explanation needs to be precise.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          entech 1:16 Yes, we need to hear from E., the rational one. Maybe she could define, or give precise definition to, the relationship between the Prime Minister and the person, “…to whom she is not married.”

    • entech says:

      The question of same sex attraction and activity, if marriage is a legitimate option etc. often come up here as well as there and probably everywhere. Amongst the many things they are blamed for, apart from natural calamities, are the increase in divorce rates, increase in single parenthood and abortion. Now if there are not permitted to marry how do they contribute to divorce rates? As exclusively homosexual acts do not contribute to pregnancy how do they contribute to single parenthood: there hadn’t been a verified case of human parthenogenesis that I know of. Perhaps it is just their existence that is the problem.

  4. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Michael, you are mistaken in thinking all gay people are obsessed with a religious group approving of their relationship. This is about legal and tax protection for couples who love and share life together. I do believe I can safely speak for every gay on the planet in that we do not care about your opinion nor require your okay for anything in our lives.

    You do realize that two homosexuals who have only been intimate with each other would never ever ever ever get a sexually transmitted disease? Exactly like straight people? Promiscuity is the problem, not gay sex. Blaming AIDS on gays is no different than blaming chlamydia on the fact your wife slept around alot before you got married and gave it some poor unsuspecting guy before she got a healthy dose of pennecillin and cleared things up.

    For the record, God and I are just fine these days. I’m saddened to think you blame God for certain problems that befall people you hate, while giving Him a pass on cancer and tornadoes that strike your friends.

  5. .E says:

    The PM and the man in question are sharing space and I assume swapping spit and other bodily fluids. It is for their selfish convenience and pleasure.

    If we are going to redefine marriage from the traditional definition, why bother at all? Really.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      .E 1:13 Perhaps you could help me understand the term “traditional marriage”. In the Bible, men had several wives, and the wives were the men’s property. That was a couple of thousand years ago. Does that make one man and several wives who are property “traditional”?

  6. .E says:

    The fact that polygamy is recorded in the Bible doesn’t mean that it is God’s will for us.

  7. .E says:

    What is significant in God’s revelation to us are those relationships that are highlighted as blessed and fruitful. The two best examples being Adam and Eve and Mary and Joseph. Jesus specifically spoke of the covenant of marriage between man and woman.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      E. 2:19 My objection, and some might call it a petty thing, is use of the term “traditional” marriage. That is, when did “tradition” start? Another is “Judeo-Christian values”. There have alway been factions on both sides that disliked, even hated, the other. So, it’s kind of hard to know what these values are.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      .E 2:19 “Jesus specifically spoke of the covenant of marriage between a man and woman.” I’m always glad to help bring a rational approach to the words of Jesus. Here it is:
      (A.) Jesus said nothing negative about gays. (B.) Jesus spoke in favor of the covenant of marriage. (C.) Therefore, Jesus approved of marriage between gays.
      Glad I could help.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Good morning Jon; I’ve been racking my brain the last couple weeks on the phylosophical tool you just used. I believe it was Aristotel’s , in his argument/example of the abuse/mis-use of phylosophy. I used a parody of it recently as I couldn’t remember his original. My form was ; “A cat has a tail, a dog has a tail. A cat chases his tail, a dog chases his tail, therefore a cat is a dog. Do you remember, or possibly Entech? Or Plato? Some of my dusty old books are buried too far to the bottom of the piles for this lazy old man to dig.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 12:54 You must mean the Jesus-didn’t-say-anything-gays… post. I’m sure there is a name for the debate technique but I don’t recall it either. Whatever it is, it’s fun to use. Maybe David knows. It seems a little of a stretch to say if Jesus said good things about heterosexual marriage but nothing about any other marriage, we can assume he disliked the ones he never spoke about.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; —Or—the question of same sex marriage wasn’t a topic even considered, and the subject never came up. It would have been nice if it had, as there would be more clarity.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 4:00 “…the question of same sex marriage wasn’t a topic even considered…” (during Biblical times). Yes, that’s the point. The clobber scriptures do not refer to two men living domestic lives committed to one another. They, instead seem to refer other contexts. The reference to “abomination” is not elaborated on. Why was it an abomination? Some of the eight or so scriptures seem to refer to the practice of actual or simulated male rape following a battle. It was to humiliate the losers. Jesus did not refer homosexuality as part of his grievance with “Sodem and Gamora”. (We don’t know there actully were such cities.) It seems to many of us that homosexuality did not make the Sin Leader Board because of Jesus or the Bible, but as a result of a cultural taboo that filled collection plates and evangelistic telethon pledge cards.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I’m sure you remember “Norwegian bachelor farmers”. I knew some of them. some of them lived together. The subject never came up. Nice guys. Could they, or not be “cohabitating”? I don’ know. It wasn’t my business, besides at that time in our remote part of the world, that was literally an unknown subject. I didn’t become aware of it untill after I was twenty. One of my best friends later was revealed to be gay. I didn’t care. Sadly, he was killed in “a lovers quarrel” in the Mpls. shortly after college.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 9:07 My “growing up” experience was almost identical. It was in central Iowa. My window to this world was not really opened until some young men I’d know as students called on me when I became a part-time Mayor. “We gay people are turned away from bars, denied housing sometimes…” and so on. Eventually, those visits turned into ten Gay and Lesbian Awareness Proclamations. It has been an honor to meet and work with all the folks in the gay community.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; How did the bar owners know they were gay? I can’t tell outwardly, or care, but I can detect a drunk right off the bat. Unless they had their hands in each other’s fruit of the looms, in public. This is just as offensive with heterosexuals, (in public).

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 11:33 Perhaps they told the bar owner they were gay. It doesn’t matter how the bar owner knew. Bar owners are required to maintain order. If they refuse to serve people, the reason must have something to do with this requirement. If two men are holding hands at table in the rear of the bar, this is not grounds to refuse service to them, no matter how bar owner dislikes gays. Your assertion that people need to conceal something about themselves in order to be treated with respect reminds me of the old days in rape cases: women who dressed in a provocative way deserved their rape. That day is long gone, my friend.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Ya just don’t wear a purple boa into a cowboy bar in wyoming. That could scare the horses. “When in Rome”. Unless they are thinking like the new ad for Dos Ekkes beer re. “The worlds most interesting man”; “When he is in Rome, everyone does as he does”. (Probably a little too much to expect).

          • entech says:

            I think it is called something like: dishonest distortion in an attempt to win an invalid argument. People like Ken Ham do it all the time.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Right; Would it be good judgement to wear a KKK robe or T-shirt with a southern civil war flag on the back into a bar in North Minneapolis? Yes, it would be legal. Would I be inconsiderate? yes. Should I expect to be welcomed with open arms? No.

          • entech says:

            Again, I miss out on local knowledge, but, I am assuming the demographic of North Minneapolis is the same as Baltimore.
            Was I inconsiderate or insensitive when I was in Baltimore in late December and found it funny that the town square was full of people singing about ‘Dreaming of a White Christmas’. Or, perhaps, and I hope for my sake, it was a misplace sense of humour and not some deeply repressed prejudice.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; Never been to Baltimore. North Minneapolis has a high concentration of African Americans. They recently had a tornado go through a part of it , and hurt a lot of good people. They are trying to recover.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I didn’t say anything about “conceiling”. What I was suggesting was “situational courtesy”. One needn’t be provocative. I don’t see holding hands as provocative, but others may. Respect is a two way street.

          • entech says:

            How can you do macho arm wrestling without holding hands?

  8. .E says:

    I believe there is objective truth. Not subjective or relative. That means there is a right and wrong. This also logically means there is an authority which is not me. Obedience to that Authority is my greatest challenge and greatest joy.

  9. entech says:

    E. you comments, based on a very few earlier ones are what I expected, and this is perfectly acceptable as a reflection of your religious position. The real question is how do you manage to call yourself a rationalist? I have several definitions of rationalism both theological and philosophical; none of them seem to fit a literalist approach to bible reading.

  10. .E says:

    The rationalist label is from the Myers-Briggs personality tests, not classical philosophy. It would be why I drive people crazy.

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