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Worthy Christian News » Christian » Methodists Fear Split Over Same-Sex Marriage

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By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)– Last month, a group of pastors and theologians called for an amicable split in the United Methodist Church over homosexuality, according to USA Today.

"We need to recognize the reality that we — laity, clergy and even the Council of Bishops — are divided and will remain divided," the group posted on the Goodnews.org forum. "Talk of a 'middle way' or of 'agreeing to disagree' is comforting and sounds Christ-like. However, such language only denies the reality we need to admit: Neither side will find 'agreeing to disagree' acceptable."

The posting came after 50 Texas pastors acknowledged a widening gulf between traditional Methodists and their clergy who have blessed or sanctioned same-sex marriage ceremonies in violation of that denomination's guidelines.

The Book of Discipline states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching in the Methodist church and forbids weddings and ceremonies celebrating same-sex unions.

"My bottom line is that The Book of Discipline has not changed in the 38 years I've been doing this and I'm pretty comfortable with where it is," said the Rev. Joe Jursa of the Satellite Beach United Methodist Church. "You do have people who get involved with politics, or who have their own ideas. I'm worrying more about marrying and burying my folks, not people with strange ideas."

More than 90 percent of Methodists believe their denomination shouldn't split over human sexuality, according to surveys conducted by Corporate Research and Research Now. Another 63 percent said the controversy over same-sex marriage was diverting the church from the more important issues of poverty and dwindling membership.

Mac McInnis — a 76-year-old who leads Bible study at St. Mark's United Methodist Church in Indialantic — said he didn't have a problem with what same-sex couples did out of the church, but he wouldn't approve of the church sanctioning vows for them.

"If the church did that — then I'm not sure I would want to stay," said McInnis. "Marriage is between a man and a woman. Maybe it's my upbringing, but that's what I believe."

McInnis said that he hasn't heard any serious talk of splitting his denomination, but it wouldn't surprise him since the whole nation now seems to be divided.

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