Christian churches often prove they don’t understand the principles of the very religion they are supposed to be teaching. The beauty of the message of Jesus is the message of Unconditional Love. Instead, most Christian churches teach people about a petty, mean, little, judgmental god who destroy his children for their slightest transgression. They blind their parishioners with their own judgementalism, self-righteousness, and arrogance and justify their own misbehaviors by stating that God somehow had something to do with it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The latest example of this behavior comes from the United Methodist Church which has ceremoniously defrocked Ms. Elizabeth Stroud because she publicly admitted she is living in a committed but lesbian relationship. This is against church law, a law they chose to enforce right before Christmas. Subsequently, Ms. Stroud has decided to appeal. Though its outcome may result in no better verdict, even bishops within the church have admitted that the church may one day apologize to her for its behavior.
Why not now?
Frankly, I am unconvinced that any church (or government) has a just role in the bedroom full of consenting adults. From my perspective, what is the most important in the life of the soul are the motives and feelings behind any particular act, i.e., whether the partners are being honest and caring with each other. Imagine a world where governments and churches did not exist and the only judge of whether something was right or wrong (if there truly is such a thing) is what was in your own heart? Wouldn’t you have to take responsibility for the conviction and salvation of your own soul? Wouldn’t you work to establish a good feeling about yourself and what you have done? In reality, is there anything we need more than that?
Conservative religious movements in this country continue to insist they are doing God’s bidding when they insist on dictating to others their sexual preference or dictate sexual behavior. What they are really doing is taking God’s name in vain.
So has the Methodist Church.
Elizabeth Stroud knows this.
God bless her in her continued quest to be honest and confront her own church about the prejudice it does not want to claim.