Monday, April 30, 2012

United Methodist Church This Week Might Withdraw Association From Abortion Group that Lobbied For HHS Birth Control Mandate

I have been watching the United Methodist General Convention down in Tampa Florida via social media. The Convention meets every 4 yrs , and is now into it's second week.

The UMC convention is indeed a rather unique bird among American Mainline Protestant Churches. That is it has a huge foreign delegate voting  group . I have seen stats saying 47 percent of UMC delegates were non American with 40 percent of those being African. The African delegation has been, is now, and projected to be very critical in the future.

The sense I get is that it is playing a crucial role in maintaining the UMC 's mission of Social Justice while on the theological ,and scriptural issues keeping it more linked to historical Christian views. The big issue that will get the noise this week is "Gay Marriage" and Gay same sex partnered ministers.

On that see this piece No change expected on UMC policy re: homosexuality .

In that piece a rather big possible bombshell is also there.

Sparks also reports there is exciting news for pro-life United Methodists. "They approved not sending any United Methodist moneys to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a pro-abortion advocacy group," he shares. "Beyond that, they approved and will be sending to the floor of this General Conference legislation that would withdraw the entire United Methodist Church from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights for the first time ever." That will be voted on later this week as well.

That is a rather huge deal. The Methodists are dealing with a ton of issues this week . I am also not that familiar with their legislative processs though I am doing my best to get up to speed.

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice , which has a new leader it was announced today , plays of course a role in promoting , in the Catholic and indeed many Methodists view , anti pro abortion policies both in the USA and abroad.

However it also played a critical role in promoting the HHS birth control mandate which to say the least has MAJOR religious liberty issues for Catholics and other faith groups. In fact the leadership of the Coalition were upset it did not go far enough!! Regular readers of this blog know how dismayed I was that for the first time in recent memory an American Protestant group was playing a role in restricting Catholic Religious freedom ( as well as setting precedents for other worrisome things ).

For that see my link at United Methodist Church Doubles Down On Repressing Catholic Religious Freedom , and THIS MUST read from Reformed Pastor that gives a lot of background to the role of coalition at On Your Knees, Pro-Lifers (UPDATED) . I wonder if the HHS mandate might have  been the political straw that broke the camel's back  as to the link with the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice.

Atthis point I am not sure how real these threats that the UMC might make the break. I did see this tweet from a concerned Pastor and activist that was at the convention over the weekend.

28 Apr Becca Clark ‏ @pastorbecca

@RCRChoice the #UMC is dangerously close to withdrawing, and women need help. All call in Tampa! #gc2012

4:16 AM - 28 Apr 12 via Twitter for iPhone · Details

28 Apr Becca Clark ‏ @pastorbecca
If there are #UMC folks who care about #ReproductiveChoice, we need your support today. 9 people can't defend women's rights alone. #gc2012.

So we shall what develops.

It would be a good time to pray too.


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