I was raised as a Methodist at a church in southwest Minneapolis and converted to Unitarianism about a decade and half ago. I know the mainline Protestant churches have struggled with GLBT issues recently (or GLOW, which I like more—the Gay/lesbian/or whatever label, which is even more open to others). I think this is due more than anything else to the fact that the age demographics of the churches are not reflective of the U.S. as a whole. But the Methodist Church’s recent decision to not accept GLOW issues floored me.
I remember when the Lutherans fought that battle a decade ago and won by a single vote right here in Minnesota. I had a lesbian Lutheran minister friend who I think was really moved by the experience. Actually, at the pride parade and festival the past few years, I did feel like the Methodists were more visible and active than the Lutherans. For Ash Wednesday (Unitarians don’t celebrate this) I often end up at a Lutheran Church rather than a Methodist church and made a point of doing this again this year after the Methodist news. The real victim to suffer will be the long-range reputation of the Methodist Church. I highly suspect that in the coming years or decades they will reverse their decision. The local churches are in absolute damage control mode now. They are the ones trying to pick up the pieces. It will probably take a massive PR/marketing/advertising campaign to just minimize and contain the damage.
But the Methodist decision reinforced for me that I very much made the correct decision to convert to a religion that is more open, adopting, accepting and accompanying of others. I am a proud Unitarian today because of issues like this.
Mike Luke, Minneapolis