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"Good News" Open Letter To Bishops: When Will You Uphold Discipline For Anti-Methodist Pro-homosexuality Bishops?

Open Letter sent to Bishop Robert C. Morgan, President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, and copied to the rest of the active members of the Council.

Bishop Robert C. Morgan
2000 Warrington Way, Suite 280
Browenton Building
Louisville, KY 40222-3407

Dear Bishop Morgan:

Greetings to you in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, from the board of directors of Good News.

We have become aware, as you may have, that United Methodist bishop Susan Morrison signed a public statement on January 19 in support of proposed Vermont legislation recognizing "committed" relationships between people of the same gender as "marriage." You may also be aware that Bishop Roy Sano participated in a public rally January 23rd and spoke out in opposition to an anti-gay marriage initiative, which will appear on a March 7 ballot in California.

We grieve that our church is in turmoil over the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops assured United Methodists by public letter recently that they have covenanted together to uphold the stand of the church regardless of their personal views. We are deeply saddened that some bishops are making that covenant meaningless by their public disregard for the stance of the church. In a time when our bishops have rightly called us to prayer and fasting on behalf of unity in the church, some of those bishops would make a mockery of that desire for unity by their blatant disregard for the Book of Discipline. In a time when we seek to interpret to the people of God that our church has a clear stand on the issue of same sex "marriage," Bishops Susan Morrison and Roy Sano have chosen with impunity to challenge, and therefore undermine that stand, and give our people reason to believe that our stated positions carry no meaning.

We are aware that, short of the complaint process, there is no court of appeal to deal with inappropriate and anti-disciplinary actions on the part of bishops, except to appeal to members of the Council of Bishops themselves. While some among us would wish to move immediately to that complaint process, we would prefer to allow the bishops to stand behind their own word to hold one another accountable and deal with this internally.

We ask you, as President of the Council, either on your own or in consultation with your colleagues:

  1. To clarify to the Vermont and California legislatures and to our United Methodist Church at large that Bishops Morrison and Sano have made a statement in violation of the church's stand and do not represent the church on this issue.

  2. To clarify before the Vermont and California legislatures and the United Methodist Church that Bishops Morrison and Sano's statements must be understood to be those of private individuals and not as bishops of the church.

  3. To provide for the church an interpretation of the Council of Bishops' previous statement to uphold the Book of Discipline that would include an explanation as to what, if it does not cover actions like those of Bishops Morrison and Sano, it is supposed to mean.

We have chosen to make this an open letter so that our constituency and other United Methodists, among whom the trust for our leaders is already at an all-time low level, can see that someone, somewhere believes that such public statements in violation of our life and order together should not go unnoticed.

Because of the pressing nature of this situation, not only in regard to the Vermont and California legislatures, but also because of its relevance to General Conference, we would like your response by March 1. In the absence of such response, we will assume the bishops are either unable or unwilling to hold one another to corporate accountability as pledged, that they are not themselves committed to the same unity they have urged on the church through prayer and fasting, and that there is indeed a conspiracy of silence within the Council whenever this issue comes up for public discussion.

We look forward to hearing from you.



James V. Heidinger II
President and Publisher
on behalf of the Board of Directors

cc: Council of Bishops

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